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News

News 14.11.22

Record numbers of people seeking support

The Trussell Trust has released some frightening statistics about the surging demand for food banks.

A total of 1.3 million food parcels were given out during April to September this year – more than ever before. Almost half a million of these went to children. It is a third more than were provided in the same period in 2021, and it’s an increase of more than 50 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels. The charity has said food banks are at “breaking point both physically and mentally” and they are set to face their hardest winter yet. Even more worryingly, independent food banks like Oxford Mutual Aid are also seeing increased demand. According to the Independent Food Aid Network’s most recent data, 91 percent of food banks have seen a rise in demand since July this year.

At OMA, our experience reflects these rising figures. It has been an incredibly challenging time for so so many of us. The pace at which we have had to work has been relentless over the last three years and we are worried about what is to come. We are calling on the local and national government to recognise that food bank use should not normalised as a long term solution to poverty. The government must ensure that people can afford food and other essentials through adequate incomes.

Read more here.

Gaps in free school meal provision

Children not eligible for free school meals are coming to school with mouldy bread, empty wraps and in some cases nothing at all, according to teachers who told the Guardian they had never seen such desperation in the communities they serve.

According to data released this week, up to 110,000 more children should be considered eligible.

I’ve been in education now since 2006 and I’ve never known anything like it,” said Sarah Livesey, the headteacher at Oasis Academy Leesbrook in Oldham, Greater Manchester. “We are in the worst situation we have ever been. Even with Covid, I think this is our most challenging time.”

Read more here.

How you can help

Sometimes things like this can make us feel despair, make us feel powerless but we are not. There is power in a collective and we can make change. 

You can: 

  • Reach out. If you are struggling, don’t keep it to yourself. Reach out for support. You are not alone and everyone deserves kindness, care and compassion. If you or anyone you know could do with some mutual aid, reach out via support@oxfordmutualaid.org  
  • Spread awareness. Let your friends, family and colleagues know about food injustice. Ask them to spread the word to others too. Food poverty is not an isolated or individualised problem – it is a structural one. 
  • Volunteer/participate with a local community group. Systemic locally based responses can and do make a qualitative difference to our lives. We firmly believe that those experiencing poverty and injustice are best placed to recognise its solutions.  If you’re interested in participating with OMA, please email volunteering@oxfordmutualaid.org 
  • Contribute/donate. If you have the means, you can share your resources with others but making a financial contribution or by donating items they have requested. For OMA, you can do this here: https://tinyurl.com/2x2vvzhb 

Schedule changes – emergency parcel availability

Next week we will be carrying out some fantastic work with the OX4 Free Food Crew  on Tuesday to support research initiatives which will help establish some more detailed plans to provide and alleviate food poverty across OX4. The following weeks our team has to take some time to assess our working practices and consider how to support the wellbeing and development of the coordination team, as well as period of leave, therefore for the following three weeks:

EMERGENCY PARCELS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE ON TUESDAY (15/11, 22/11, 29/11)

EMERGENCY PARCELS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON WEDNESDAY (16/11, 23/11, 30/11)

Solidarity with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers

We stand in solidarity with Refugee Resource who this week make a powerful statement on the most recent rise of hostility towards refugees and asylum seekers.

Freezer of Love meals

Our fabulous partners at Waste2Taste have a wonderful freezer of love where you can collect pay as you feel meals.

Christmas preparations in full swing

We’re very very excited that our Christmas plans are in full swing. We have seen so many wonderful donations come through the doors, but we need as many gifts as possible before end of November in order to give us enough time to pack and distribute these. Please donate either by purchasing through our gift registry or dropping off gifts from the list below to The Richard Benson Hall, 276 Cowley Road, OX4 1UR. If you’re interested in setting up a donation station please do get in touch at christmas@oxfordmtuualaid.org

Feedback

Sometimes when I get the parcel, I sit down and cry. I’m grateful for what you do.  Before I got my regular parcel I was just eating one piece of cheese on toast each day. My doctor told me I need to eat more but I said how can I? I can’t afford it. I use everything you send me and am so grateful for whatever you can send. It’s literally saved my life.

Raid your cupboards

Tea bags

A cup of tea is about as essential as it gets for many households in the U.K however we are running low Please help us to replenish our supplies of this source of great comfort to many people.

Eggs

Eggs are a brilliant source of protein and favoured by by many of OMA’s contacts yet we rarely have them in stock. We have lots of empty eggs boxes and nothing to fill them with.

Fresh fruit and veg

Our supplies have been very low lately so if you have an allotment and have veg to donate, or perhaps a veg box you don’t need all of, that would be brilliant. Fresh fruit and veg is so important for healthy nutritious parcels 

Tins, tins, tins

We always love goodies for cupboard staples. We are consistently running out of tinned veg and fruit which is especially helpful when there are fresh produce shortages (which are becoming more and more frequent). They are also important for folks who are precariously housed or experiencing homelessness, and those who find veg prep difficult. 

Tinned vegetables

Tinned fruit

Tinned tomatoes

Baked beans

Categories
News

News 07.11.22

Organisations around the country have backed calls for benefits to rise with inflation in order to meet the needs of millions around the county who are desperately struggling amidst the cost of living crisis. The Independent Food Aid Network and others join these calls, noting the huge impact on those already extremely at-risk. You can read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/nov/03/charities-back-un-envoys-warning-on-further-uk-austerity

Schedule change this week

We have been presented with a fantastic opportunity to partner with Data Scientists through a grant with Science Together and as a result our team will be busy planning new systems and changes on Tuesday. Therefore, in a change to scheduling we will be closed for emergency parcels on Tuesday 8th Nov but open on Wednesday 9th Nov. Thank you so much for your ongoing support and understanding!

Van Drivers Wanted

We’re still on the hunt for some lovely part-time contracted van drivers to join our fantastic team.This will involve:

  • Delivering parcels (collection from Richard Benson Hall, 276 Cowley Road). Routes will be mapped, and 15 – 20 stops.
  • Collection of Food Supplies from various locations*

We are looking for people with availability on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and particularly over the Christmas period. There are always ad hoc jobs that pop up throughout the week too!

You need:

  • A clean licence
  • Experience driving / delivering in vans
  • References for the above

If you are interested in hearing more, please e-mail jobs@oxfordmutualaid.org with the subject title ‘Van driving at O.M.A.’. If you’re interested in volunteering but also have experience driving a van, please fill out the form here: www.oxfordmutualaid.org/volunteering 

Christmas Support

We’re continuing to raise donations for Christmas. If you’re part of a school, college, university, organisation or local group that may be able to host a donation station please get in touch with us through christmas@oxfordmutualaid.org. We can create a personalised poster for you super quickly and arrange for pick up of goods too!! We’d ideally need as many donations as possible by first week of December – so if you can start collecting over the coming month, that would be even better!

Raid your cupboards

This week we didn’t receive support from one of our suppliers which has left us very short of meat and veg. As a result, we’re building up stocks of tinned alternatives to ensure that people are able to get adequate protein and nutrient intake through parcels as best as possible.  We know we are not alone in this as the Big Issue reports that foodbanks around the cutting have begun to cut down on staple items: https://www.bigissue.com/news/social-justice/food-banks-forced-cut-staple-items-due-rising-costs/

You can bring donations to us at The Richard Benson Hall, 276 Cowley Road, OX4 1UR. 

This week we are also very much in need of shopping bags to pack our parcels in. While we usually pack in crates, this is not always possible for our lovely delivery bikers and bags are needed to ensure parcels are as accessible as possible to many we’re delivering to. We’re asking people to: 

  1. Return the bags they have received a parcel in at their next delivery and / or to 
  2. Donate any bags they might have

Volunteer With Us

With the huge number of emergency parcel requests we’re seeing each week, we are more in need of support packing parcels at the Hall than ever. We expect this need to worsen and are particularly cautious of the Christmas period where more and more families will be hit by increasing costs of food, fuel and more.

Our training sessions for Hall packing run on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday evenings for just an hour – and you can come back any time – either on a regular or ad-hoc basis. Anything is helpful! If you’re keen to support, particularly if you may be interested in volunteering over Christmas – get in touch at volunteering@oxfordmutualaid.org or complete the form online at www.oxfordmutualaid.org/volunteer

Feedback

We’re as touched as ever to hear kind words for many receiving support from us, all of which show us just how much this support is needed. The thought and care that go into messages like these show just how important communities such as this one are, and we know we’ll able to get through the most difficult times together. 

Good evening, thank you do much for the food parcel, we are all having Cottage Pie, yummy, all is very very welcome, thank you once again, our Grandaughter says thanks for the Kit Kats, one of her favourites,  have a good weekend, and God bless you for what are doing for everyone.

Thank you so much extremely grateful for you and all the good people who work with you. God bless you all xxx

Categories
News

News 31.10.22

This week, our numbers continued to rise as expected as more and more people are reaching out for support across the city, including many families who have never sought support of this nature before. We delivered 70 emergency parcels reaching 132 adults, 21 children and 11 under 5s as well as supporting families through surplus deliveries to Syrian Sisters and other local organisations.

School holidays

Across all school holidays we notice a rise in the number of families struggling to provide for children, particularly those who would usually be in receipt of Free School Meals. There are calls across the country continuously to change the threshold for FSM provision, and increase provision across holidays to ensure that no child goes hungry. Many councils have axed vouchers which supported parents during this time.  You can read more about this here: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2022/oct/29/school-meals-holiday-vouchers-axed-teachers-marcus-rashford-councils

Christmas Donation Stations – Can you help?

We have an amazing collection of schools, businesses, streets, villages and more offering to help us gather donations for Christmas. All you need to do is either 

a) Put up a poster in your area, or school, etc. (can include sharing in Whatsapp group, or online!) and people can send donations directly to us

or

b) Put up a poster asking people to drop donations to a certain point and we can arrange collection from there – you can either use the poster below, make your own or email us on christmas@oxfordmutualaid.org and we can personalise it for you

For anyone in the Summertown area the fantastic team at Daunt Books will be collecting National Book Token Vouchers – you can pop down there, buy a book, check out the store and donate a voucher for our Christmas hampers! We’ll be highlighting a different business supporting us each week – so do keep an eye out for how and where you can donate this year.

Creative Cooking Classes for 11-15 year olds

Our fantastic partners at Waste2Taste, who are also part of the OX4 Free Food Crew, are beginning a new free 6 week course for 11-15 year olds to encourage the cooking of affordable, healthy meals whilst learning about vegetarian and vegan cooking. The course will take place on Wednesdays from 3.30-5.30pm starting on the 9th November at the wonderful Ark-T Centre in Cowley. To book a space, or for more info, contact jo@ark-t.org

Raid your cupboards

As Winter approaches and our stocks deplete, we’re ever more dependent on donations of tinned goods to ensure that our parcels contain and good and healthy variety of essential products. This week, we’re particularly in need of: 

Dog food – https://tinyurl.com/2p8jh8mj 

Nappies size 6 and 7- https://tinyurl.com/3mpejd5z 

Tinned fruit – https://tinyurl.com/2n3m4but

Tinned tomatoes – https://tinyurl.com/2p86xyex

Tinned vegetables – https://tinyurl.com/5y27arhs

Keep Campsfield Closed

We want to continually express our solidarity with those threatened with immigration detention, and stand in support of the Coalian to Keep Campsfield Closed. For those who may not be aware, the Home Office announced plans earlier this year to reopen the immigration removal centre six miles north of Oxford, which house around 400 men who are seeking asylum in the UK. The coalition host zoom meetings on the first Tuesday of the month – which is upcoming this week. To find our more head to their website: https://keepcampsfieldclosed.uk/ 

Co-op community fund

Do you have a membership card with Co-op? If so, you can help us fund the rental of a community kitchen along with subsidised food ingredients, biodegradable food containers and to hire a chef and coordinator – which will mean hundreds more reheatable meals per week going to the most at-risk households across the City. If you think you’re able to help raise money for OMA whilst shopping with Co-op – head to https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/71665.

Feedback

Every week we’re so touched to received kind-hearted and generous feedback which reminds us of what an amazing community we have built. The need is ever-present and growing, but so is the support and we know that together we will get through this. 

Thank you to everyone who has donated everything from a few tins to a crateful – it all makes a difference and we couldn’t do it without you. 

Thank you so much for the parcel you sent to me yesterday… we really appreciate it, it’s been really kind of you especially with this period of us moving house , we were shocked when we saw it outside our door . You are amazing.

Categories
News

News 17.10.22

We delivered a huge number of Emergency Parcels this week, all of which went to households in acute crisis. This is no surprise, given the rising energy costs which have plunged thousands of households across the city into further precarity. In the past week alone we delivered 77 emergency parcels to 149 adults, 11 children and 17 babies. This represents a 54% rise in the number of support requests. 

This goes alongside the delivery of regular food parcels to over 200 households including toiletries, baby and cleaning products. We also supported Syrian Sisters and Oxford Asian’ Women’s Voice with additional food support and distributed reheatable meals to over 50 households

Crisis around the Country – Joint Letter sent to Downing Street

The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) reported that nearly 1 in 4 providers are having to reduce the size of their food parcels, with over 85% struggling to meet the needs of those they’re supporting. With winter on the horizon and supply chain issues only set to worsen, with the pressure increasing as the cost of living crisis affects more and more households we are very concerned. This should not be the norm. 

IFAN have released a joint letter with Feeding Britain to be sent to 10 Downing Street tomorrow. You can read this here: https://www.foodaidnetwork.org.uk/blog/joint-letter

The full report of IFAN’s survey can be found here: https://uploads.strikinglycdn.com/files/a24e6b92-956b-4759-a64f-426ab61df48d/IFAN%20October%202022%20Survey.pdf

How can you help?

Raid your cupboards

This week we already currently have no fresh fruit available to distribute, alongside our ongoing shortages of tinned goods. If you have items in your cupboards that you are no longer using, or able to use, please consider donating them to us!. This week, we need: 

Join in this Christmas

We’re starting our preparations early this Christmas, and are beginning to collect donations for our Christmas gift packages. As we do each year, we want to ensure that we are protecting the wellbeing of our community, through the provision of more than just the “essentials” – everyone deserves to feel loved, listened to and cared for and we hope that this can be a part of that. 

You can donate through our gift registry 

If you’re part of a school, college, local organisation or workplace who may be able to help set up a donation station throughout November then please let us know (christmas@oxfordmutualaid.org). We’re happy to send across resources and information to help.

Volunteer with OMA

With COVID levels on the rise, we are finding ourselves very short of volunteers – particularly at the Hall and across Driving and Biking teams. All the routes are beautifully mapped for you, along with a list of delivery locations. We can tailor these to particular areas and timings so hopefully they can slot in nicely with all other activities! You can sign up by emailing volunteering@oxfordmutualaid.org or fill out the form at www.oxfordmutualaid.org/volunteer

If you don’t have the capacity to volunteer – or if you do already – then please share this on your socials to spread the word.

Feedback

Thank you to everyone who shared such wonderful words this week. We are humbled to be of support to anyone across this network, and are amazing everyday by the community of care we have built at OMA. If you need support, please do not hesitate to reach out on 07310160595 or support@oxfordmutualaid.org. We are all Oxford Mutual Aid.

Thank you so much OMA for the delivery it was really lovely and so helpful!

Thank you again for helping to provide us with this lifeline. My family and I would be in a far more desperate situation without this incredible help.

Things are getting so expensive trying to make ends meet is hard, not just me but for everyone. Thank you.

Categories
News

News 10.10.22

This week we continued to support the nearly 700 people who receive regular food and essential item support from us. We also delivered over 50 emergency parcels to support 150 people in urgent need. We also continued to supply local community groups with both food parcels and food surplus, as well as sharing out and receiving surplus from many of our partner organisations around the city and the surrounding area. If you know of a community group that sometimes has or requires food surplus, let us know!

Welcome new volunteers!

This week was also the Oxford University Fresher’s Fair! Following on from the success of the recent Brookes’ Fresher’s Fair, a team of our volunteers spent two whole days in a sweaty white tent talking to students about what Mutual Aid is, how we organise and how to get involved! We’re hoping to head into winter with an ever-growing and enthusiastic team of people! Thanks to everyone who was involved in setting up and running the stall, it was a logistical feat!

Elsewhere in Oxford

We want to express our support for the Coalition to Keep Campsfield Closed, a partnership of local organisations and residents who are campaigning against the reopening of Campsfield Immigration Detention Centre, near to Kidlington.

As a Mutual Aid group, we stand in solidarity with those who are in or threatened by indefinite immigration detention. Asylum seekers and undocumented people are often among those in our community who experience food insecurity, due to insufficient government support and, for some people, being barred or deterred from accessing public funds and services.

To learn more about the Coalition: https://keepcampsfieldclosed.uk/
To learn more about immigration detention in the UK: https://detentionaction.org.uk/about-detention/what-is-immigration-detention/

Van driver and volunteer drivers needed

As we get busier and busier, we need some additional support. 

Oxford Mutual Aid is seeking to compensate a new van driver for delivery services.

This will involve:

  • Delivering parcels (collection from Richard Benson Hall, 276 Cowley Road). Routes will be mapped, and 15 – 20 stops.
  • Collection of Food Supplies from various locations

We are looking for people with availability on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in particular but there are always ad hoc jobs that pop up throughout the week.

You need:

  • A clean licence
  • Experience driving / delivering in vans
  • References for the above

If you are interested in hearing more, please e-mail jobs@oxfordmutualaid.org with the subject title ‘Van driving at O.M.A.’. If you’re interested in volunteering but also have experience driving a van, please fill out the form here: www.oxfordmutualaid.org/volunteering

Other ways to support us

We need to ensure we’re able to continue to operate for as long as we are needed, and a huge part of this is having enough monthly donations to support us. If you aren’t able to volunteer, you can donate at www.oxfordmutualaid.org/donate and share this message with your friends, family and networks.

We always welcome donations of food or other essential items at the Hall (276 Cowley Road): we are particularly looking for tinned items to see us through the winter as well as self-care items to include in our parcels (candles, hand creams, lotions, body sprays).

Feedback

Here’s some feedback we received this week from people we support. We want to share this feedback with our community but also to emphasise that we would never expect thanks from people we support, as what we provide falls under the basic necessities that everyone has a right to. These are some messages we received this week:

Things are getting so expensive trying to make ends meet, it’s hard not just for me but for everyone, thank you.

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News

News 02.10.22

We have had a busy few weeks, with Freshers Fairs, Harvest Thanksgivings and the BBC make a Difference awards. 

We provided regular i.e. weekly support to nearly 1000 people in the form of food and other essential supplies parcels. We also delivered hundreds of kitchen collective meals We packed and delivered 88 Emergency Parcels to over 217 people. We also provided food support to many local community groups and charities who we are proud to partner and stand in solidarity with. They also provide considerable support to O.M.A and we are incredibly grateful! 

All in all, O.M.A supported between 1500 and 2000 people this week

Feedback

We wanted to share some wonderful feedback we received this week. Thank you to everyone who shared these kind words – we are very moved and humbled by them.

‘Oxford Mutual Aid makes me feel like I am living instead of just existing’

‘Thank you again for helping to provide us with this lifeline. My family and I would be in a far more desperate situation without this incredible help.’

‘I want to say how Grateful [my partner] and myself are for the help you have given us in these frightening times trying to afford anything. You are All blessed.x’ 

Harvest Thanksgiving

This week we spoke at Harvest Thanksgiving at the St Mary & St John Church on Cowley Road. O.M.A is based at the Richard Benson Hall which is one of their halls. We love our ‘home’ there and are very grateful for the continued support that is shown to O.M.A by this community. We also received some incredible donations pictured below

Make a Difference Awards

This week we attended BBC Radio Oxford’s Make a Difference Awards. Although we did not win, we were just happy to attend and to meet all the wonderful people who are doing incredible things to stand in solidarity with and support their communities. We want to thank those of you who nominated us and continue to support us in all the work that we do. There are so many people who work so hard – too many to name – who are doing brilliant things around Oxford. 

Raid your cupboards

Toiletries, Cleaning Products and Essential Items

Alongside food, OMA provides other essential items. We do not consider these items to be luxuries but instead basic necessities that a person needs to live a dignified life.

We provide toilet roll, sanitary products, nappies and contraceptives on a weekly basis, with baby formula available once every two weeks.

Once a month, OMA provides a toiletries and cleaning products bundle.

We used to be able to offer all of these items more frequently. However, due to rising costs in other areas (food, fuel, rent) as well as a rising demand – we have had to reduce the frequency with which we can provide these items.

This week, it is a toiletries and cleaning products week at OMA but demand far outstrips what is currently available.

We are low on the following items if you can donate any:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Washing up liquid
  • Bleach
  • Laundry detergent
  • Sponges
  • Toilet roll

We are especially in need of bleach: https://tinyurl.com/yk23rhnp 

We also need some support sourcing baby products:

Aptamil stage 1, 2, 3, 4 https://tinyurl.com/3b9wj6r2 

Food Requests

Alongside these essential items, we are also continuing to call out for some of our old favourites! 

Tinned tuna: https://bit.ly/32XAl5O 

Soup: https://tinyurl.com/yckkn9hj

Tinned meat: https://tinyurl.com/bddy87ut

You can drop off any day between 10am to 7pm (Weekdays) & 10am to 6pm (Weekends)  at the Richard Benson Hall, 276 Cowley Road!

Call out for plastic bags

Do you have any spare strong plastic bags that you’d like to donate?
We are accepting donations of bags at the Richard Benson Hall on Cowley Road or alternatively please email coordinators@oxfordmutualaid.org to arrange!

Categories
News

News 04.09.22

We have had another busy week at O.M.A. We provided nearly 1000 people with their regular (weekly) parcel of food and other essential supplies. In addition to that, we delivered emergency parcels to 300 people on the day that they contacted us. We distributed food to many local community groups, saving tonnes of surplus food from food waste.

Alongside the incredible Oxford Food Hub, we were visited by ITV to speak about the challenges facing us this winter. We will hopefully be featured on Monday. Following that, the BBC came to visit in relation to our nomination for the make a difference awards.  

Cost of living crisis

The cost of living crisis is ever deepening, with many facing increasingly difficult times. We are alarmed at the scale of demand at the moment, and worry about our capacity to meet it. Everyday we are increasingly stretched and are anxious about the months ahead.

What is even more alarming, however, is the extent to which poverty, food insecurity and deprivation are becoming normalised as inevitable in one of the richest countries in the word. This is not normal and should not be happening.

At OMA we will continue to do everything we can to make sure no one’s call for help goes unanswered. However, this is not a long term solution to a much larger systemic problem.

We need your help

Due to the scale of the cost of living crisis we are seeking out more volunteers to support us in our work

We especially need volunteer drivers and bikers and hall volunteers.

Without more support we will not be able to meet the demand. We really appreciate the support that is shown to us and genuinely can’t quite believe just how many people help week in week out but we are looking for more support if you can spare even an hour a week – it would make a huge difference.

Burford Rehoming Centre Pet Food Donation

After the super volunteer Sophie contacted Burford Rehoming Centre asking for pet food donations, on Monday 29th August Hannah from Burford visited the hall with an amazing donation of pet food! They have also committed to regular dog and cat food donations on a bi-weekly basis going forward. This will be a huge support to us, we receive many requests for pet food on a weekly basis from our regular and emergency parcel receivers. With very low stocks recently we have not been able to provide such support in the capacity required. We hope this will give a little extra relief to the households we deliver to.

Thanks again to Hannah and the whole team at Burford Rehoming Centre!

Sanitary pads required – please donate

Unfortunately we have drawn down our stock of sanitary supplies and are almost out of sanitary towels. We are urgently asking for donations. These are essential items for people’s health, hygiene and dignity. We can receive anywhere from 50 – 150 requests per week. 

You can order us supplies here.

Period poverty

 A recent survey by Plan International UK found more than a third of girls aged 14-21 in the UK have struggled to afford or access menstrual products during the pandemic – up one fifth on the previous year. This is equivalent to over one million girls. 

It was estimated that more than 137,700 girls in the UK missed school last year because they can’t afford sanitary products.  6% of parents said they had been so desperate to equip their daughters with menstrual products that they have resorted to stealing. More than a fifth of parents said they had gone without something themselves, so that they had enough money to meet their daughter’s needs. 

And, as is the case in many countries across the world, period poverty in the UK has worsened due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

A recent survey by Plan International UK found more than a third of girls aged 14-21 in the UK have struggled to afford or access menstrual products during the pandemic – up one fifth on the previous year. This is equivalent to over one million girls.  

Half of these girls said they did not have enough money to buy period products at all at some point over the past year, and three quarters (73%) of those had to use toilet paper as an alternative to period products like pads.

We’re asking you to help us to ensure that OMA can help to support as many people as possible to escape period poverty.

Learn more here.

Raid your cupboards for ambient goods for OMA

We have completely run out of these items:

SPAGHETTI HOOPS- https://tinyurl.com/yc7ze3ns

TEA BAGS – https://tinyurl.com/m3fp7hx2 

NAPPIES SIZE 7 & 8 –   https://tinyurl.com/3mpejd5z 

APTAMIL 3 & 4 – https://tinyurl.com/rry4en95

Feedback

We receive lovely feedback on a daily basis and there is always a member of the team to read and share it. Although it is not necessary, it is very humbling. We are all so glad to be part of this community and value your supportive and encouraging words so much!

I can’t believe it, I’m not used to many niceties or kindness these days, and I’m overwhelmed at such amazing stuff. Thank you so much, I’m really grateful, please please pass on my thanks to everybody in the team, and your delivery driver

Nice person, gentle conversation and a smile. Thank you to your delivery driver for delivering a thank you to you for doing what you do and thank you to the whole team for being amazing.

A big thank you for the parcel ,you do not realise how much of a life saver this is, kind regards,  God bless

In solidarity, we are all in this together. If you need help please reach out at 07310160595 or support@oxfordmutualaid.org 💛

Join our grant writing team

We are looking to get a group of volunteers together to support us in grant research, writing and applications. OMA relies heavily on securing funding from grants for our core operational costs, food and essential staff and volunteer training courses, so it is super important work which is a lot for the coordinators to manage alone. It will be very flexible and ad hoc support but hopefully with a structured work flow between us all. 

An external trainer has offered some grant writing training on Thursday 15th Sep (1.5 hours approx) and has welcomed a small group of volunteers to join. Would you be interested in attending the training and/or being involved in supporting in any way with grant writing and applications? 

Please get in touch to let us know.

Finance Q&A 6pm Tuesday 6th September

For anyone who would like to know more about what happens behind-the-scenes at OMA when it comes to all things finance! We will talk about budget, reserves, planning, and much more. Ask all your questions! Don’t worry, finance isn’t scary, and we can keep it as light on the numbers as is needed. Feel free to send Lia questions ahead of time at lia@oxfordmutualaid.org.

Oxford Mutual Aid is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: OMA Finance Q&A

Time: Sep 6, 2022 06:00 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85088587640?pwd=dWZzZFdNTDU5bGc3aVdFVmtScURpdz09

Meeting ID: 850 8858 7640

Passcode: 155407

Christmas Committee

It’s (not quite but…) nearly that time of year! We’re getting ahead of the game and hoping to beginning planning our annual Christmas activities. Last year we were busy with plenty of presents and we want to try to find a way to spread some Christmas joy this year with our new capacities and schedules. If you’re interested in being part of the organising – which can be everything from sourcing to packing to driving logistics please join us! We’ll be having a Zoom meeting in the coming weeks. You can email christmas@oxfordmutualaid.org if you’re interested.

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News

Changes to service provision from September

We want to let you know about some changes to service provision from September.

Throughout the month of August we have not been providing emergency parcels on Wednesdays. We have coupled this with efforts to increase our signposting capacities and the information provided to all those contacting OMA in regards to other support available both on Wednesdays and throughout the week.

As you may be aware, we had initially proposed an additional reduction in emergency parcel provision starting in September, which was suggested to be Mondays. However, upon reflection and through an extended process of feedback, we have decided that this will change to Saturdays. Our regular service provision will not change on these days.

From the week beginning 5th September:

We will not be able to provide any emergency parcels on WEDNESDAYS or SATURDAYS.

On these days:

  • Our phone lines will be closed. Any requests submitted via email or online will be responded to as soon as possible on subsequent days.
  • Emergency parcel requests will not be received at the Hall.

Phone lines will be open only between 10am-4pm

  • This applies to all days other than Wednesday and Saturday (where there are no Emergency parcels available and phones are closed all day). Any requests submitted online or via email will likely be responded to on subsequent days if made after hours.
  • All calls or texts requests received after or before working hours will need to be made again on subsequent days. On both non-EP days (Wednesday and Saturday) however, we will have staff cover to ensure delivery of regular parcels and supervision of other associated operations.

As it stands, this will not affect the delivery of surplus or availability for meetings or other remote work. Our staff remain accessible via Whatsapp and/or on the email below.

We have also confirmed that these changes will NOT affect the provision of regular parcels – therefore if you are, or know anyone who is in reciept of regular support from OMA (i.e. a weekly parcel, that does not need to be requested) this will continue as normal.

We will continue to actively signpost everyone who calls the phone line to ensure that people are connected with additional support available in the local community. We will ensure that all those calling know that we are here, and that they are able to continue to access food support in crisis.

We have been so grateful to hear that these changes have provided some meaningful breathing space across Hall, Delivery and Driving teams, and we hope that these additional changes will further protect the welfare of both the coordination team and volunteer teams as we enter what will be a challenging Winter period.

We want to assure you that we will continue with our principles of mutual aid, of no-means testing and of prioritising the dignity and autonomy of all who come into contact with O.M.A.

We will be explaining the above changes to all Emergency Parcel contacts and sending out a new batch of leaflets to communicate these changes.

We are also in the process of contacting all third party bodies and organisations who refer to O.M.A. Both will be provided with the relevant signposting support and information to ensure the change is as smooth as possible. If you have any concerns or questions, please reach out to the coordination team (coordinators@oxfordmutualaid.org)

Categories
News

News 28.08.22

Rising Energy Costs

This week the energy regulator announced a new price cap which will mean that the average household bill will rise to £3549 per year. Households across the city and country, many of whom are already under immense strain already in the face of the rising cost of living and years of austerity will be pushed into increasingly precarious and unsafe circumstances. Many of the most at-risk households will be pushed beyond the point of no return. 

The devastating impact of this rise cannot be overstated. At O.M.A we are extremely worried. For months already we have seen numbers requesting support rise by up to 400%, particularly from households accessing support for the first time. There is no question that this will increase significantly, with most predicting that by January ⅔ of the country will be in fuel poverty

It is hard to explain what a harrowing impact this change will have on households everywhere and organisations like O.M.A working across the country to support their communities.You can read and share the voices of people, organisations and community groups here and here.

What you can do 

Raid your cupboards

As it stands, we are facing a difficult Winter. But, for the past three years, we have been astounded every day by the strength, generosity and courage of this community and how we have stood in solidarity with one another through each and every crisis we have faced. 

If you are able to, we are urgently in need of the following items to ensure stocks are sufficient to provide households with staples, particularly those which can be prepared with lower energy requirements. These are:

This week we have unfortunately run out of some essential ambient goods and toiletries, including: 

Tinned tomatoes ( please click to donate)

Tinned tuna

Tinned vegetables

Tinned fruit

Baked beans

We also are continuing to ensure that we provide more than just the staples, which includes the purchasing of toiletries, baby products and cleaning products. However, with costs rising we are finding it nearly impossible to meet the demand for support with our current budget. This week we need: 

Baby wipes

Nappies size 8

Washing up liquid

Toilet roll

Thank you so much to everyone who has sent through generous donations over the past week. We are truly overwhelmed by the community of care we have built here in Oxford. 

Donate monthly to OMA

If you have the means, please consider signing up for a regular donation to O.M.A. We know a lot lof of you have chipped in already but we’d really appreciate if you’re not already, you might consider donating 5 pounds a month.

You can donate here – please consider sharing this link with friends and family through your networks, and make sure to tag O.M.A! 

If you’re a part of a company you can also donate directly to us via bank transfer. Just this week we received an amazingly generous donation from the team at Data Salon Oxford – they make an incredible impact on what we are able to do. If you’re interested but unsure where to start, contact us at coordinators@oxfordmutualaid.org

Feedback

Through hard times and looking ahead to a challenging Winter it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. But we are reminded of the importance of our work, and the importance of this community through the messages we are lucky to receive day in, day out. 

Hi guys. Just wanted to let you know that we think it’s a beautiful box this week and will save us at least £20 off our shopping to put towards gas for winter… this was a really caring thoughtful delivery

My heart is full of praises and thank you for your kind support and help on time with your very much kind words for emotional support whenever I speak to you all. You all are your best .


We are in this together – and we truly are all O.M.A. If you need help please reach out at 07310160595 or support@oxfordmutualaid.org <3

Categories
News

News 21.08.22

We’d like to say a huge thank you as always to everyone who has supported OMA this week. We’ve been so lucky to have so many people reach out and offer their time, across the remote team, delivery bikers and drivers, and the most wonderful Hall team too. If you’re keen to find out more about volunteering for OMA, please let us know.

Through our joint efforts we delivered over 250 regular parcels as well as 77 emergency parcels reaching 155 adults, 7 children and 18 babies in urgent need of support. We continued our work with Matilda House, Syrian Sisters and Oxford Asian Women’s Voice, distributing food to an additional 100+ people.

AMBIENT GOODS URGENTLY NEEDED

This week we have unfortunately run out of some essential ambient goods and toiletries, including: 

Tinned tomatoes ( please click to donate)

Tinned soup

Tinned vegetables

Tinned fruit

Baked beans

Coffee

Nappies size 7 and 8

These essentials make up key nutrients for hundreds of households in receipt of regular and emergency support from OMA, and are particularly helpful for those with limited cooking facilities or capacity. Our food budget is restricted so we are reliant on donations of these items. If you’re able to donate even a few tins please do! We’re at 276 Cowley Road, OX4 1UR between 9am-7pm every day and can receive in-person donations or supermarket deliveries. 

Apples Galore

This week one of our wonderful recipients sent through a delivery of over 200 apples from their garden which went into dozens of parcels that day and in the coming days. We’re so grateful to everyone who’s been helping particularly with fruit (which is very hard to come by!) so thank you to everyone who has delivered fruit and donations from their gardens.

Social media support

Following a discussion in our General Meeting, in the coming weeks we will be scheduling, organising and rethinking our social media and media strategies in line with new fundraising targets for OMA. If you love making a reel, enjoy looking at analytics, like taking and sharing pictures and videos or want to support us remotely (no more than an hour or so a week!) then please email nabila@oxfordmutualaid.org or text 07385853819.  We’d really like to hear from you if have experience with graphic design but this is absolutely not a requirement!

Botley, Carfax and Cutteslowe deliveries

We’re often struggling to find drivers or bikers to reach these areas, both on a one-off and regular basis. These are some of the areas with the least alternative support available and so we would love to try as hard as we can to ensure that support is able to reach those who need it most. If you have a car or bike and may be able to help with deliveries – please reach out to us on volunteering@oxfordmutualaid.org or www.oxfordmutualaid.org/volunteer.

Feedback

Here are some words from our lovely volunteer coordinator, Hall maestro and delivery coordinator extraordinaire, Christine: 

“What I love about OMA is that there are so many ways to get involved.  I particularly enjoy introducing potential volunteers to this wonderful organisation! The phone, the Hall and delivery are the main starting roles, but there are so many opportunities to help in this much needed and practical work."

This week, someone who received a parcel from OMA also shared this: 

“Hello, thank you very very much for the parcel it was perfect it came also with chocolates as a treat thanks so much, all your team are doing such an amazing work helping families. Thanks thanks thanks a lot!!”

“Your call tonight has restored my faith in humanity, and made my evening. I can’t remember the last time someone talked to me with such kindness and not like robot and that could make me laugh… I haven’t laughed in weeks… I feel relieved.”

Messages like this remind us of the importance of not providing only what are perceived as the “essentials” but ensuring that everyone in Oxford knows that they are not alone and that their humanity, dignity and autonomy are important to everyone at OMA. 

If you need support please reach out by contacting us on:

07310160595 between 10am and 5pm 

support@oxfordmutualaid.org

www.oxfordmutualaid.org/support

We are available every day except Wednesday to provide emergency parcels and signposting advice to other sources of support across the City.