Banbury area councillor and school students to host fundraising event for homeless charity

Banbury area councillor and school students to host fundraising stall in Banbury town centre to help homeless charity

Paul Fuller, a Middleton Cheney parish councillor, is employed by Oxfordshire County Council and is currently on placement as a student social worker with The Porch.
Paul Fuller, a Middleton Cheney parish councillor, is employed by Oxfordshire County Council and is currently on placement as a student social worker with The Porch.

The village of Middleton Cheney is set to see four of its residents help raise much needed funds for The Porch Day Centre, a small independent charity which has supported the homeless and vulnerably housed in Oxford.

Chenderit School students Isabella Hetherington, Jake O’Donell and Alfie Aspinall are completing 12 hours of community work for their Duke of Edinburgh Award and are being supervised and supported by one of the village’s parish councillors, Paul Fuller. Whilst not working for his parishioners, Cllr Fuller is employed by Oxfordshire County Council and is currently on placement as a student social worker with The Porch.

Paul and the students will be holding a cake sale during the school half term tomorrow, Thursday October 29, between 9:30am and 3.30pm in Banbury town centre.

The Porch Day Centre, a smallindependent charity which has supported the homeless and vulnerably housed in Oxford.

They will also be selling Porch Preserves, the ingredients of which have either been donated to or grown by The Porch on their allotments and made into jams, marmalades and chutneys on site by staff every week.

Paul said: “The Porch has been running throughout the coronavirus, providing home cooked meals every day to some of the most vulnerable people in Oxford.”

At the height of lockdown staff at The Porch were handing out in excess of 200 meals a day, and now serve on average 70 meals to its members from the front door of their premises in Magdalen Street, Oxford, six days a week.

Prior to the lockdown which rendered much of the support available to the homeless in Oxford unviable, The Porch’s case workers gave one-to-one support to those most in need of their help to address some of the complex matters that affect their chances of either securing accommodation or maintaining a tenancy.

Chenderit School students, Jake ODonnell (at the back), Isabella Hetherington and then Alfie Aspinall, who are volunteering with The Porch charity.

Paul said: “We haven’t been able to provide our members with access to our job club, art therapy and counselling support, or to even allow them to have a hot shower and wash their clothes as coronavirus has meant that they cannot come into the centre.”

Although the government initially housed the nation’s rough sleepers at the beginning of the lockdown, sadly there are still many who are living without shelter.

Despite the challenges that are faced by The Porch in providing as much help as they can during such difficult times, Isabella, Jake and Alfie couldn’t be more proud of doing what they can to help.

Jake said: “I would like to help out in raising money for The Porch because it makes me really upset to think that people are lying out there in the cold, with no food and no shelter.

"It must be horrible. The Porch is a fantastic charity, which helps those who don’t live in satisfactory shelter or safety. In my eyes, I feel like everyone should live life equally and so therefore I want to be part of this project and I want to do my bit for homeless people.”

The Porch is one of the smallest charities in Oxford who work with and support the homeless. Having outgrown their current premises they recently bought the former Magdalen Road Church which requires extensive renovation.

Guy Scotece, the centre's manager, said: "This isn't a vanity project for The Porch, the fact is that our current building is in need of extensive renovation. We are limited in what we can deliver, so the new building will be a more flexible space and will allow us to adapt as needs change."

Given the current economic climate, many people are facing uncertain futures and potentially unemployment. The Porch considers it likely that more people will be facing homelessness over the coming months and are exceedingly grateful for any support that the public can provide.

Paul added: “Whilst Alfie, Jake and Isabella will be showcasing their baking skills next Thursday, I would like to pay particular thanks to Limes Farm Tearoom of Farthinghoe, Caked in Bread of Brackley, The Butler’s Pantry of Middleton Cheney and Chocolate & Sweet Bouquets (Facebook), all of whom have generously donated products to sell in order to help raise funds as well.”

Anyone who is unable to buy cakes on the day but would still like to help The Porch is welcome to make a donation at https://www.justgiving.com/theporch/donate.