Life at Christ Church is intense and your course and social life may take up all your time and more. But outside Christ Church there is a busy city. There are many ways in which you can help other people. And you may find, as many do, that taking part in something outside college will enrich your own life too. The projects we support offer ways for you to help the homeless, local children, asylum seekers and adults with learning difficulties. Information about these projects and how you can help is given below, but there are plenty of other opportunities too.
Whatever your skills or limitations, your help can make a difference.
Mentoring and Tutoring in Blackbird Leys with IntoUniversity
In September 2014 an exiting new centre for IntoUniversity opens in Blackbird Leys, and we hope that many Christ Church students will support its work as volunteer counsellors and mentors through its after school academic support programme. This offers a great opportunity for volunteering, with proper training and support, as part of a dynamic and highly successful national programme.
Christ Church is taking a lead role in supporting the centre. It is funded by an old member of Christ Church, with matched funding from the University and help from the Queen's Trust. IntoUniversity is a remarkable charity which works with local schools in poorer areas and with individual self referred young people to dramatically increase their excitement about learning, their motivation to study and their levels of achievement. Through targeted support, tutoring, mentoring, and careful monitoring, young people are helped to aim high and to achieve their goals. IntoUniversity runs over a dozen centres, and its effectiveness in raising educational achievement is well proven.
This opportunity for Christ Church students to get involved in the community builds on the great success of our Home Learning Scheme, which began in Blackbird Leys and has helped children and families over the last twenty five years. The Home Leaning Scheme has now come to an end, and the IntoUniversity Centre offers us a brilliant chance to support our volunteers better, to refocus our volunteering effort on Blackbird Leys and the neighbouring areas once more, and to concentrate on the children who most need our support.
If you would like more information, please look at the IntoUniversity website, here: http://intouniversity.org
If you are a new or current student at Christ Church or another Oxford college, please consider whether you could help by becoming a tutor this year - if you are interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in the Admissions Office.
Helping the Homeless in Oxford - The Gatehouse, St Michael's Street
In 1988 a concerted programme was started in
central Oxford by the churches of all denominations and others concerned about the plight of the homeless, to address the needs of the hundreds of homeless people in Oxford. The Gatehouse is their response. It began over Christmas in 1988 and was an immediate success, both in terms of the appreciation of the customers and the support of local churches and individual volunteers. This led to the establishment of the present facilities at the Northgate Hall in St Michael's Street.
Many of Oxford's homeless people spend their time between the Day Centre and one of Oxford's Night Shelters. During the time when the Day centre is closed and the Night Shelter is yet to open, there is nowhere warm or secure to go. They really appreciate the hospitality provided by volunteers at the Gatehouse, which tries to meet that particular need by offering warmth and shelter in the late afternoon and early evening.
Many Christ Church students, along with volunteers from other colleges, have worked at the Gatehouse in recent years and have found it a very rewarding experience.If you could help, ring Oxford 792999 and ask for Andrew Smith who coordinates the volunteers. The best time to ring is between 5 and 7pm, any day except Mondays. Alternatively you can just call in when the centre is open. Help is always needed and much appreciated, especially throughout the weekends.
Helping People with Learning Disabilities - The Seven O'Clock Club
The Seven O'Clock Club is a youth and social club for people over 14 years of age (at the moment between 15 and 81) who suffer with a learning disability. It is very popular, with over fifty members attending each Wednesday evening between 7 and 9pm to play games, listen to music and socialise. For many it is their only night out during the week, or the only safe place for them to meet. The club has outings throughout the year, and an adventure holiday in Wales each Summer. The club started in the 1960s is funded by Mencap, Oxford Social Services the Oxfordshire Youth Service. It meets at the Bullingdon Community centre in East Oxford. Volunteers are most welcome. You would not be expected to deal with members' medical, personal or hygiene problems, but just enjoy the company of the club members.
Peter Hawkins, a member of staff at Christ Church, is the Club Supervisor. If you are interested in going along as a volunteer, or would just like more information, you can contact him on 01865 722535, or speak to him in the gardens at Christ Church.
Helping Immigration Detainees at Campsfield House
The local churches are involved in supporting those seeking asylum at Campsfield House, where many men are accommodated while their applications are processed. In the past Christ Church students have supported detainees and the College Choir has also been to sing concerts there on two occasions. For more information about how you could help, contact Asylum Welcome (01865-722082).
Nightline is an independent listening, support, and information service run for and by students. Every term we run a training course for people interested in becoming volunteers; this involves learning listening and support skills, and is taught in small groups using workshops and roleplays. Training is a fairly large time commitment, but most find it very rewarding.
If you think that this sounds like something that you would be interested in, please have a look at the website where you can get more information about the service and the training process, and where you can fill out an online application form:
Please feel free to get in touch with the training organisers at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Oxford Student Hub
For information about all kinds of volunteering in the city and beyond, go to the Student Hub website, or call in to their cafe on Turl Street.