Charity People

Westgate launches Christmas campaign to help the homeless

By John Charlton

Westgate Oxford will be hosting a Christmas fundraising drive for charities Homeless Oxfordshire and Aspire Oxford to help tackle the growing issue of homelessness in the city.

The special Christmas campaign, set to run from Friday 1st December through until Christmas Eve, gives visitors to Westgate the chance to write a message of support to a homeless person and place it onto a specially designed illuminated present. People will be encouraged to add more messages until the whole present is wrapped.

Members of the public will also be invited to spread some Christmas cheer by making a donation to the cause, with all funds raised going to help the charities provide both immediate help this Christmas, such as hot food and safe housing, and longer-term, specialist support to help people leave homelessness behind for good.

Everyone who shows their support with a donation will be able to take away a decoration to hang on their tree at home as a thank you for their generosity.

Brendan Hattam, General Manager at the Westgate Oxford Alliance said “We’re delighted to play our part in this important Christmas fundraising drive and hope that through the campaign we can raise much-needed funds for a worthy cause. Oxford can be a magical place at Christmas time, but for those facing homelessness it is anything but. Throughout Westgate’s development we have worked closely with both charities to help tackle the issue, including our employment programme with Aspire Oxford which helped for ex-offenders, the long-term unemployed and those who had been homeless in the past into work.”

Helen Mariner, Senior Fundraising & Communications Officer at Aspire Oxford, added “We’re extremely grateful to Westgate for the incredible support they have given us, not just this Christmas but through giving jobs and work experience opportunities to over 10 of our clients. Some of these people were homeless just a year ago, and Westgate’s support has played a significant role in helping them to break the cycle of homelessness for good. We are delighted to be given this superb opportunity to show that homeless people aren’t forgotten over the Christmas period and hope that people will show their support for those who are less fortunate at this time of year.”