The Charity Awards

Best Community Project – sponsored by Collaborent

Nominees:
Bicester’s Big Lunch Team
Family Arena Holiday Activities
Oxtalk & District Talking Newspaper
Sandford Talking Shop Ltd
Second Time Around Charities
Sustainable Wantage

Shortlisted:
Bicester’s Big Lunch Team
This started in the Queen’s Jubilee year 2012 and as well as providing the opportunity for people to meet and share lunch together, it offers between 35 and 40 stalls, entertainment and activities for all ages.

Sandford Talking Shop Ltd
A community project through and through, showing what can be achieved through community ownership and delivery: local people working together, shaping and running something for their own neighbourhood, to meet local needs.

Sustainable Wantage
A fantastic example of members of a community working together; responding to need, creating opportunities and encouraging involvement across a range of projects to support vulnerable members of the community.

Winner: Sandford Talking Shop Ltd
In a village that had lost its school, local pub and post office, this was needed as much for the social hub it would provide as for the shopping. At the end of November 2016, Talking Shop opened its doors. Through Talking Shop local volunteers now run a bike mechanic team, a knit & stitch group, weekly table tennis sessions, a gardening team, a monthly lunch club for the elderly, a monthly ‘Pay what you can’ Food Surplus Café and a Good Neighbour scheme plus an invaluable social space that welcomes isolated and vulnerable residents. Also, it offers a Saturday market as a source of good, affordable local produce. Talking Shop contributes in addition to the business studies programme at The Oxford Academy, where it is studied as a local example of social enterprise. This is a project truly run by and for the community.

 

Best Team of Volunteers – sponsored by Hunts

Nominees:
Asylum Welcome
Bicester’s Big Lunch Team
Broken Spoke Bike Co-op
Children Heard and Seen
Getting Heard and seAp
North Oxford Association Community Centre
Oxford Homeless Pathways
SeeSaw

Shortlisted:
Broken Spoke Bike Co-op
This is a DIY bicycle workshop and training provider that teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to ride and repair bicycles. Broken Spoke keeps the community workshop and Co-op running, by inspiring volunteers with a passion for riding.

Oxford Homeless Pathways
Over the last 6 years, the volunteer team at Oxford Homeless Pathways has grown from 4 to 170 volunteers. Amongst a whole host of other achievements and projects, they have just launched their own radio station.

SeeSaw
Works with children and young people who have been affected by the death of a close family member. They encourage them to talk about the person who has died, to express their feelings, conserve memories and discover coping mechanisms to manage their grief.

Winner: Oxford Homeless Pathways
Oxford Homeless Pathways uses volunteers to accompany clients to medical and medical related appointments. Their clients can be disorganised people who find attending appointments difficult to remember and who sometimes fail to attend because they find it challenging to deal with medical staff. This part of the volunteering project provides someone calm to accompany them who can help them make sense of the information they are given. This improves attendance rates, helps benefit clients’ health and saves the NHS thousands of pounds each year.


Innovation Award – sponsored by OxLEP

Nominees:
Art in the Garden at OxGrow
Banbury Food for Charities
Bridewell Organic Gardens
Footsteps Foundation
Handy Voices Signing Choir
Kingwood
Oxford Against Cutting
Second Time Around Charities
The Oxford Circular Collective

Shortlisted:
Handy Voices Signing Choir
Since it began, the Handy Voices Signing Choir have performed and competed in some amazing events. The most notable event was their entries at the Jersey Eisteddfod in November 2016 where they won 2 classes as well as coming second in 2 classes.

Oxford Against Cutting
Commended by stakeholders for the sensitivity and quality of their awareness-raising work, their ability to identify opportunities for empowering young people to take the lead resulted in the film, Are You Ready to Know? The first film in the UK to show an intergenerational conversation about FGM between a mother and young daughter. 

The Oxford Circular Collective
This is an exemplar resource redistribution system for a local circular economy. The Collective aims to facilitate reuse, repair and recycling of materials. They manage a fleet of bikes and trailers and run swap shops, upcycling workshops and litter picks. 

Winner: Handy Voices Signing Choir
This group has requests from all over Oxfordshire to perform and to help disseminate information about deaf awareness and deaf inclusion. In a very short time they have created a following. Their difference is what has made them stand out and also made those who might have been silent, find their “voice”.


Best New Group – sponsored by Jennings/Monument Community Trust 

Nominees:
Handy Voices Signing Choir
Incredible Edible Hook Norton
Out in Oxford vols, Pitts Rivers Museum

Shortlisted:
Handy Voices Signing Choir
They are the only fully inclusive group in Oxfordshire in that it offers a musical outlet for this often marginalised community and helps members express the beauty of music and language in a visual way.

Incredible Edible Hook Norton
Seeded from the Low Carbon Hook Norton group in the Hook Norton Village, the group aims to build a sustainable future by creating a community inspired to grow, cultivate, cook and share locally sourced produce.

Out in Oxford vols, Pitts Rivers Museum
The University’s first cross-collections trail and the collections’ first LGBTQ+ project. As a user-led project, it would not have been possible without volunteers; 51 new interpretations of 35 items across the University’s Gardens, Libraries and Museums group, and Bate Collection, now exist.

Winners: Incredible Edible Hook Norton
In just a year the Incredible Edible Hook Norton project has grown from strength to strength. The group is entirely volunteer run and although many are new to gardening, they have bags of enthusiasm and a clear vision for making Hook Norton more edible. For a group that has been established for only just over a year, they have achieved so much and have strived to take advantage for every new opportunity.


Lifetime Achievement Award – sponsored by Clark Howes

Nominees:
CAG
North Oxford Association Community Centre
Oxford Swans Swimming Club
Play2give
The Archway Foundation
The Lady Nuffield Home
Witney Talking News

Shortlisted:
The Archway Foundation
Loneliness is not a life choice, it is something that happens to people as a result of a number of factors. The whole purpose of the Archway Foundation is to provide companionship for those hurt by the devastating effects of loneliness.

The Oxford Swans Swimming Club
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the club  offers children and adults of all ages and varying degrees of learning or physical disability the chance to swim in a safe and supported environment. The confidence gained transfers to other areas of their lives.

Witney Talking News
Witney Talking News provides a weekly recording of local news and events for the visually impaired in the area. The main stories are taken from the Witney Gazette and Chipping Norton News.

Winners: The Archway Foundation
Once described as “Oxford’s best kept secret”, Archway has quietly gone about its work, making a difference to the lives of others. Starting with a small weekly supportive social gathering run by the Founder and 3 volunteers, Archway now has 4 social groups and over 70 befriending partnerships with over 200 people accessing their service each week. This is achieved thanks to the hard work of a small but highly dedicated staff team and a faithful team of over 100 volunteers whose ages range from early 20’s to 90’s. One user writes of their service writes, “I can’t believe how much I’ve changed since coming to Archway”.

Environmental Award – sponsored by Oxford Bus Company

Nominees:
Charlbury Green Hub – Sharecroppers
Friends of Hill End – Volunteer Team
Greening Chinnor
Low Carbon Oxford North & Good Food Oxford
Second Time Around Charities
Sustainable Blewbury

Shortlisted:
Charlbury Green Hub – Sharecroppers
This group has been redistributing tonnes of otherwise wasted fruit from local gardens to the wider community for the last nine years. This initiative has raised local interest in apples both among consumers and tree owners, and has saved some local fruit trees.

Greening Chinnor
This is a group working with the community to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of Chinnor. They have made a significant positive impact on the local environment, and the group is run entirely by a team of dedicated volunteers.

Sustainable Blewbury
Dedicated to enhancing environmental awareness in the village, a community orchard was established in memory of Mike Edmunds in 2015 following his sad death. The idea of an orchard for all to enjoy captured the public imagination and the trees have all blossomed.

Winners: Charlbury Green Hub – Sharecroppers
Every other Sunday afternoon from September to November they hold a Big Apple Take-Away for people to take home as many fresh ripe apples as they want. Over the years more heritage varieties have been discovered. Damaged or windfall fruits are juiced to make 60 gallons of cider which is then sold to raise money for charities at local festivals, including the well-established Charlbury Beer Festival.

 

Management of Volunteers – sponsored by Oxford Brookes University

Nominees:

ARCh
Sandford Talking Shop Ltd
The Hummingbird Cancer Support & Therapy Centre
The Listening Centre
The Theatre Chipping Norton

Shortlisted:
Assisted Reading for Children (ARCh)
Each ARCh volunteer works with the same children for an entire year, providing individual reading help, the aim being to inspire children to develop a love of reading which will enhance their lives, at school and beyond.

Sandford Talking Shop Ltd
Responding to local need for a community hub a group of 20 local volunteers started a weekly market and café in 2011. Since then the team has set up a community shop and café, and runs a wide range of community benefit activities.

The Hummingbird Cancer Support & Therapy Centre
The Hummingbird Centre is run entirely by volunteers. Since 2014 the volunteer team has grown from 8 to 44.  When a new volunteer comes on board, they team up with an existing member for an induction period and ongoing training is offered.   

Winner: The Hummingbird Cancer Support & Therapy Centre
As team leader, Mechelle Harris makes herself available for individual sessions whenever the need arises. She is particularly aware of when any volunteer is under stress and is keen to offer support where necessary.  Volunteers have contributed to the monthly meetings and team leader Mechelle Harris takes any recommendations back to the board.

Good Neighbour Award – sponsored by ami

Nominees:
Bicester Good Neighbour Scheme
Oxford Food Bank
Sustainable Wantage – the Mix

Shortlisted:
Bicester Good Neighbour Scheme
This offers help and friendship to older, isolated people in the local area. The scheme does this through the dedication of their volunteers, who give their time for free every week. Clients may just want to chat, or might need help with everyday practical tasks.

Oxford Food Bank
The organisation’s main aims are twofold: to reduce food poverty and to reduce food waste within Oxfordshire. Secondary benefits include a positive impact on health  from the high proportion of fruit and vegetables delivered, and the distribution of additional useful non-food products.

Sustainable Wantage – the Mix
They run a Local Groups’ Network (20 groups) to share ideas, expertise, resources and support. They also actively seek out links and partnerships to support groups and individuals in the community.

Winner: Bicester Good Neighbour Scheme
Volunteers have helped their clients to claim benefits, access their council and social services, and to put them in touch with specialist support for particular health conditions. They have assisted house-bound clients in contacting and appointing carers, they have escorted clients to essential appointments, and one volunteer even shared her Christmas lunch with three of her BGNS friends so that they were not alone!

 

Working Together Award – sponsored by Heyford Park Management

Nominees:
Aspire Oxford/Ley Community Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre
Community Engagement Service/Ox Uni Ashmolean/Crisis Skylight
Getting Heard and seAp
Kingwood
One-Eighty/Community First Oxfordshire
Oxford Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre
RH&ILC/LEAF/LCEO/LCH/SESI
Style Acre
The Ark T Centre and Camerados
The Hummingbird Cancer Support & Therapy Centre
Thrive/Leys Youth Programme
Wild Oxfordshire

Shortlisted:
Aspire Oxford/Ley Community Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre
Through Aspire’s Active Body, Healthy Mind project, which uses sport and physical activity to aid those currently in drug and alcohol recovery, Aspire was able to engage with the Ley Community to offer sporting opportunities to residents for the first time.

Oxford Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre
Since 2006, Oxford Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre has worked successfully with Deaf Direct, sharing a CEO and working with Deaf Direct to provide British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreting services to Health and Social Care agencies in Oxfordshire.

Thrive/Leys Youth Programme
Thrive and Leys Youth Programme (LYP) have successfully collaborated to merge the two charities into a single entity. Both charities equip young people to make a positive difference in their communities.

Winners: Thrive/Leys Youth Programme
Since the collaboration a much more productive environment for young people has been created. Everyone has benefited from the collaboration as they have cross-pollinated ideas between teams. They replicated the Young Leaders programme from Barton into the Leys. Young Leaders are now more willing to take part in activities and take the initiative. Deputy Lord Lieutenant Michael Macfadyen summed this up when he said, “Thrive is growing across this city and needs to. There is a quality about their youth work and as funders, we know that we are getting a good return on our investment with Thrive.”

 

Oxfordshire Charity of the Year – sponsored by Oxfordshire County Council

Nominees:
ARCh
Aspire Oxford
Auditory Verbal UK
Base 33 Youth Charity BB4K
FarmAbility
Footsteps Foundation
Four Paws Cat Rescue
IntoUniversity Oxford South East
Maggie’s Oxford
One-Eighty
Oxford Food Bank
Oxford Homeless Pathways
Play2give
Respite Nursing for Oxfordshire’s Sick Youngsters
Restore
Second Time Around Charities
Sunrise Multicultural Project (Banbury)
The Archway Foundation
The Listening Centre

Shortlisted:
Aspire Oxford
Established in 2001, Aspire Oxford is a social enterprise which creates work placements and employment opportunities for local people who face barriers to securing employment.

One-Eighty
An organisation that have a proven track record of supporting young people and their families in helping them to turn their lives around. Based on innovative research, they provide short-term, intensive interventions (one-to-one and group projects) that seek to bring about positive changes. 

Restore
Over the last two years demand for places in the Recovery Groups has risen by 43% and they continue to receive new referrals. This year Restore is celebrating its 40th birthday and they are aiming to smash all their previous targets and continue to support those who suffer from mental illness.

Winner: One-Eighty
Every year, the work of One-Eighty broadens. This year, the number of referrals has increased and they have developed a number of training modules to support professionals in their day-to-day work with young people. They also held their first conference—‘Advanced skills in education’—in October 2016. It is well known that all young people improve in one or more intervention targets. For example, a young person called Sara, an energetic, sporty, feisty, articulate and artistic pupil, was referred to One-Eighty because she was wandering the corridors at school and refusing to go back to class, was rude and tended to isolate herself. After 36 sessions, Sara was more engaged and was making steady progress with her behaviour and her commitment to school. She was becoming capable of seeing things from other people’s points of view and to articulate her feelings. Her progress was recognised by the school referrer who reported that the intervention had been highly successful. One-Eighty are committed to continuing this vital work.

Rebekah Sammut of One-Eighty says, ‘The award is an amazing achievement and recognition for the whole team and the hard work everyone puts in. We hope it underlines the importance of addressing mental health and challenging behaviour in young people and families.’

Congratulations to you all!