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Aspire’s Autumn Newsletter 2020

Welcome to Aspire’s Autumn Newsletter 2020!

We’ve been working hard throughout the summer to ‘be there’ for the hundreds of vulnerable young people and adults continuing to engage in our support programmes. We are truly grateful to our support worker colleagues, who have gone above and beyond to identify those in greatest need during COVID-19 and ensured we provided them with emergency support throughout and beyond the pandemic and initial lockdown phase.

As a result of the fantastic response to our Emergency Appeal in March and securing additional grant funding, Aspire significantly stepped up its emergency activity over the summer. We are now laying the foundations to both respond to an increase in homelessness in the autumn, and to help ‘Build Back Better’ as we address our future beyond COVID-19 as a stronger, fairer and greener organisation.

Building Back Better

We are so proud of our team for helping our clients to continue to achieve such positive outcomes throughout COVID-19. Since March, our support workers have adapted their work to ensure our clients continue to progress with their personal development journeys and work towards achieving their employment and housing aspirations.

Joe, one of five young people on our Unlocking Potential
project to have successfully gained employment during COVID-19

A big focus for Aspire has been on tackling the ‘digital deficit’ faced by many vulnerable adults and young people, which in turn reinforces their isolation and puts up another barrier to accessing vital support and information. Aspire has provided digital devices and connectivity for hundreds of beneficiaries over the summer, thanks to funding from Oxfordshire Community Foundation, The National Lottery Community Fund and MK Community Foundation, including installing Wi-Fi in emergency hotel accommodation and providing tablets and laptops for clients. We also formed new partnerships with The Good Things Foundation and CAST to develop a new digital platform to sustain our support offerings throughout and beyond COVID-19, to further the accessibility of our services for the future in a safe, secure way.

Aspire colleagues John and Nikki with 45 tablets
donated by Nominet through The Good Things Foundation
At Aspire, we believe that everyone should have access to active and social opportunities - no matter their financial situation or location - and this opportunity to connect has never been more important than it has today. 

‘Active Reach’, the new collaborative community project co-founded by Aspire, is working towards making this a reality - facilitated by Active Oxfordshire with funding from Sport England to provide accessible, socially-distanced opportunities for people in need. Aspire’s Gym Bus is out on the road once more as part of this fantastic new project, so give us a wave!
The Aspire Gym Bus, which will transport 
activities to those in need across Oxfordshire
as part of 'Active Reach'

Homes for Good

Team Oxford Volunteers from Bouygues and AirLite

New Housing in Central Oxford

Hundreds of people were supported into hotel and college rooms across Oxford City throughout COVID-19 as part of the ‘Everybody In’ campaign, supported by Aspire. But we now need a solution that is long-term - and not just for COVID-19 - to prevent a return to pre-pandemic levels of homelessness across Oxfordshire, as protective financial and housing measures come to an end.

Aspire have been working with Transition by Design, Nuffield College and other supporters - including employees from Bouygues volunteering through Team Oxford - to refurbish and bring online new accommodation in central Oxford for up to thirty-five individuals across five empty residential Oxford college properties. 

This builds upon our housing-led approach, offering more permanent, stable housing options for vulnerable adults over the next two years. Once out of temporary accommodation and settled in new homes, each beneficiary can work with our team to connect with the Aspire programmes that are most suitable to their unique needs, to gain experience, participate in training and find fulfilling employment. We will also be extending our countywide, community-based homelessness prevention service as we head into the autumn. 

The ‘Our House’ community housing project in West Oxfordshire

Since April, we have been working with Cottsway Housing and West Oxfordshire District Council to deliver the ‘Our House’ project. Based in Witney, this innovative project provides personalised employment and independent living support for young people receiving out-of-work benefits, by turning large, empty properties into shared accommodation. 

Here, project participants work with a dedicated Aspire support worker to set job goals, get ‘work-ready’, access training and apprenticeships - including Aspire’s enterprise business offerings - and pursue recruitment opportunities. With all three ‘Our House’ properties now full, we are so pleased with how this project is progressing!

Hire2Inspire | Aspire's New Social Recruitment Enterprise 

The employment landscape today is one of difficulty for employers and employees alike - but the review and reassessment of business needs and working practices could provide a valuable opportunity for organisations to ensure they are building back as open, inclusive and progressive recruiters.

This is where Aspire’s new Social Recruitment Enterprise, ‘Hire2Inspire’, can help - providing dedicated recruitment support to match the skills and needs of work-ready candidates and employers, alongside free Inclusive Recruitment workshops and an annual Employers’ Conference, to encourage socially-conscious thinking and support businesses to improve their recruitment practices.

Run for Aspire | Aspire's Virtual Half Marathon 2020

This year's Virgin Sport Oxford Half Marathon has unfortunately been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. But you can still don your running shoes for Aspire and help us to ensure that our support for those in need across Oxfordshire can continue - consider taking part in the Aspire Virtual Half Marathon 2020!

When: Sunday 11th October 2020
Fundraising target: £200
Distance: 13.1 miles, with a route and time of your choice

Sign up to Run for Aspire in our Virtual Half Marathon

Other ways to Support Aspire

There are so many ways to support Aspire’s work - from following what we’re up to on social media, to volunteering or partnering with us, donating and fundraising:

Fundraise or complete a challenge - in addition to our Virtual Half Marathon next month, there are many exciting ways to achieve your personal goals whilst making a lasting difference to lives in your local community - from bake-offs and raffles, to sleepouts or sponsored sporting challenges.

Become a Friend of Aspireand enable us to plan for the future, helping us to reach even more disadvantaged and marginalised people every year, from just £25 per year!

Partner with Aspire - from working with Hire2Inspire to meet your recruitment needs, setting up work placements for our clients, experiencing unique volunteering and pro bono skilled opportunities or procuring our grounds care or property maintenance services, we offer a variety of opportunities to work together and support business for good.

To find out more about Aspire Oxford and our work across Oxfordshire and its neighbouring counties today, give us a call on 01865 204450, drop us an email at or browse the projects on our website.

Aspire Oxford is committed to best practice in data protection. In line with new data protection laws that came into effect in May 2018 we have updated our Privacy Notice. You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this newsletter at any time using the footer links, or call 01865 204450 for more information. Thank you for your support.


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Aspire Oxford · St Thomas School, Osney Lane · Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 1NJ · United Kingdom

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