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Aspire Oxford's Summer Newsletter
Hello and welcome to Aspire Oxford’s summer 2017 newsletter!

We’re delighted to share our latest news and showcase the journeys of our remarkable clients as they work to transform their lives. There are plenty of ways to get involved with Aspire’s life-changing work, from joining our
Oxford Half Marathon team to spending a night under the stars for the 2017 Oxford Big Sleepout! Thank you for your support and enjoy reading.
Ground-breaking employers’ conference: a step change in business recruitment
With a buoyant economy, tight labour market and record low unemployment, Oxfordshire is a tough place for businesses to recruit. But there are thousands of people in Oxfordshire who want to work and could do so, given the right support. We know from experience how much talent Aspire’s trainees have to offer in the world of work, and by considering inclusive recruitment businesses can gain dedicated, talented and loyal employees.
Aspire organised an inaugural Employers’ Conference in April 2017 to break down stigma and build confidence in employing from disadvantaged groups, particularly ex-offenders and young people not in employment, education or training (NEET). The response was amazing: over 70 delegates attended, including John Lewis, Mid Counties Co-operative and Pret a Manger. This conference signalled a step change in how employers can recruit and we’re pleased that its impact will continue to be felt: Aspire has now set up work experience placements with four leading employers, completed an inclusive
recruitment handbook for businesses, appointed a Recruitment Advisor and launched a series of employment workshops.
To find out more about how Aspire can help businesses meet their recruitment needs, please get in touch with our Recruitment Advisor Emily Capel-Davies on

Meet the team: Barry Dalziel – Employment and Development Worker

Barry started at Aspire Oxford in July 2016 as a “Grow” trainee, funded by The Pret Foundation Trust. This paid work placement helped Barry to gain vital skills and experience, and he shares the difference that this has made:
1: Can you tell us about your Aspire journey?
The Grow worker role was perfect for me as I’d been out of work for a few years. I have a great line manager who pushes me to develop personally and in my role, I’ve been given invaluable training, had the chance to speak to the press, at events and even royalty about my life experience. I have a lead role in two Turning Point hubs, started sports and social activities and I have my own client list, some of whom have started their own journeys into a meaningful future. If I hadn’t started as a Grow worker I don’t feel I would have found the confidence to do any of this.
2: What do you find most rewarding about working at Aspire?
I guess this would have to be meeting challenging clients - although it’s a slow process in building trust, when you start chipping away you unearth positives like creativity, professional backgrounds, interesting life stories, humour, common interests etc - it’s pretty cool. And selfishly I like going on the big activities such as fishing, canoeing, paint-balling as this is a great way to see the true nature of clients.

3: What has been the highlight of your time at Aspire so far?

Talking at the Oxford Big Sleepout in 2016 as that built a lot of confidence in public speaking and has made me more vocal in all aspects of my life. Being offered a full time contract with Aspire at the end of my placement was a big deal; it made me feel worthy and that I’d earned something in an honest way.
4: Describe working at Aspire Oxford in 3 words!

Supportive, creative and rewarding
2016-17: a remarkable year for social impact
Once again we’ve crunched the numbers and we’re very excited to share Aspire’s social impact outcomes with you! In 2016-17, we supported:

183 Aspire trainees; 376 Active Body Healthy Mind participants; 701 Get Connected drug and alcohol recovery clients; 154 elderly Community Transport passengers and 66 Through the Gate clients, including those in custody in local prisons.

As a direct result of Aspire’s employment support, 99% of Aspire trainees with an offending history did not re-offend; 93% of Aspire trainees maintained their recovery from substance misuse and 30% of Aspire trainees were supported into paid employment. Aspire’s trainees completed 6,421 real working days on our social enterprises, generating £429,000 for our charity.

You can take a look at our full Social Impact Report for 2016-17 here

Celebrating our trainees' remarkable achievements

Congratulations in the last couple of months, to:
Jusiah and Jamie who have secured full time work as steel painters on the Westgate site
Jason who has found employment as a labourer/driver also on the Westgate site
Jonah who is joining St Peter's College as a scout/porter
Robbie who has found employment as a labourer in Faringdon
Kamara who completed her customer service training and a work placement with Mid-Counties Co-operative in Oxford and has now found paid employment in a cafe in Oxford Science Park.

Oxford Big Tea Party tackles isolation and loneliness
Aspire’s Community Transport bus now takes over 100 passengers on regular shopping and social trips, preventing loneliness and helping them to live a full life of dignity and independence. 92% of our passengers live alone and 58% wouldn’t leave their homes without our vital bus service. But this service, like many others, is under threat of closure in the coming months.
Aspire organised the Oxford Big Tea Party in partnership with Cutteslowe Community Association to highlight the importance of our lifeline bus services. It was a great success, with homemade cakes, delicious food kindly donated by Mid-Counties Co-operative and superb musical entertainment provided by volunteer Kate Wilkinson – and the event raised over £5,000! A huge thank you to everyone involved for making this such a special afternoon, particularly Oxfordshire Community Foundation for their generous matched funding.
Aspire Oxford is committed to ensuring that we can continue to provide our invaluable
Community Transport bus service. If you’d like to support this project please contact Paul Roberts or Helen Mariner on 01865 204 450.
Aspire events - get involved and help us change lives!

Oxford Big Sleepout: Saturday 7th October, Hill End Outdoor Centre
Could you give up your bed for one night and help tackle homelessness in our community? We’ve teamed up with Oxford Homeless Pathways again this year to raise vital funds that will help break the cycle of homelessness, for good. This promises to be another inspiring night with live music, speakers, stalls, refreshments and much more. Last year we raised an incredible £24,000 and with your support we can smash this for 2017!
You can register for the Oxford Big Sleepout
here and can follow the event @Oxford_Sleepout.

Oxford Half Marathon: Sunday 8th October
Fancy taking on a challenge and helping Aspire to tackle social exclusion across our community? We have FREE charity places available for the
Oxford Half Marathon on Sunday 8th October 2017. This is a fantastic event which takes in the spectacular sights of Oxford and we’ll provide lots of fundraising support, an Aspire vest and cheering on the day. Places are limited so get in touch today! Please call Mark on 01865 204450 or email to find out more.
For the ultimate challenge, give up your bed for the night at the Oxford Big Sleepout, then take on the Oxford Half Marathon the following morning!

Important message: Aspire Oxford is committed to best practice in data protection; we are reviewing our data protection policies with new GDPR legislation coming into effect in May 2018. 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.

Aspire Oxford is an employment charity and social enterprise creating real work placements, training and employment opportunities for people who face multiple barriers to getting into work. Aspire provides the Oxford City Community Transport service reducing isolation for elderly residents, and supports young people NEET into and towards employment.


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