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Aspire's Christmas 2018 Newsletter
We are delighted to write to you ahead of the Christmas break, to share with you the exceptional work we're doing at Aspire this winter and beyond to tackle homelessness, re-offending, poverty and disadvantage through social enterprise employment.

This newsletter is packed full of updates on our high impact projects and we're very excited about what is in store for 2019. From our first ever housing project & employment support to rough sleepers in a new city centre hub, through to expanding services into Buckinghamshire and launching a new website to showcase our life-changing work, these are truly exciting times for Aspire! Thank you for being part of our journey. 

We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with best wishes from the Aspire team.
Employment & Development Worker Boo in the new hub for rough sleepers in Oxford city centre

Aspire's Trailblazer project -
A new approach to tackling the homeless crisis
The Trailblazer Team; Barry, Paul, Jessica, Barry, Fran, Greg and Nina

Earlier in 2018 we were thrilled to become part of a new multi-agency homelessness prevention project known as “Trailblazer.” Trailblazer is a brand new service working across Oxfordshire to provide early intervention advice and support for anyone at risk of homelessness, funded by a new government programme. Aspire is providing a team of “Community Navigators” who will work across Oxfordshire to reach people at the earliest warning signs of homelessness, before crisis point is reached. The team will offer brokerage advice and support on issues around tenancies, family breakdowns or debt, as well as access to Aspire’s wider employability support where needed. Since the program started the Trailblazer team have supported over 200 vulnerable people, giving them the help they urgently need to stay in their homes.
'No Place Like Home' Christmas Appeal 
We believe that there’s no place like home. But this Christmas, hundreds of local people are at risk of homelessness, or already sleeping rough. Your support will help us be there for local people who are at risk of becoming homeless, helping them to stay in their homes. We’ll also be able to reach more rough sleepers, giving them the housing and employment support they need to break the cycle of homelessness, for good. 

Here's how people can get involved:
  • Make a donation£18 could provide a hot drink and support session for a rough sleeper
  • Organise a fundraising event in support of our Christmas Appeal
You can find out more about the appeal and make an online donation here

Fran’s Story
 
Two years ago, Fran was homeless. Now she's part of our Trailblazer team, protecting others from becoming homeless. This is her story:
                         
Fran became homeless when she was 26 years old following a relationship breakdown. She had lost her job due to mental health issues and was becoming increasingly unwell and isolated. Fran was supported through the homeless pathway, was able to find independent housing and joined Aspire as a trainee in January 2017. She spent 10 months taking part in work experience at Aspire, building up her confidence, skills and training ready for employment.
 
Fran was supported to find a job at the Westgate centre to help her transition back into the world of work. She then saw that Aspire was recruiting for a new team of outreach support workers to help prevent homelessness across Oxfordshire, as part of the new Trailblazer project. Fran was determined to join the Trailblazer team and was over the moon when she was given the job!

 
Investing in enterprise - the growth of our social businesses
Aspire's enterprise businesses continue to achieve exceptional growth. Last year, 8 teams generated an incredible £454,000 for Aspire, with the profit invested back into our charitable work.

Our enterprises don't just offer class-leading grounds and property maintenance services - they also provide our clients with life-changing work experience. We refurbish community centres and churchyards and help our homeless clients move into their first homes. This is truly working to change lives.


For the first time, we have launched a new social investment opportunity to continue the significant growth of our enterprise businesses. 2019 is set to be a very exciting year!



 
Aspire supports new hub to help reduce rough sleeping in Oxford
We are delighted to help tackle rough sleeping this winter by playing our part in a new multi-agency service hub at New Road Baptist Church. The hub will be able to offer rough sleepers a wide range of support services including specialist employment support from Aspire.
 
Aspire have been involved with this project from the beginning, and our enterprise businesses painted and decorated the hub to get it ready for use. Aspire staff and trainees ensured the hub was ready to open its doors in September by decorating the reception area, hallway and office, and putting in new furniture.




Aspire Enterprise staff and a trainee outside the church 
Inclusive recruitment in action
Aspire has continued to work with employers to promote inclusive recruitment, and help disadvantaged local people to find employment. Lucy Townsend (HR Manager at the University of Oxford Department of Engineering Science) shares her experiences of engaging with Aspire:
 
“I attended an Aspire workshop on inclusive recruitment in January and found their work and passion really inspiring. Following this I organised a bespoke workshop for the Department’s HR team to support our own recruitment practices.
 
We now actively think about each recruitment and whether it may be suitable for an Aspire placement. We had a need for some additional temporary admin support in the HR team. Aspire understood our needs and were able to provide a candidate called Manuela with an interest in HR. The Aspire staff are there to provide support with any issues but Manuela was a dedicated, hardworking, friendly person and it was a delight having her in the team. 
 
It is a great way of reaching people who would not consider looking at the university for employment as well as being able to support people back into employment and longer-term careers.”
 
Working to change lives: our Social Impact in 2017-18
We are delighted to be able to share with you our new Social Impact Report for 2017-18, which captures the exceptional social outcomes we have been able to achieve and highlights the remarkable growth across every aspect of our organisation. Some of the key outcomes include:
 
1,478 disadvantaged people have been supported by Aspire
4,338 real working days were completed by our trainees
24% of our trainees were supported into paid employment
93% of Aspire trainees maintained their recovery from substance misuse
99% of our trainees with an offending history did not re-offend
154 isolated older people accessed our community transport bus service
 
For more about our market leading social impact you can download the full report here

We’d like to say congratulations to our amazing clients:
Nephat who has completed a customer service course and gained employment at the Kings Centre
 
Jack who has got a job in waste management
 
Fran who is now a Community Navigator with the Trailblazer Team
 
Clive who is now a Fundraising & Communications Officer at Aspire
 
Rhia who has been accepted into EMBS to study for her English GCSE
 
Chris who has completed his CSCS qualification
 
Dave who has been employed as a contractor
 
Alex who has just secured his first ever job working full time with Oxford City Council as a Civil Enforcement Officer
 
Keith who has been offered full time employment with the NHS in Oxford
 
Barry who has had 6 of his paintings and 2 poems displayed on the wall of Oxford Job Centre. Barry has also been filmed for a video to be shown to local Job Centre Managers regarding working with clients with health issues.

 








Thank you!
John Lewis ‘Community Matters’ Scheme
A big thank you to the John Lewis Store in the Westgate Centre who have selected Aspire as one of the three charities they will support through their ‘Community Matters’ scheme.

New College Thanksgiving Charity Dinner
The students at New College dedicated their yearly charity formal Thanksgiving dinner to Aspire this year, with proceeds from the event being donated to our efforts to tackle homelessness. A huge thanks to everyone who attended, and a particular thank you to the RAG Co-ordinator Stephanie for nominating us!

Bike Oxford
Thank you to everyone who completed the Bike Oxford event in May 2018. A total of seven cyclists completed over 500 miles for Aspire, with more than £2,000 raised by the team!




Newcore Kayak Marathon event raises over £30,000 for Aspire
The kayak marathon in September saw over 20 teams from a wide range of companies take to the waters alongside relay teams from both Aspire and from Cooper School in Bicester.  Each team paddled an incredible 26.2 miles from Banbury to Oxford. This is equivalent to kayaking across the Channel with the addition of 17 locks to negotiate along the way!
Hugo Llewelyn, Managing Director of Newcore Capital Management, says: “We are really pleased to be supporting Aspire over the next two years, with the funds in particular helping them to provide educational, mental health and well-being and physical fitness benefits to those they support.”



 
Paul Roberts’ Scottish Cycle Challenge
In September our CEO Paul Roberts embarked upon his biggest personal challenge event yet by cycling the length of Scotland! Paul cycled the 'Lang Way Doon' by taking the 325 mile route from Tongue to Coldstream over 4 days, raising over £900 for Aspire in the process. Well done Paul!


 

Oxford Half Marathon
The annual Oxford Half Marathon event took place on Sunday 7th October. Aspire had our biggest ever team of 15 runners taking part on the day, including our very own Jessica! (pictured right)  So far over £3,000 has been raised by our amazing team!
                                                                   

 
Get Involved
We simply couldn’t achieve our social mission without your support. Whether you follow us on social media, fundraise, donate or encourage your business, club or school to partner with us – you really are transforming local lives, for good. Here’s some ways you can get involved:
 
Make a donation
Aspire are doing more than ever before to tackle homelessness, re-offending, poverty and disadvantage. Your donations will help us reach more vulnerable people, providing them with the skills, confidence, work experience and training they need to transform their lives – for good.
 
Volunteer for us
Our Community Transport service is a lifeline for vulnerable elderly people who can't access public transport. We are looking for volunteer drivers to help us reach more people in need of support. To find out more please call 01865 819995.
 
Become a Friend of Aspire
Do you want to be part of our journey? Our Friends are remarkable people who give to Aspire on a regular basis, enabling us to plan for the future and extend our social impact to reach even more disadvantaged people. Membership starts from just £25 per year and we will send you newsletters, event invitations, our social impact report and much more. Find out how to become a
Friend of Aspire today!


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

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