It’s not every day that you get to celebrate your 30th Anniversary, but on Wednesday 10th October in the Kings Centre, Osney Mead that’s exactly what we were doing. Around 200 people gathered to look back on the past 30 years of providing support services for Oxford’s homeless and vulnerably housed community, including past and present staff, volunteers, supporters, and users of the service.
There were even two Sheriffs in town, with Richard Venables, the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, and Councillor Craig Simmons, the Sheriff of Oxford both in attendance. Councillor Linda Smith of Oxford City Council, whose responsibilities include dealing with the homelessness issue, and Councillor Gill Sanders, Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council were also present at the event.
Speakers from other organisations included Anna Suswillo from Homeless Links, who gave a presentation on the national homelessness crisis, and current attempts to solve it. A more local flavour was added by Revd Mary Gurr who talked about the crucial Oxford Winter Night Shelter scheme which helps rough sleepers survive through the most threatening weather conditions.
Trustees from the Gatehouse were on hand to speak as well, with Victoria Mort and Alan Poulter running through the highlights of the charity’s lengthy and distinguished history. Formal proceedings were brought to a close by Revd Andrew Bunch, Chairman of the Gatehouse, and fellow Trustee Rachel Parfitt, who reflected on the ongoing core values of the charity, and hopes for the future.
We would like to offer huge thanks to everybody who participated in the event, provided support, or helped to organise proceedings including:
Julia Atkinson of Oxford cake specialists Happy Cakes for her beautifully crafted mega-cake.
Sandra and Marie from Waste2Taste for their wonderful and varied array of food.
Lawrence Musicman for keeping us all entertained with his mellifluous crooning.
Tappins Coaches for providing transport for all of our Guests.
… and a massively long list of others who are too many to mention individually, but they know who they are.
Media coverage of the event: