Our charity’s aims are “to relieve poverty and hardship among homeless and needy people living in or near the City of Oxford. This is achieved in the first place by the provision of a community drop-in centre.”
Our mission is to reduce and overcome barriers and inequalities in food, finance, social isolation, housing, health, education, employment and well-being for homeless and vulnerably housed adults. Our approach is to encourage and empower personal progress. We are responsive, inclusive, compassionate and welcoming, and offer open access to all our services. We provide support based around the individual and companionship whilst working within a broader social and economic context.
The values of the Gatehouse arise from its origins in the Christian community and these values continue to guide us in achieving our aims. We welcome staff, volunteers, benefactors and guests of all faiths and none. Though our values reflect our Christian tradition, we do not evangelize at the project as this is not part of our charitable purpose and we want to ensure that the service is inclusive for all.
The Gatehouse promotes personal growth and development across the whole organisation and we deliver our services and work alongside each other as a team with mutual respect, dignity and compassion for all. Our core values which were reviewed through a consultation in 2022 can be summed up as:
Respect, trust, safety, teamwork, personal growth, professional development, dignity, humanity, encouragement, recognition, empowerment, transparency, responsibility, compassion, gratitude and a no blame, forgiveness culture.
What makes us different
The Gatehouse was originally created by a volunteer community who, moved by the sight of the homeless on our streets, set out to create a means of supporting those most in need. Our charity provides the means by which the homeless and vulnerably housed can take their first steps towards a better future. It also provides a broad range of people a way to directly support homelessness. This can be by donating time, funds, expertise, food or practical provision.
The Gatehouse uses a guest led model where outcomes for each individual are paramount. Listening to guests, and developing what we offer in the light of what they tell us, is fundamental to the ethos of the Gatehouse. This is what allows the organisation to grow organically. It follows that access to the Gatehouse is an unconditional, simple process, and guests are welcomed with no questions asked.
There can be many barriers and inequalities faced by those who come to the Gatehouse. We seek to empower guests, providing opportunities for them to change their own lives. The longer term aim is to help people to achieve independence, so that they no longer need our support. The Gatehouse builds service provision around the whole person.
We are flexible in responding to need; and actively seek to involve those with lived experience through consultation, co-production and recruitment of staff, volunteers and trustees.
We are fortunate to have benefitted from the good will of thousands of volunteers over the years which has enabled different service areas to be volunteer-led and often coordinated by volunteers. The volunteers also work efficiently as part of a team alongside members of staff, which has strengthened the organisation’s sustainability on the front line and behind the scenes.
We are fortunate to have been able to develop and sustain a team of loyal and highly skilled staff, promoting the recruitment of people with lived experience, who include the current CEO. The Gatehouse actively supports the staff team with their wellbeing and skills development. This is through regular one-to-one supervision, group supervision, consultation meetings and training and development opportunities. The staff team are unique in that they work as part of a team alongside volunteers, as well as being coordinated by volunteers in some service areas.
So how can you sum us up?
The Gatehouse is an independent charity; it is non-judgmental, non-coercive, strengths-based and, although it has Christian origins, it does not engage in evangelization.
The Gatehouse challenges inequalities and systemic barriers by advocating for Guests until they can advocate for themselves.
The Gatehouse is good at listening, and identifying gaps in provision, and we also have a history of effectively collaborating and partnering with a broad range of different service providers.