Highlights of our charitable activities

In response to staff requests, as we approach Christmas, here are some highlights of the University’s support for charities over the past year. While there is much more happening than we have space to include, this provides a glimpse into our commitment to thinking of and caring for others.


University of Oxford Small Community Grants Scheme

The Small Community Grants Scheme is one of the most important ways in which the University supports events, activities and causes in the city of Oxford.

Managed by the Public Affairs Directorate and drawing its membership from across the Divisions, Conference of Colleges and Oxford SU, the Scheme funded a total of 51 local community groups and charities in 2020/21 and has a particular focus on four areas: promoting the city’s culture and heritage; providing educational opportunities for young people; benefiting Oxford’s communities; and forging closer ties between the University and the residents of Oxford.

Some of the groups supported this past year include:

The Gatehouse – Homeless People and the Oxford Churches

The Gatehouse helps those who are homeless, vulnerably housed or on low incomes. A grant was awarded for its delivery and takeaway café services, which provided a total of 707 food parcels (equating to 5,656 meals) via the home delivery service and 1,792 meals via the takeaway café in the first quarter of 2021.

Oxford and District Mencap

Working to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families, Oxford and District Mencap received a grant to fund activities on its holidays programme for 54 guests in the summer of 2021.

Assisted Reading for Children in Oxfordshire (ARCh)

A grant enabled ARCh to train and resource two new volunteers to help improve the reading comprehension and writing of pupils at Cutteslowe Primary School and Bayards Hill Primary School in Barton.

Community events

A huge variety of community events were funded through the scheme, such as the Oxford Folk Festival, the Headington Autumn Festival and the virtual Cowley Road Carnival. Local cycling group Cyclox ran a celebration of cycling on Broad Street in September, and the Scheme also supported Oxford Presentation Trust’s Oxford Open Doors weekend, welcoming thousands of visitors into University and college buildings as well as other cultural and heritage sites around Oxford.

For further information, contact Laurence Garfield.


Saïd Business School working with Homeless Oxfordshire

Saïd Business School has a thriving partnership with local charity Homeless Oxfordshire.  Homelessness is a huge issue across the UK and sadly Oxfordshire is no different. In October 2019, the school started a three-year partnership with the charity as part of its School Social Impact, with the aim of giving back to the local community. The charity does important work not only providing safety, shelter and food in the community, but also working with individuals to support them on their journey to re-integrate into mainstream society.

Left to right: Madeline Hall, Website Manager and charity partnership co-lead; Sara Beck, Chief Operating Officer; Jonathan Reynolds, Associate Professor in Retail Marketing and Deputy Dean; Sarah Ellner, Marketing Officer and charity partnership co-lead

Their work in statistics:

  • 445 homeless people helped each year
  • 200 people a night use their accommodation
  • 75,000 meals served every single year

The school has been able to support them in a host of ways, including:

  • Professional mentoring
  • Buying laptops/tablets so their residents can access online services
  • Fundraising, eg Oxford half marathon, online raffle
  • Selling Christmas cards
  • Buying Christmas presents for their residents
  • Giving them furniture, towels and crockery that were no longer used
  • Buying t-shirts and towels
  • Hosting and catering for their AGM

Staff at the school are extremely generous in their support. They explain that they really love being able to do something practical to help the local homeless community. If you would also like to help this Christmas, you could make a donation or buy their Christmas cards or stocking fillers.

For further information, please contact Madeline Hall, Website Manager, Saïd Business School.


DPhil student prepares Christmas Eve boxes for children in need 

DPhil student Aine Rose Kelly is a Wellcome Trust Scholar in the Department of Education (Rees Centre for Research on Fostering and Education). As a care leaver, Aine wanted to mark the completion of her degree by giving back to the community, focusing on children who would be in particular need at Christmas.