As Oxford goes into a new lockdown local charities and community organisations are asking for volunteers to help the most vulnerable through this difficult time.
Oxford City Council and Oxford Hub have partnered on the Oxford Together project, which delivers city-wide support to people needing extra help. The programme provides help with simple tasks like food shopping or collecting prescriptions, and DBS-checked volunteers make regular social phone calls to isolated individuals. There is also a Street Champion movement empowering local people to support one another.
Although restrictions are not as tight as the spring lockdown, Oxford expects that there will be people who may need extra help at this time. Those with vulnerable health conditions or who are self-isolating may need help collecting shopping and groceries; loneliness may increase with the restrictions on social contact, although residents are reminded that those living alone can form a support bubble with one other household.
As well as the Oxford Together programme there are also a number of organisations offering significantly reduced cost or free access to food for those most in need. Volunteers are needed to help support these community and voluntary organisations to pack and deliver food supplies.
“Going into lockdown in winter is going to be a new challenge for us all. Charities and organisations did an amazing job in the spring getting the city through things, and I urge anyone who can volunteer some time with them to get involved. The Council will again provide support through the locality hubs, but we know from last time that the volunteer support makes a huge contribution to getting help to those who need it.
“Becoming a volunteer can also be a really positive experience, giving a sense of connection and achievement in these difficult times. In the spring we particularly needed volunteers in Blackbird Leys, Barton and Rose Hill, so I’d like to especially recommend anyone in those areas who is interested to get in touch.”
Councillor Marie Tidball, Cabinet Member for Supporting Local Communities
“This is an important time to get involved and help your community. Lockdown is different this time round: the weather's colder, many people's lives are busier, and days are shorter. But, by all giving a little, we can make a huge difference.
“You can become a Practical Support volunteer, get involved with your local Street Champions network or help out from home through the Phone Links Programme or admin support.”
Sara Fernandez from Oxford Hub