Aspire have partnered with Oxford Gatehouse to launch a weekly Women's Hub, offering a space for local women to access personalised support around wellbeing, employment, precarious housing and homelessness.

From 14th October 2021, the hub will offer weekly ‘tea and chat’ sessions, opportunities to access 1:1 support with visiting services, workshops on mental, physical and sexual health, budgeting, housing support and cookery, and signposting to additional Aspire and external services as appropriate.

The hub will open from 11am to 1pm on Thursdays at The Gatehouse (St Giles Parish Rooms, 10 Woodstock Road).

The hub will serve as a welcoming space for women to meet new people, find friendly faces and common ground with others, and access tailored support through Aspire’s 'Through The Prison Gate' project. This provides specialist employment and community reintegration support for ex-offenders across Oxfordshire and the wider Thames Valley.

Women will also be able to drop-in to access Aspire's wider support services, guidance from visiting services and attend workshops. The hub’s launch and subsequent operation has been made possible through funding from Oxford City Council, Sir Robert McAlpine, and collaboration with The Gatehouse and Oxfordshire’s independent Lived Experience Advisory Forum (LEAF).

Christine Rolls, Aspire Oxford’s ‘Through the Prison Gate’ project lead, said:

"It's important to have a safe space for women to visit for support - especially for women with offending histories, as this particular provision has not been made available in Oxford previously, so we’re very pleased to be able to introduce the women’s hub this year. We hope the hub will develop into a great meeting place, with in-house guidance tailored to and informed by the needs of the women who visit us going forward."

Councillor Diko Blackings, Oxford City Council cabinet member for affordable housing, housing security and housing the homeless, said

"We are happy to be making a financial contribution to the women’s hub, which will provide a new and vital resource in helping us prevent homelessness in Oxford. We know that women who are at risk of homelessness have different needs and experiences than men do - for example, homelessness for women is often linked to domestic abuse and other forms of trauma. Aspire and The Gatehouse will provide a safe space where women can get the personalised support they need to prevent homelessness and rebuild their lives, and this is absolutely necessary."