Season's greetings from Aspire!

As the year comes to an end, we would love to say a huge THANK YOU to all of the supporters who have - and continue to - enable us to Go Forward Together.

With you at our side, to date we have raised over £200,000 - and generous match-funding in place until the end of December means the funds generated through our appeal will have DOUBLE the impact for our work, supporting more people in Oxfordshire into independence, financial and housing security during these challenging times.

Read on to find out what we've been up to this winter - we wish you all the best for 2023!

You may remember hearing about Charlie last month, when he was chosen as one of the final ten acts of the Oxfordshire Youth Awards to perform at the New Theatre in Oxford, following a nomination by his Unlocking Potential support worker Debbie for his music and song-writing.

"Aspire have helped me beyond words. Before I was working with them I didn’t even have a documented birth certificate or a national insurance number. I spent two weeks living rough in a tent - and Aspire worked with the council to help me secure emergency accommodation. With their help, I was able to organise photo ID, a bank account and access Universal Credit, and I now have two jobs! Aspire also supported me to buy a bike and some safety boots for work. None of this would’ve been possible or accessible without the help of Aspire."

A snapshot of how YOU have helped us so far...

Since the start of our appeal - and the increase in cost of living and energy prices - we have provided over £20,000 of funding to the people we support, to cover personal and housing items, food, travel and much more. 

We have also been able to expand Housing Opportunities Made Easy, the Social Lettings project operated by Aspire, to match private landlords with tenants on a low income. As part of this project, tenants are encouraged to live independently and work on managing their own tenancies and financial responsibilities whilst paying a genuinely affordable rent, with light support from Aspire as needed.

We have rolled the project out to include more local landlords, refurbishing long-term empty properties to become homes again, and have DOUBLED the size of the project with an additional 3 properties acquired during this season, and a wider support team. HOME now houses 24 people who would otherwise be facing the real risk of homelessness, with an additional 8 people housed as part of an extended emergency project for winter by January 2023.

Your support means we have also been able to introduce a series of interventions to tackle fuel poverty, following our summer retrofitting feasibility study. These include providing access to energy efficiency, fuel poverty and debt advice training for our team members and the people they support, and developing and sharing energy-saving resources and guidance.  The training is complemented by an energy fund to ensure the people we support have access to financial support unique where needed.

Some of our highlights from 2022...