BT staff and home-start have Christmas all wrapped up for less fortunate families in Oxford
When it comes to making the festive season special for less fortunate local families, Home-Start Oxford – the family support charity – and BT staff have got Christmas all wrapped up.
Around 50 Cowley-based BT employees have been busy filling shoe boxes with a variety of goodies to donate to some of the vulnerable families being supported by Home-Start.
Karen Porter, Home-Start Oxford’s senior co-ordinator, said: “Last year our families were thrilled with the shoe boxes of gifts provided by BT staff, so we’re delighted the scheme is being repeated.
“It is a tough time of year for many local families so the kindness of our friends at BT means a lot.
“Despite its grand university buildings, some parts of the City of Oxford are among the most deprived in the United Kingdom. Of 85 areas in Oxford, 12 are among the 20 per cent most deprived areas in England, and 45 per cent of children living in Blackbird Leys, where Home-Start are based, live in poverty. It is becoming increasingly difficult for families to cope, but BT and Home-Start are determined that Christmas will be a happy time of year for all.”
The shoe boxes are being filled with everything from school stationery to items of clothing, and then wrapped up ready to be delivered between now and Christmas.
Carol Winstone, BT general manager for IT services in Cowley, said: “Our teams have been busy collecting items for shoe boxes and generally getting involved in wrapping and packing since the start of November. We’ve also had competitions for the best shoe boxes, to add to the excitement and to encourage everyone to fill as many shoe boxes as possible.
“I’m really proud of the enthusiastic way our teams have joined in to help such a fantastic cause and hopefully this will result in us beating last year’s total.”
Home-Start train and supervise volunteers who provide emotional and practical support to vulnerable families with children under the age of five. They use an informal befriending approach, and peer-reviewed research into suggests that families continue to benefit from Home-Start support even three years after support ends (Hermanns et al, 2013). Data shows that 87 per cent of Home-Start Oxford’s families report an improvement in managing their child’s behaviour.