OXFAM is opening its doors next month as part of 70th anniversary celebrations.

Oxfam House, in John Smith Drive, Cowley, the headquarters for about 700 staff, is staging a free Open House event on Saturday, September 8, as part of Oxford’s Open Doors weekend.

There will be tours of the building and exhibitions showing pictures of the charity’s work around the globe.

Among them will be images captured by Sony 2011 World Photographer of the Year Alejandro Chaskielberg. Taken at night in Kenya, the photographs shine a light on some of the work carried out by Oxfam around the globe.

During the event, there will also be careers talks, and a chance to speak to staff who work in fundraising, campaigning, or supporting projects overseas. Food from around the world will be on sale in the cafe and history enthusiasts will be able to find out more about the charity’s origins.

Oxfam development manager Anna Thorne, 50 from Summertown, has worked with the charity for the past five years.

She said: “We hope hundreds come on the day to help us celebrate.

“Oxford is one of the places where we have our broadest support – everyone knows someone who has worked in one of our shops, volunteered or made a donation, and this is a great opportunity to say thank you and reflect on how our work has changed over the years.


“There are 27 areas now suffering a humanitarian crisis and stories about long-term development will be featured in films and photos.

“There will also be displays of our emergency equipment, including water tanks, tap stands and sanitation facilities.

“And experts will also be on hand to show how mobile phones are being used in positive ways.”

Friday, October 5 is the actual date of the 70th anniversary and there will be displays detailing the charity’s history over the past seven decades.

The Oxford Committee for Famine Relief was formed in October 1942, to lobby the British Government for the relaxation of the Allied blockade of occupied Europe, and to ensure vital supplies reached civilians in Belgium and Greece. The following year the committee launched Greek Week and raised £10,700 (£1.5m in today’s terms) for the Greek Red Cross.

Oxfam is now working in 55 countries on a range of projects, from providing emergency water sources to supporting community health projects.

The first Oxfam shop opened in Broad Street in 1948 and the charity now has more than 700 high street shops across the UK, selling fashion, books and music.

Earlier this month the charity was awarded the Freedom of Oxford, an honour whose recipients include Nelson Mandela and Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi.

  • Visit http://oxfam.org.uk/ooh
  • Venues taking part in Open Doors  include Ashmolean Museum; Oxford Castle; The Queen’s, Hertford and Trinity colleges (for the first time); Playhouse Theatre, Carfax Tower, the Botanic Garden, Christ Church and the Said Business School and the Mini Plant
  •  Visit http://www.oxfordopendoors.org.uk/ or call 01865 251022