FOR the past three months the Gatehouse’s community drop-in centre on Woodstock Road in Oxford has remained eerily quiet.

Until its closure in late March, Oxford’s homeless and vulnerably housed Guests would gather daily for the free café and community spirit.

Now a takeaway food service for rough sleepers has started up again at the centre, which will run alongside the delivery service and remote one-to-one support service.

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Project director Kat Horne said: “Like many charities, the Gatehouse has had to completely reinvent itself to cope with the Covid-19 crisis, and to continue providing essential services to the homeless and vulnerably housed.

"When we announced the temporary closure of our centre and a reduced range of services the intention was always to open up again as soon as circumstances allowed and we could ensure that the risk to everybody involved was minimal.”


“Thanks to newly sourced PPE provision and to Wallingford School, who have provided us with some wonderful reusable visors, we can now provide even better protection and further reduce the risk of virus transmission between staff, volunteers, and guests.”

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During the Covid-19 crisis the Gatehouse has continued to provide a range of services to the homeless community off-site. The dedicated team of one-to-one workers has remained in contact with guests online and by telephone, providing them with emotional and practical support and information. Staff have also delivered the equivalent of over 1,000 meals to vulnerably housed guests through weekly parcels of food and other essential items.

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The Gatehouse’s Covid-19 Emergency Appeal has now raised around half of the £10,000 target required to fund these activities and to pay for regular bills such as hall rental and insurance still being incurred.

Most regular avenues for fundraising are currently closed to charities, so community support is more important than ever.

Details of the Gatehouse Covid-19 Emergency Appeal JustGiving page, plus other ways that you can donate, can be found on the Gatehouse website: