What is The Porch?

The Porch is a day centre in Cowley, Oxford, open
6 days a week to the homeless and vulnerably housed, targeting 5 key areas of
support: housing, health, wellbeing, education, and employment.

The building itself is a house in a residential
area that is a “home to anyone” with a constantly lively kitchen, providing hot
food, chats and tea, all in a safe and welcoming environment.

Whilst they do provide affordable hot meals and
free drinks, it is relationships and community, as well as the provision of a
physically safe space, that are the main focus of the Porch. 

Hot meals are
provided in the kitchen at the heart of The Porch, at very affordable rates of
£1 for lunch and £1.50 for dinner, with the alternative option of doing
voluntary work instead of paying with cash.

How can you help?

Whilst a few pounds might help subsidise a meal –
a few hundred could go to the upkeep of the building and staff wages, allowing continued
relief for vulnerable people who need it.

The Porch welcomes student volunteers! With a staff
team that mostly consists of once-homeless people, there is a spirit of shared
experience that discourages hierarchy and promotes cooperation. However, it is
crucial for members to interact with the wider Oxford community, enabling
better social integration when members are back on their feet and living in the
local area.

Inside The Porch

Once they join The Porch, a person is a
“member” of the centre. As long as they adhere to the ground rules, including
maintenance of a drug and alcohol-free environment, Members can take part in
“Member’s Meetings”,
where they can have a say in the ground rules and how the
centre is run.

Inside the centre, Members
have access to a clothes store, shower and are welcome to use the address for
receiving mail.  

Being a Member of The Porch

Members can take part in a variety of volunteering activities,
such as tending to the allotment in the back garden, working in the kitchen,
and helping to make Porch Preserve.

Porch Preserve is The Porch’s very own line of homemade preserves which are sold
on to raise funds for the centre.   

Meet the Team

works at The Porch and says the kitchen at the
heart of the centre reminds her of her “granny’s home in Ireland”.

Alex, also a member of the team,
takes pride in the “professionally informal” environment of the centre, which,
as long as the ground rules are respected, is “a very free space”.