Oakes raise OVER £400 for charity Winter Comfort
A MASSIVE thank you to all of the staff and students who supported our first ever Oakes Charity Winter Ball, this term.
Why Winter Comfort?
The Student Council were really moved by the unfortunate rise in homelessness in our city and wanted to help do something about it. They chose to work with local charity Winter Comfort to try and raise some funds to go towards the many great services that this fantastic charity offer.
When speaking with Melody Brooker, the charity’s fundraising and communications manager, she told me that one of the charity’s key focuses is to “empower people to rebuild their lives beyond homelessness and to achieve their potential.” She went on to inform me that “Winter Comfort is open every day of the year and provides vital drop-in services for people sleeping on the streets.”
We learnt that, at Overstream House, they have showers, laundry services, meals and clothing, as well as offering a range of support services such as counselling, help accessing training, work experience, paid employment, and a range of advice facilities. The charity also have a dedicated women’s service for those who have experienced domestic or sexual violence, helping individuals to look towards a brighter future. But unfortunately, all of this comes at a cost and that cost is rising.
I was sad to hear from Melody that they are experiencing a continuing sharp increase in the number of people accessing their services at present and that if trends continue, they predict that they will “work with over 700 individuals who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Cambridge during this current financial year”, she went on to say that this is “an increase of over 50% above the number of people they supported just two years ago.” Therefore, donations from the local community are more important than ever.
Melody and her team were so grateful when they heard that we had managed to raise over £400 for them with our event and said “Wow! That’s amazing! Thank you so much to everyone involved for your hard work and support. These funds will be used to support our core services, working with rough sleepers at the centre.”
The event itself was a fun-filled festive evening of quizzing, dancing, winning a plethora of amazing raffle prizes, karaoke and most importantly the community spirit and joy that filled our common room was overwhelming.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank many local businesses for supporting our event by donating prizes, such as Jenna and Kate at Heartmade Interiors for providing a beautiful hamper, Lucy and Frankie from Gin House Flowers for donating the stunning flowers for the tables, Rose from The Cambridge Arts Theatre for the pantomime tickets, and to all of the local companies that provided vouchers including Clip’n’Climb, Cambridge Ice Arena, Emma Wallace Reflexology, Parkside Pools, BagelBox, Oakes Café and to all of the staff that donated multiple prizes too. To my mum for making some delicious tiffin, Mrs Pereira for her infamous Viennese biscuits. And not forgetting our wonderful staff, Ms Vollaro, Miss Kosinka, Miss Forrest, Ms Becker, Miss Noakes, Mr Fraser, Mr Syposz, Mr Watkins, Mr Parry, Miss Anna and Mrs Rae for giving up their Friday evening to help us set up, supervise and ensure that the evening ran smoothly.
Teamwork makes the dream work!
Back in early September, the Student Council had a vision for a Winter Ball, and I am so proud of their dedication and commitment to achieving this.
Special thanks in particular go to Harry and Katie for supporting me with the planning and for sourcing a range of raffle prizes (Katie sent a lot of emails!)
Happy Hamper Winners!
Congratulations to team ‘Ginger and Co’ for winning the festive hamper on the night! The quiz ended in a tie with team ‘The Girlies and Harry’ but these guys managed to clinch the prize by winning a sing-off and then receiving the loudest cheers! We never knew Eva was so competitive!!
The success of this event is really down to community being at the heart of our college. Well done to all involved!
Article written by Emma Hayward, Deputy Director of The Oakes College Cambridge