Team Oxford


Home-Start Oxford

‘Everything about Home-Start Oxford was helpful. The relationship the volunteer had with my son, the way she listened to me, gave me a break and a shoulder to cry on. She gave us both so much support and encouragement at a time when I felt everything was falling apart. I don’t know how we would have got through things without her.’ Supported Mum

What do we do?

Set up in April 1988, Home-Start Oxford, a small local charity based in Blackbird Leys, aims to give children the best possible start in life.

Bringing up young children can be hard at the best of times, much more so when families face challenges such as postnatal and other depression, social isolation, disability, poverty, debt, multiple birth, emerging from abusive relationships – some of the reasons families turn to us.

We recruit and train volunteers, mostly parents themselves, who make weekly visits to a family in their home. We focus on families with children under 5, offering early help so that it can have a lasting impact. Often introduced by a health visitor or social worker, each family chooses help from Home-Start – it is never imposed.

Key Facts

• Home-Start Oxford has supported 180 families and over 400 children in central Oxfordshire over the last 3 years.

• This is the tip of the iceberg – referers say over 300 families need our help each year.

• We are a team of 7 part-time staff, 30 volunteers and 7 trustees. We have to raise all the £100,000+ needed for our service each year.

It costs less than £30 per week to provide volunteer support to a family for as long as it is needed.

One in two children live in poverty in Oxford’s most deprived areas.

• Ten Oxford neighbourhoods are within the 20% most deprived in England, and Oxford is the least affordable city in the UK.

• There was a 50% increase in children on child protection plans in Oxfordshire from 2011-14, compared to 9% nationally.

• 9 out of 10 Home-Start families who were struggling to manage their children’s behaviour reported improvement by the end of our visits.

• A 2012 study found that parents and children were still benefitting 3 years after their Home-Start volunteer’s visits ended.


Meet the Team Oxford Committee:

DSCF6787Charlotte Beatson

I am a trustee of Home-Start Oxford and delighted that the charity has been chosen to benefit from the Oxford and Cambridge Note Race. It is a great opportunity to bring together the talent, dedication and enthusiasm of Oxford’s music community with a charity that offers support and friendship to the most vulnerable families in Oxford through its dedicated volunteers. I gave up playing the clarinet when I left school and cannot claim any musical talent but it is a joy to be living in a City with such a thriving musical community providing, as it does, enjoyment and inspiration for us all.

Katharine BarberKatharine Barber

I lead the staff team of Home-Start Oxford – the charity that is delighted to be benefitting from Grade-1-athon in Oxford. To my great shame playing music is not my forte (enthusiastic singer in the shower!) but I’ve been absolutely wowed by the drive and ingenuity of the Cambridge committee, and we’ll be giving it our all to engage a show-stopping team of musicians for this first event in Oxford. Come on Oxford – let’s put the veterans in the shade and pull off a storming fundraiser this summer!

Megan HooperMegan Hooper

I am the Local Representative for Trinity College London music exams held in this county and will be adding administrative support for the actual exams taken by the participants in this fundraising event. I am a keen singer belonging to a number of groups in this musical city and have also done enough music teaching to appreciate the difficulties involved as each instrument presents its own technical challenges even at Grade One. But what an amazing way to raise much needed funds for such a worthwhile local charity.

Zorana KrcunovicZorana Krcunovic

I’m an MA student doing Music at Oxford Brookes, and got involved with the Note Race through my work experience at the Oxfordshire County Council Music Department. I’m very interested in arts management, events and administration, so being involved in such an event is a great chance for me to learn the necessary skills for my future career. The Note Race has been a success in its previous years and has shown great results with the amount it has managed to raise for its chosen charities. It is inspiring to see something like music, once again bring people together for a worthy cause and I’m grateful to be able to take part in the experience.

Sarah Wood

I am a trustee of Home-Start Oxford, and thrilled that the charity has been chosen to benefit from the Oxford and Cambridge Note Race. It is a wonderful community event, bringing together Oxford musicians from the town and the universities, while helping a very worthwhile local charity which helps vulnerable children and families. I love the diversity of music we have in Oxford, and am part of a wonderful community choir, Jericho Singers. My other personal experience as a musician was to take the equivalent of Grade One piano long ago in France when I was pretty house-bound with 3 little children, two of whom were infant twins. The exam was scary, but I was so proud of myself for taking on the challenge – which I passed!

Finn Nugent

I am a volunteer for the Oxford team (although originally from the Cambridge area) after being enthused by the combination of music and charitable donations. After only recently being introduced to Home-Start Oxford I was immediately drawn by the ability of the charity to plug a necessary gap for the families in the Oxford area that may be struggling. My saxophone and drums may have only had few outings of late, but I am always amazed by the ability of music to bring a different positive side out of people. This Grade-1-athon seemed a superb way of combining a positive impact for the Oxford area alongside pushing the Oxford music scene to its limits to learn a new instrument. In this race I can see Cambridge staying ‘sharp’ but Oxford are always tough to ‘beat’!

Alison Scott

Music brings such pleasure to people, crossing all divides, with musicians the talented magicians who achieve this for us. I love the concept of the Grade-1-athon, and am delighted both that it has come to Oxford and that Home-Start Oxford has been selected as the charity it is supporting. It is already drawing people together, and many interesting stories are coming out of it. As Chair of the Board of Trustees of Home-Start Oxford, I am whole-heartedly behind it, and proud to be associated with it.

David Callicott

Alex TesterAlex Tester

I have been Director of Music at St Edward’s Oxford for eight years, and have had a great time conducting choirs, orchestras, working on musicals, playing jazz piano and generally enthusing students about music of all sorts. I am very much looking forward to doing something far more silly, in learning grade 1 oboe. Pleased with my first attempts to get single notes out, I am a little dispirited to find that my longer lyrical lines sound like a rather sickly duck. But unperturbed, I am continuing. St Edward’s is very proud to be hosting the group lessons and the Trinity London exams in its brand new music school, opened in March of this year, and hopes Oxford can gather together to raise a huge amount of money for Home-Start Oxford.

Steph Pirrie

I am a trumpet player, choir leader and singing teacher from Jericho in Oxford and I am delighted to be in Team Oxford for the  Grade-1-athon challenge. My mum has been a volunteer for Home-Start so I know first-hand what a difference their volunteers make to people’s lives. It’s also an opportunity to come together with fellow musicians from the city have fun and face a new musical challenge. I am looking forward to meeting some new friends and seeing what we can all achieve together, even if we have to wear ear plugs for the final concert!