16th April 2020
For each week of our 2020 exhibition, we selected a charity which chimed with our ethos. The charity of the week was to receive £1 of each admission fee, and would also be given an opportunity, during that week, to deliver an event to raise consciousness about their work, raise funds, or both. We describe the charities below and explain why we chose each one. We will bring you more material from these hardworking charities during the time of the exhibition, and when we open the garden in the late summer or autumn, we will be making contributions to all of them. We are impressed by the extraordinary efforts each charity is making to adapt to these extraordinary times, and we encourage you to consider a donation.
For Week 1 (17- 21 June), which coincides with Refugee Week, we selected Refugee Resource, which relieves distress, improves well-being and facilitates the integration of refugees and asylum seekers in Oxfordshire, by providing psychological, social and practical support. We wanted to work with a refugee charity because of the importance of welcome, trust and generosity to the on form ethos. We have heard from Refugee Resource that, in these Covid 19 days, counselling appointments, classes and mentoring are continuing, making a real difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people. Refugee Resource is also working with community groups to organise supplies. Donations would be particularly welcome at this difficult time.
Week 2 (24-28 June) was to be devoted to Oxfordshire Association for the Blind, a life-enhancing charity supporting children and adults who are blind or partially sighted throughout Oxfordshire. They are committed to promoting independence and opportunity and offer information, advice and support to those affected, their families and carers. A group from OAB visited on form in 2018, and this year we had plans for some members to teach sighted people about the experience of seeing through touch. We particularly wanted to work with a blind charity because of the importance we place on the sense of touch. Donations can be made here.
During Week 3 (1-5 July) AT The Bus was to be in residence. This is a new charity, offering a school-based programme of art as therapy to support the education, health and wellbeing of children and young people aged 7-18 in Oxfordshire. This therapy will take place in a purposely designed therapeutic studio space in a double-decker bus. While the charity waits for a bus to be refitted, its professionals have been working in a temporary studio space in the grounds of the Cherwell School. We wanted to work with AT the Bus because we believe in the transformative power of art and in the values of respect, fairness dignity and acceptance which are at the heart of AT The Bus’s methodology. During these Covid days, this innovative charity is helping families and schools with projects that children can do at home. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.
Finally, during Week 4 (8-12 July) we were going to hear from Climate Outreach. This is an Oxford-based charity researching some of the most central questions about climate change communication, and providing practical resources and workshops which can be accessed in all sorts of different locations. We wanted to work with Climate Outreach because of the importance of honest conversations in the move to prevent runaway climate change. Donations are welcome and can be made here.