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Help for homeless rough sleepers

Public services to help rough sleepers are open at this time of year

A number of organisations in Oxfordshire are open and ready to help rough sleepers over the holiday season.

Oxford City Council can help people who fall into homelessness over Christmas time. The local authority has emergency officers on duty on bank holidays and weekends, and services will be open during normal business hours over the coming week.

Day centres like Steppin’ Stone in East Oxford and Gatehouse in central Oxford are providing food and Christmas presents. Hostels and other supported accommodation will also be open.

“Oxford City Council is absolutely committed to doing all it can to prevent and tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. We will continue to fund and support the services that help people in this situation, over the festive season and in the years to come."

– Councillor Mike Rowley, Board member for Housing and Property Services,

The Oxford Street Population Outreach Team (SPOT) can refer rough sleepers to the day service at O'Hanlon House which will be open every day, providing lunch and other activities. The SPOT team works early in the mornings and late at night, to help people who find themselves on the street and need accommodation.

If you see someone sleeping rough you can contact SPOT to let them know by telephoning 01865 304 611, or send an email to the team on

Wherever you are in the UK you can contact the 24-hour Streetlink service on 0300 500 0914 or use their app at

Streetlink is part funded by the government and public donations. It is a way for the public to alert local authorities in England about people sleeping rough in their area.

Council to spend £900,000 on food waste recycling

Special food waste recycling containers are being delivered to homes across Oxford Credit: Oxford City Council

Oxford City Council is to spend £900,000 on promoting the recycling of food waste over the next three years. Officials are hoping to recycle up to 300 tonnes more of the material each year. The project began in April and is due to finish in March 2017. One of the measures includes distributing special containers and bins to four thousand council flats.

"We will provide all flats in Oxford with weekly food waste collections just as we have for all family houses in the city.

"Tonnes of food are sent to landfill in Oxford every year, where it creates damaging methane. Now more households will be able to recycle their discarded food, which will help the environment and produce compost and electricity."

– Councillor John Tanner, Board Member for a Cleaner, Greener Oxford


Council's finding on former mayor

The standards committee for Oxford City Council carried out an investigation earlier this year into alleged comments made by Councillor Alan Armitage while he was still mayor. They censured him and said it was "highly probable" he had made the comments to a member of an under 13s sports team.

But they did not say he had to resign. They said the remark was "inappropriate and disrespectful" and was a breach of the code of conduct he was expected to follow.

As the Lord Mayor attended the Awards Evening in his official capacity the Committee also concluded that the inappropriate remark had brought both the office of Lord Mayor and the City Council into disrepute. The Committee therefore decided that there had been a breach of paragraph 5 (you must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute) of the Code.

– Oxford City Council statement

They said they agreed with independent advice that: "there was no reason why Councillor Armitage should not continue to undertake the full range of his mayoral duties and noted that Councillor Armitage had given an indication that he would do so. The matter is now closed.”

Meeting to elect new mayor

There will a meeting today to elect a new Lord Mayor for Oxford after the previous mayor resigned. Councillor Alan Armitage resigned following the backlash over comments he allegedly made to a schoolgirl. He said he did not recall using the word "sexy" at a school prize-giving event.

But Oxford City Council said it was "highly probable" that he did. An investigation by a local government standards committee found had brought the council and the office of Lord Mayor into disrepute. He was censured, but the committee did not say he should resign as mayor.

However, Councillor Armitage later resigned, saying he did not have the full support of his councillors. There will be a meeting in the council chamber of Oxford Town Hall to elect a new mayor.