What Comes Next?
Published on September 17, 2021 by Felix J Levay

Dear friend of OMA, 

We’re writing to give you an important update and celebrate a milestone.

It’s just over a year since OMA incorporated. This time last year, we had already realized that the crisis among Oxford’s more vulnerable communities was not going to stop when lockdown ended. 

With your help, we have delivered over 10,000 food parcels, and over 20,000 meals. We have also worked hard to build an organisation that will keep operating for as long as it is needed.

Our donors make this possible. While we have received grants, the vast majority of our budget comes from hundreds of small donations. Each £5 a month adds up, so please encourage your friends, family and colleagues to donate!

What Have We Been Doing?

Currently, our figures are:

  • Regular food, baby and other essential supplies parcel support to 286 households, going to 529 adults, 278 children, and  85 babies

  • Over the past month, we processed 285 emergency parcel requests, which went to 532 adults, 137 children, and 85 babies.

  • Over 400 Kitchen Collective meals a week, going to at least 81 households

  • A further 50 parcels to clients of St. Mungo’s and residents at the YHA

  • Regular food support to local community groups, charities and larders including Syrian Sisters, South Asian Women’s Voice, St. Mungo’s, the Porch, the Gatehouse, Food for Charities, Botley Larder, AGE UK, Dementia Oxfordshire and Florence Park Community Centre

  • In total OMA provides support to over 2,000 people every week, which is over 1% of Oxford’s population!

What Next?

Right now, we’re reflecting on what we’ve learned over the last year and a half. There are always improvements to be made, and we want to be ready for whatever the Winter brings.

Since OMA was founded, the need for emergency support in Oxford has been growing steadily. Whatever happens in terms of Covid-19, some issues aren’t going away. Oxford is a rich city, but it also contains some of the most deprived areas in the UK. 

One thing we want to talk more about in the coming months is the idea of the right to food. While a national response would require new laws to be passed, individual towns and cities can and have had an important role to play. 

We know that levels of food poverty are going to rise this Winter. A number of factors have combined to guarantee a difficult road ahead. 

We are facing an HGV driver shortage, rising wheat prices, farm labour shortages, and other Brexit related supply chain issues. In addition, there will be the inevitable increase in Covid-19 cases over the Winter, the long-term effects of the end of the furlough scheme, and, of course, the impact of any cuts to Universal Credit. 

We think that by sharing some of our experiences and statistics, we can help explain why a right to food is so important in a city like Oxford. 

OMA is determined to continue to support those who can’t find help anywhere else, but organisations like ours are not a permanent solution to the underlying problems facing our friends, family, and neighbours.

 Annual Report

Over the next few months, we are going to produce an annual report. You can track most of our spending directly on Open Collective, but we have more information to share than can fit in these updates. 

There are a lot of things we’re excited to show you, including:

How we spend money

We are a very cost-effective organisation, thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, staff, and partners. Working together we have managed to bring costs down considerably, and we want to be as transparent as possible about how we spend your donations.

Our statistics

We have important data to share about food poverty in Oxford. We can also show that eliminating means-testing has not led to a ‘culture of dependency’, as is so often argued in the UK. On the contrary, our data shows that people use our emergency food parcels as a way to support themselves until they can find a more permanent solution. 

Of course, all data will be fully anonymized - as ever, we will never share anyone’s personal information without their express permission. 

Our volunteers and partners

OMA has hundreds of volunteers, with all sorts of skills and experience. We also rely on a network of fantastic organisations in and around Oxford. We want to highlight the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, both in OMA and in the groups we work with. 

We will share the annual report here when it's finished, and we'll also make it available on our website. 

Many thanks,

The OMA Team