In the heart of the vibrant centre on Cowley Road – which is by the way the best place where you can find charity shops next to one another (ok, second best if you take Headington into account)– there is a good old Oxfam charity shop. A lovely meeting with the shop manager Nikoletsa (on the picture with Francesca, volunteer [left]) offered some interesting details about giving a second life to toys, children’s’ books and clothes!
There is no hazard! In 1943 when Oxfam’s adventure began the aim was to support the Greek population during World War II “when the shopmanager where I worked as a volunteer told me this, it became very special to me, I couldn’t imagine to work for any other charity…” tells Nikoletsa, who is herself Greek. She loves working here and underlines that she never looks at her watch whilst she is managing her volunteer-team and the Cowley Road shop.
A spot for second hand children’s stuff
Mother herself, Nikoletsa admits “I try to keep the children’s area stocked up and encourage to donate things. I know how important it is to find affordable things which are also in good quality. And for us at Oxfam we always remember that one or two pounds maybe seem to be not much here, but are hugely important in countries we support, like for example South Soudan.” Continue Reading
During the last 70 years the world around birth has definitely changed: mothers are encouraged to eat and drink during labour, fathers are allowed and even expected to attend the birth, mothers can breastfeed confidently in public, parents are advised to choose their birthplace carefully…
Thanks also to the campaigns, contri-butions and engagements by the National Childbirth Trust, better known under the name NCT, these facts are now established. Set up 1957, the charity counts today 5,000 volunteers and more than 100,000 members in 320 local branches.
NCT’s main idea: Support for new parents on your doorstep for the first 1,000 days – which means from conception to the second birthday of your child.
What does NCT offer in Oxford? Different courses and activities are set up by the local branch: ante-and postnatal courses, a group about home birth support, Baby cafés (Breastfeeding support), First Aid courses, Bumps & Babies group, Speed Bump and Coffee groups. NCT Oxford offers also a hire service for Valley Cushions (to help mothers who have difficulties to sit after giving birth).
What are Bumps & Babies, Speed Bumps and Coffee Morning groups? One of the main aims of NCT is to offer places where parents-to-be and young parents can meet one another. There is nothing worse than to stay alone with this new and often overwhelming experience of expecting or having a baby.
- Coffee Mornings come off twice a month at a volunteer’s home. It’s a friendly and informal meeting between parents! Drop in whenever you can make it with your baby from 10am to noon. Need to talk about bad nights, want to have some good advice about weaning or just happy to have a chat with other parents – this is the right place to be! There’re two Coffee Morning Groups in Oxford: one South/East Oxford, another in West Oxford.
Contact: email@example.com (Sarah)
- Bumps & Babies takes place every Tuesday from 10.30am until noon at Wesley Memorial Church (New Inn Hall Street – OX1 2DH). Pregnant or with a tiny one (up to walking age), you are more than welcome! In a pleasant atmosphere there’re some toys for the babies and refreshments for the adults!
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Hannah)
- Speed Bumps is a social event for parents-to-be, in the spirit of “speed dating” but simply for couples who are expecting a baby. Keep your eyes and ears open, the local NCT Team do their best to set up the next one in the summer of this year!
Contact: email@example.com (Sarah)
Do I need to have a membership? Continue Reading
Autre pays, autres mœurs! Et c’est aussi valable pour la mode enfantine. À nouveau j’observe la « coolness » au sens propre du terme des petits Anglais qui semblent ne pas aimer les gros pulls, ni les doudounes.
Est-ce pour défier les nuages qui s’arrêtent régulièrement au-dessus de l’île britannique (enfin, avouons-le, la France n’est pas vierge dans la matière non plus !) ou par coquetterie ? La question reste ouverte. Continue Reading
I loved it and two other mums I met there, too!
Here is my feedback with parental touch and hopefully useful observations.
A Family friendly event? Yes and no! Children up to 4-5 years will love watching the fashion shows, which are incredibly realistic. Moreover, there was a nice cake stall from Donnington Doorstep Family Centre – yummy!
You can spend an excellent moment with your kids (around 1 hour) at ReFashion–also a good opportunity to show them the Town Hall: simply stunning. The different stalls are lovely – the handcrafted things can stir their creativity, some of them are nice Birthday gifts for friends, or if they have some spare pocket-money! Finally an educational point (sic!): it’s a good place to make them aware of the impact of recycling!
For younger children and to be honest, even for me, the music is definitely too loud and, as so often, the place is overheated (which isn’t a very “green state of mind”). I would recommend a stall with some crafts for the children, so that the parents can go for a little spin.
Mums or mums to be will like this event, thanks to some baby clothes to swap (you can swap one piece of adult clothes with one for a baby), or some very nice pieces sold by the Donnington Doorstep Family Centre for only £1! Good to know: Changing facilities and pushchair access.
Don’t forget! To take clothes you don’t wear anymore from the entire family – you can swap them! It’s a fun experience and there were a lot of nice pieces especially for women. I was expecting more children clothes (from 3 years onwards)… but this depends entirely on the visitor’s donations, too! Take some money to buy some handcrafted things or clothes (very nice selection!) from Charity shops (Helen&Douglas House Vintage and British Heart Foundation).
I just saw a notice in a shop window on Cowley Road. This seems to be an amazing event, I would love to go to… hopefully the naps won’t be too long on Thursday so that I can pop in…
WHEN? Thursday 27 February, 1pm to 7pm
WHERE? Oxford Town Hall
HOW MUCH? Free
INFORMATION (thanks to http://www.oxford.gov.uk/townhallevents)
Visitors are invited to bring along their unwanted clothing and textiles where they can donate, swap, mend or upcycle them into something new. One of the highlights of the ReFashion event will be the catwalks shows, where local students and schoolchildren will be showing off their inspiring upcycled fashion items. Charity shops will also showcase their pre-loved outfits.ReFashion brings together businesses, charities, students, volunteers and community groups aims to highlight the problem of disposable fashion whilst having fun at the same time.
Twitter #refashionoxford @RecycleForOxon.