The recent opening of the new Westgate Centre in Oxford has led to NEXT, one of our tenants, vacating their premises. We needed to take steps to make the premises secure and this has involved closing an access doorway to the building, in which previously some rough sleeping occurred. This entrance leads to a basement in which extensive, structural investigation work is taking place as part of planned redevelopment of the property.
The College’s actions are not directed at the homeless. Our primary duty is to ensure the health and safety of the public and College staff. As part of the wider Oxford city community, we will always act in a manner which considers those less fortunate than ourselves. Colleagues and students in Jesus College have been undertaking charitable work with the homeless for some time and we have recently agreed that we will seek to extend the College’s involvement in this work. Specifically, our Director of Accommodation has been working with a local church providing supplies and services to assist rough sleepers during the winter months. In addition, the College Governing Body has approved a substantial contribution to the work of a local charity, which will continue to provide at least ten beds with breakfast every night for the homeless rough sleepers between January and March.