Donna is delighted to be involved with a number of charities which are important to her; supporting maternal and neonatal wellbeing, social inclusion and excellence in end of life care at home. Below is a summary of both up and coming and previous events she has actively participated in.
Chichester’s community coat rack appeal has returned to the city this year to give a helping hand to the less fortunate in our community. The coat rack is now in its fourth year and was set up by homeless charity the Four Streets Project in partnership with the Chichester Observer and Chichester City Council. Anyone who has a spare coat is encouraged to donate to the coat rack so that rough sleepers are able to take from to keep warm. Donna Ockenden, who founded the Four Streets Project, called the coat rack’s return an ‘amazing piece of community initiative’. “I think last year in particular was successful beyond anything we could have wished for. The people in Chichester were incredibly generous and our volunteers had some great conversations with local families who told them how much the community coat rack meant to them. The message remains very simple: If you have a spare coat, please bring it along and hang it on the rack. If you need a coat, please take one.”
The Ockenden Cup has been presented at The Prebendal School and the recipient has expressed their thanks. ‘I was very pleased to win the Ockenden cup, thank you so much. Initially I didn’t realise it came with a cheque for £100 too!! We have raised over £4000 for CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) and we are very grateful for the massive extra donation! Thank you again on behalf of year 8’.
The annual Ockenden Award for Charitable Endeavour at the junior school of Portsmouth High School for Girls has been announced. This years winner has worked tirelessly to support Lepra and the local Chestnut Tree Children’s Hospice in West Sussex. Donations have been sent by Donna to both these charities in recognition of this work along with a beautiful 1930’s antique cup for the student.
A Chichester primary school contacted Donna Ockenden in her role as founder of the Four Streets Project in order to help prepare vital supplies for members of Chichester’s homeless community. Staff at Midhurst C of E Primary School decided it was important to shed some light on members of society who live in different circumstances. Pupils collected items such as soaps and toothbrushes to create hygiene boxes for the homeless community. Donna said “It was really heart-warming that such young children made such a lot of effort to support some of the most vulnerable people in our city. They are a credit to their school, to their families and to their communities.”
Chichester businesses, members of the public and volunteers all work together every week to help look after the homeless in the city. The support Donna Ockenden and her charity have received has helped the Four Streets Project to grow. Companies including Fenwick’s Cafe in Priory Park Purchases Restaurant in North Street and LA Fish in The Hornet donate food to the charity. The staff at Q Hair and Beauty in Chichester have been rallying round to help the homeless by buying essential toiletries for them. Mayor of the city, Cllr Richard Plowman said: “The Chichester community is great. When a call for help comes out from a charity like the Four Street Project there is no hesitation and local shops have stepped forward immediately so many thanks from all of us”
The Four Streets Project in Chichester has recorded an increase in the number of homeless people being fed in the city. Donna Ockenden, Founder of the Four Streets Project, said “We never miss a night. We are a 365-days-a-year service and we believe in a service based on dignity, respect and compassion.
“Our volunteers come from all walks of life but they volunteer with Four Streets because they care about the homeless and want to help bring dignity and compassion to what otherwise would be an extremely difficult existence.”
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Donna Ockenden is the Founder of Four Streets Project in Chichester and in a recent article in the Sussex Post she talks about being homeless herself and having the responsibility of her younger siblings. This experience means that Donna is especially keen to do what she can to assist those living on the streets of the city alongside a group of local volunteers.
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Chichester’s Community Coat Rack has its final day for this winter. Donna Ockenden, the organiser, has been delighted with the success of this year’s project. It could not be done without everyone who has donated or helped out and so many people in need have benefitted from this initiative, which is in its third successful year.
Chichester residents who have had a significant effect on the city were recognised for their work at a city council ceremony. Donna Ockenden, who set up the Four Streets Project, which sees volunteers walk through the city speaking to and helping rough sleepers, was presented with an award. Receiving the award, Donna said she was ‘really pleased’ and continued with: “I think it is important to say that the award is for me personally but I consider it to be on behalf of the many volunteers who make up the Four Streets Project and of course we’d be nothing without the people we look after and care for in Chichester.”