The Comfort Trust
is a semi-independent initiative of the church, set up to provide support for families through a number of regular groups known as Sunflowers.
The Sunflower Groups aim to provide a welcoming space for parents and carers, and a stimulating and fun time for children ages 0-4. The sessions all have a variety of toys and play equipment, healthy snacks for children, and hot drinks and cake for the adults. Sessions are £2 per family (£1 concession), but if you are struggling financially for any reason then we would be happy to welcome you for free.
Unfortunately, we are having to pause our Thursdays Sunflowers, and Daisies baby group, but hope that this will be temporary.
The weekly sessions run during term time only. Please join the emailing list below for confirmation of term dates and 1st Saturdays.
Sunflowers Stay and Play (0-4's)
A busy group with lots of toys, space to run around, craft, a story or music time, and baby area.
10:00 - 12:00
A monthly Saturday stay and play for 0-5s, plenty of toys for the children, newspapers and refreshments, including bacon or egg butties!
1st Saturday of the month
10:00 - 12:00 in school term time
► The last Sunflowers
date of this term will be Tuesday 4th March
► 1st Saturdays
: 7th January, 4th February, 4th March
To sign up to our mailing list for updates, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
See below for background information on the Comfort Trust, registered charity (1116495
) and set-up by Magdalen Road Church.
The Comfort Trust
Serving and Supporting Families in East Oxford since 2005
Magdalen Road Church has always wanted to be at the heart of the community, to love and serve those around them, and to dedicate time and resources to supporting local families. Rather than being just a place of worship, the Church has strived to be a place where the whole community can feel welcome and served. Nearly 10 years ago, our previous pastor, Peter Comont, and church member Nicola Carpenter started to think and pray about launching a Toddlers group, given the number of young families in the community, and a growing need to provide a space of encouragement, support, and play for both parents and children.
Nicola was keen to dedicate her working week to preparing and running these sessions, but the church had no resources to pay her. The Comfort Trust charity was initially created specifically to pay and support Nicola to run these sessions. The Trust took its name from Mr. B Comfort, a leading figure at the Magdalen Road Mission Hall during the 1870s, who built a workmen’s hall on the site of current church building and appointed the first full-time pastor, Mr. Trotman. Since the charitable Trust was being established to care for the local community, and to provide a source of nurture and companionship for local families, the name felt like a perfect fit! Karen Avery, who still attends the Church, was also a founding trustee and was fundamental to the establishment of the Trust.
Funding initially came from the local council via the Network Funding Trust, which was a wonderful win-win scenario – the council was directly investing in the support of young families, parents and carers, and Nicola, supported by a raft of volunteers from the Church, was able to harness those resources to support the local community. A wider vision and aim of the Trust was specifically to serve and support more vulnerable families in East Oxford (over and above those with young families). Funding wasn’t available at the right time in order to move these projects further, but this is something we actively want to pursue in 2015 and beyond. Obtaining the Irving Building would allow us more room, resources, and facilities to further this vision, and enable us to further support those in need in our community,
Within the first couple of years almost 400 families had used the Comfort Trust sessions – Sunflowers, Buttercups, and First Saturday. The Comfort Trust has continued to run and run, and remains hugely valued by local people, both young and old – almost every time any of our Church members talk to local families, they will have used (or know about) these sessions as a time of relaxation, comfort, support, and play. We are often full to capacity during a number of these sessions, and using the additional space in the Irving Building would allow us to continue to open our doors to more and more families!
The Comfort Trust is a central part in the life of Magdalen Road Church, and is absolutely crucial in developing our core remit to open our doors to love and serve those around us. It’s been a fundamental part of our development and relationship with the local community. We would love to see The Comfort Trust continue to be a charity and structure whereby we can increasingly serve the community, particularly those in vulnerable or marginalized positions. This is something we are actively looking into at the moment, in terms of finding where we can best place our funds, time, and resources – and the Irving Building would be a fantastic location to put these plans into practice.
Church members Ruth Currie, Hazel Anderson, Phoebe Gibson-Watt and Chris Taylor form the current Trustee Board, and there’s a large and committed band of volunteers, too numerous to mention, who are always ready with toys, cakes and cuppas to help make your week that little bit easier!
The Comfort Trust is a registered charity (1116495
) set up by Magdalen Road Church.