Local Charity

Oxford Castle Unlocked's local charities are  Helen & Douglas House and Oxford Preservation Trust.

Helen & Douglas House

Helen House was the world's first ever children's hospice, opening in November 1982. It sprang from a friendship between Sister Frances Dominica and the parents of a seriously ill little girl called Helen who lived at home with her family but required 24 hour care.Helen's family's experience highlighted the need for respite care and support for children with life-shortening conditions and so Helen House was set up to help families cope by providing occasional respite care modelled on that provided in the family home - personalised and tailored to individual needs.

The building was based on the family home with just eight children's bedrooms, as the small scale provides flexibility, as well as affording the children and families who stay there sensitivity and dignity. The emphasis is on making the most of life, whatever the circumstances. With improvements in medical care, children and young adults with life-shortening conditions are in some instances living longer than ever before. A children's hospice environment is unlikely to be suitable for someone who is 16 or over, but neither is an adult hospice, which is why Douglas House, the world's first hospice specifically for young adults, was opened in February 2004.

Douglas House provides a young person with the time to do the things they like to do with the support of the nursing and care team. Visit the Helen & Douglas website to find out more. Anyone wishing to make a donation may do so by visiting the charity's website or through the collecting tins at Oxford Castle Unlocked.

Oxford Preservation Trust

Oxford Preservation Trust is committed to ensuring a positive future for Oxford, preserving and enhancing the City's historic character and green setting, whilst recognising the needs of the 21st century city. Founded in 1926, the Trust was one of the first local amenity societies in England, and is now one of the Country's largest, with over 1000 members. The Trust owns over 800 acres of land in and around the City. It encourages an active interest in it, manages it in an environmentally sensitive way and gives public access wherever possible.


National Charity

Oxford Castle Unlocked, as part of Continuum Leading Attractions, has chosen the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust as its National Charity of the Year. Through a range of personal development programmes run across the country, every one of the disadvantaged young people that the trust helps receives mentoring and support from a world class athlete. 

Since the Trust was founded in 2008, it has reached over 170,000 young people across the country. 70% of young people on the flagship programme Get On Track were in employment, education or training by the time they completed. Find out more about the work of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust by clicking here.