Fun Family Opera supports Balsam!

On Friday 22nd June, close to 200 people turned up to support Balsam and watch Pirates of Penzance by the wonderful Opera Anywhere in idyllic Marcham church. It was an incredible evening raising £4,300! Well done to all the organisers – spectacular evening for such a great cause!


Easter Fun!

48 adults & 56 children had a great time at our recent Easter Celebrations! Thank you to so many wonderful people who gave their time, talents and resources to make it happen:
Mothers Union provided cakes and fresh fruit
Dominos Pizzas gave us a great deal on pizzas
‘Time to Bounce’ with their bouncy castle and ride-on toys
Bright Horizons Nurseries provided 59 Easter Eggs – one for each child
All Saints Marcham youth team put on a great puppet show
Danni Grady did some wonderful face painting
Mayor Jackie Billington presented certificates to parents who finished their Parenting Course this term – and she also got stuck in with serving pizzas!
not forgetting our brilliant Team of Volunteers (led by Grace Burfitt) who got everything ready and cleared it all up afterwards.

Balsam featured on Radio Oxford!

It was fantastic to hear Balsam featured on Radio Oxford morning show on 9th April. If you click below you can listen again.

There were 2 interviews, one about 5 mins 35 seconds into the show and another 1 hour 6 seconds and 56 seconds into the show. Do listen! The interviews were with two Balsam Mums – Amanda & Bobby and college tutor Jane and Project manager – Alex. Great to hear the good news about Balsam getting known amongst Oxford people…..

Didcot Toddler and other groups for under 5's


Ladygrove Church toddler group

Wednesday 9.30 to 11am in Ladygrove Community Hall Didcot

Thursday 9.30 to 11am in Ladygrove Community Hall, Didcot

For more info visit


Didcot Baptist Church – Toddler and Baby Groups

Tuesday Toddlers – 9.30-11.15am

Wednesday Toddlers – 9.30-11.15am

Wednesday afternoon baby group birth- 18 months – 9.30-11.15am

Thursday toddlers – 9.30-11.15am

For more info visit –


The King’s Church

Friday – Coffee and Kids 0-4 years, session runs from 10-11.30am in Fleetmeadow Hall

For more info visit


Great Western Park

Tuesday – Toddler Group, 9.30-11am at the Community Hall on Greenwood Way


All Saints Chilton and St Matthew’s Harwell

Fledgelings’ toddler groups:

Monday – 9,30 to 11.30am (Harwell),

Wednesday – 9.30 to 11.30am (Chilton)

For more info visit

Contact numbers are – 01235 834256 or 07467 038734.


Balsam Family Project

Monday and Tuesday – Balsam Family College, 10 week, 2 days per week Parenting and Home Management Course and Personal Growth and Development Course – these courses are run on Mondays – 12 til 2.30pm and Tuesdays – 10 til 1.30pm at Didcot Methodist Church

Thursday – Family Day Coffee and Toddler Group held on Thursdays- 10 til 11.45am at Didcot Methodist Church, just off the Broadway opposite Boots the Chemist.

Saturday Coffee, a time to make friends and chat, held in Boswells Café, Orchard Centre Didcot.

Office Tel 01235 816353 or email

Easter Celebration

We’re excited to announce our annual Easter Celebration which will be on 7th April at Didcot Methodist Church between 2 and 4pm. There will be an Easter egg hunt for the children, crafts, face painting and bouncy castle, plus some yummy food. If you would like to join us please text Martin on 07387391148 or email

Christmas Lunches for 175 people!

The Balsam Family Project, laid on a two-course Christmas lunch for 43 families at the Didcot Civic Hall on Saturday 9th December.

Charity trustees, volunteers and staff came together to cook and serve turkey with all the trimmings to around 175 people from Didcot and the surrounding areas. Balsam also teamed up with other local charities and businesses to ensure the families they work with had a day to remember – with Secret Santa Oxfordshire handing out wrapped gifts to all and the Didcot Foodbank ensuring families went home with festive hampers. The cost of providing the hampers was an estimated £2,000-3,000. Bright Horizons Nurseries gave a book to every child.

Alex Walker, Balsam founder and Project Manager, said: “We’re so grateful to our friends at Secret Santa and Bright Horizons for their support and to Rabbits Vehicle Hire for providing much needed transport so we could get the hampers to where they were needed.
“For a charity that aims to bring families – and family members – closer together, nothing could be more rewarding than looking out on a sea of happy faces and watching people enjoy being with and around loved ones at Christmas time.
“We believe in the value of every adult and child and seek to encourage a sense of worth and value that parents can pass on to their own children.”

Didcot Mayor Jackie Billington was amongst the volunteers who offered their services to wait on tables. John Hobbs, lead singer and guitarist with local band The Gangbusters, performed a Christmas set with daughters Julie and Joanne, while a children’s entertainer from Oxford Entertainments ensured the kids had plenty to do, and laugh at.

At the Civic Hall event, certificates were also presented to graduates from Balsam’s own college courses. Single mum Amanda said: “I’m overwhelmed with the kind words said about me and I’ll be volunteering for the charity after I complete my course.”

Alex Walker added: “We currently work with more than 90 families in Oxfordshire and it is so rewarding to see people grow in confidence and flourish. Our belief in the importance of family is at the heart of everything we do.”

Secret Santa Oxfordshire

Secret Santa Oxfordshire is a wonderful local charity (also a winner at the Didcot Business Awards!) run by Charlotte Hughes and has a wide assortment of things available for Balsam Family Project beneficiaries: such as…….
New Moses baskets
Carry cots
New clothes
Kitchen utensils
Baby bath
Loads of books

Balsam families – do get in touch with Charlotte Hughes direct at if you can make use of any of these things…?

Braving the cold and Beautiful music….

Thanks to the Balsam volunteers who braved the cold on a November evening at the Didcot Street Fair and raised £190 for Balsam! Thanks also to all our Sponsors who have donated toys & books to sell:

The Entertainer Toy Shop; W H Smith; Wilko; All Saints Church, Didcot; All Saints Church Chilton; All Saints Church Marcham; Didcot Baptist Church; Didcot Kings Church; Fledgelings Nursery; St Matthews Church, Harwell; St Michaels Church Blewbury

Thank you also to the wonderful The Byrd Chorus for a wonderful concert on November in Marcham church raising £343 for Balsam!


Balsam is a winner!

Balsam was nominated and shortlisted to receive a Didcot First ‘Business & Community Award’ in four categories and we found out recently that we won in two categories! Balsam was awarded Best Volunteer Development and Best Partnership and Collaboration in the community and charity awards and rightly reflects the hard work the Balsam staff put in week in and week out. Well done everyone!

Come and work for Balsam!


We are looking to recruit two new members of staff for Balsam: a Family Liaison Officer (20 hours a week) and Fundraiser (Half time post).

Family Liaison Officer (20 Hours per week)

Understanding and self-motivated Family Liaison Officer with Safe Guarding experience required for a Christian charity offering support to vulnerable and isolated families and their mentors.

Applicant to take a holistic approach to assessing family’s needs that includes the spiritual dimension.

Didcot (Oxon)

£14,000 per annum

Further info Tel 07799894410

Or email

Expressions of interest and C.V by Monday 23rd Oct 17



£28,000 fte pro-rated – half time post

Experienced and self-motivated fundraiser required for Christian charity that supports isolated and vulnerable families. Applicant must develop and implement an engagement plan with both Christian and non-Christian organisations.

Potential for substantial home working.

Didcot (Oxon)

Further info Tel 07799894410

Or email

Expressions of interest and C.V by Friday 24th Nov 17