Didcot Station Christmas Fair 2018


Balsam’s first Christmas Fair at Didcot station took place on the 6th December where many delicious home-made cakes were sold and eaten. Thank you very much to all who baked for the day and special thanks to the Liz and the station staff for all their support and hard work. Thank you to all those passengers who gave generous donations for cakes enabling us to raise £470 – AMAZING – thank you.


Didcot Street Fair 2018


Very big thanks to everyone who contributed with jam jars, knitted toys, sweets etc for the Balsam stall at the street fair on the 29th Nov. Thank you to all who helped man the stall – we raised £175 on the evening – well done!!

Mamma Mia! Abba night raises £500 for family project in Didcot

Families assisted by The Balsam Family Project said ‘thank you’ this week by organising an ‘Abba night’ to raisemore than £500 for the Didcot-based charity.

Around 100 people attended the fundraiser at The Barn on November 9 – with the event arranged by a group of women grateful that Balsam had been willing to ‘take a chance’ on them. The Balsam Family Project supports families in Didcot who are isolated or facing breakdown. Governed by trustees with experience in the social sector, the project helps families in various ways such as family days and courses in parenting and home management.


Project manager and trustee Alex Walker said: “In today’s world there are many reasons why the work we do is so important.

“Some of the young parents we work with never had good role models themselves, or do not have the support of extended family living nearby. Others might lack confidence in their own parenting abilities, be new to the area, or simply struggling to cope with children with behavioural difficulties.”

Roxy Thorp, who has benefited from Balsam’s assistance over many years, was one of the women who helped put on the event. She said: “Without Balsam, I don’t know where I would be right now.”
Fellow ‘super troupers’ Debbie Lansley, Hayley Wadley, Sabrina Lowe, Lucy West and Amanda Henley-Pearce also worked hard to make the event happen.

The room was stuffed full of silver jump suits, sequins, hot pants and platforms, with old rockers, The Gang Busters, also taking to the stage to perform on the night. The Moreton-based band, who supported Gerry and the Pacemakers in the sixties, gave their services for free. Insomnia Disco provided the Abba beats at a dramatically reduced rate.

Balsam Project manager and trustee Alex Walker added: “It is extremely rewarding and humbling to see some of the people we have supported go to such lengths to give something back for the benefit of others.
“As a charity, we believe wholeheartedly that when you invest in families you enrich communities.”
“Nights like this show just what can be achieved when you show faith in people and give them the support they require, when they most need it.”

60’s and ABBA Family and fundraising evening



For tickets and further information contact
or text 07387391148

Tickets available from 9th October 2018

Summer Celebrations & Graduations

It was wonderful to have the Balsam Summer celebrations this August and our latest graduations from the parenting courses. We are so proud of these young people who have worked hard throughout the weeks and gained knowledge to grow and support their families.

June 16th Barracks and Community Play Activity Day

Much fun was had by all families and all activities were free for children.

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 www.theladygrovechurch.org.uk/church-life/parentcarer-toddler-groups/


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 – www.didcotbaptist.org.uk/regular-activities/toddlers/


The King’s Church

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

For more info visit www.thekingschurchdidcot.org/coffee-and-kids/


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 www.harwellandchiltonchurches.org.uk/Group/Group.aspx?ID=187223

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 martin@balsamfamilyproject.co.uk

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 martin@balsamfamilyproject.co.uk

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 charitysecretsanta@live.co.uk if you can make use of any of these things…?