“If people had listened to me and respected me like you do, I would have got my life sorted out years ago.”


Mayday Trust is an innovative local charity in Oxford working with people going through tough life transitions such as leaving care, prison or homelessness.

Mayday Trust is different. We see people behind the statistics and help them create futures in which they can thrive, rather than survive. We ask not with what is wrong, but what is strong. We focus on skills, qualities, and behavior to rebuild lives.

Mayday Inspire asset coaches work with individuals to reignite their ‘spark’ and identify their ‘purpose’ which can so often be something as simple as a desire to work with animals, take up a new sport or gain a qualification that can open the door to employment using skills they already have and are passionate about.  As one of our Oxford Mayday Inspire coaches recently put it:

”Most people are fully aware of whatever situation they may be in, talking about it all day creates negativity. People need to be recognised for their skills, qualities and identity in order to feel good and want to move forward and for the right reasons.”  Take Josh’s story:

Josh is 22 and has been working with a Mayday coach since April 2016. He previously would not leave his flat unless it was first thing in the morning due to Agoraphobia, anxiety and depression.  Josh has a young son but has gone through a relationship breakdown with the son’s mother.  Through working with his Mayday coach Josh identified that his son is his spark and the focus in his life. He is also very talented at fixing bikes and would like to start his own business selling these on so he can provide for his son.

Josh’s coach was able to apply for a budget to buy tools for repairing bikes and also a lock for a garage close to where Josh lives so he can store his equipment and bikes safely.  Knowing what his spark and focus is has meant that Josh has begun travelling to meeting with social services to show his abilities as a dad.  In fact Josh now willingly leaves his flat to go to the meetings; that’s what drives him and with the support of his coach and volunteers he is now travelling to different locations which would previously have been impossible.  Not because he’s told to, but because he wants to! He is building his friendship network and is building confidence to use public transport.  He is looking to the future positively in terms of moving out of Mayday and starting his own business.

What makes Mayday Inspire special?  There’s no formula!  That’s the whole point!  Would your sparkle be the same as the person standing next to you waiting for the bus?  Would you be motivated by the same thoughts or take the same approach to solving a puzzle?  Or perhaps more importantly would you react well to being told someone else was now in charge of making all the decisions about who you spend time with, how you spend your day and what you should eat? 

At Mayday Trust we think the answers to those questions would probably be no, not because we as an organization think that but because we’ve asked the people we work with and they’ve told us so! In 2011, we spoke to over 100 people inside and outside Mayday Trust to understand the experience of people accessing homelessness services. These conversations, captured in our series of blogs ‘Wisdoms from the Street’ uncovered the scale of people experiencing institutionalisation in our sector and form the backbone of Mayday Trust’s personalised transition service ‘Mayday Inspire’.

“Don’t tell me I’ve got to do something … I like to do things in my own time.  I don’t like to rush into things; I like to watch, I like to look at things. I like to work out for myself if I’m doing the right thing. It’s my choice if I want to do it”

What is so exciting is that It costs on average £1,000 for a Mayday coach to work with an individual through their transition back into independent living. Here’s Ashley’s story written by his coach:

At our first meeting Ashley told me that his dream right now was to get clean, get a job and get a house. Ashley used a personal budget to buy what he needed to build a remote-control car and pursue his passion to compete in races. He’s been sharing his ideas with others enthusiasts in a specialist online forum.  To support his ambition for paid work, he completed a work placement with a cleaning company giving him some much needed experience after eight years of unemployment.  Ashley’s confidence is blooming again since we helped him to move to independent housing where he has to cook for himself, maintain his own tenancy and share with other people. He’s completely stopped using drugs.  After not seeing his family for three years, Ashley finally took a trip to Swindon to visit them. He’s continued to re-build relations with them all.

Will you support the Mayday Inspire coaches in Oxford to discover 40 sparks so that 40 bright and talented individuals can thrive independently in their local community?

Examples of what your support could help us achieve:

  • Personal budgets: EG gym membership, computer, cycling equipment:  £5-£100
  • Talent bond level- £100- £500
  • Transformation opportunity- £500,- £1,000
  • A coach to work with someone for a year- £1,000 +

 What is Mayday Inspire?  Mayday Inspire combines practice evidence base developed by the US Search Institute’s ‘Development Assets’ model[1], with personalisation, whole person wellbeing, coaching, and asset-based community development to create a truly unique approach. This unique combination enables Mayday Inspire to:

  • Completely change the assessment process and shift power from staff to people with lived experience
  • Empower individuals to take control of their own lives,
  • Offer choice to work with us (through our 4 week ‘try before you buy’ option)
  • Listen to people’s stories, and identify what matters to them
  • Work with people to set aspirational goals, and develop their skills to achieve them
  • Broker real life opportunities[2] within local communities for the individual to reintegrate into society and build a network they can depend on and build on. 

In a recent survey of people we work with that were asked what they felt about Mayday’s service found that 53% of the people we worked with since Feb 15 rated their support as excellent & a further 32% rated their support as good.

[1] The Search Institutes’ Developing Youth model has an evidence base of 4 million clients across 70 countries over 23 years.  They proved that by focusing on people’s talents, abilities and strengths and developing their key internal and external assets, they become engaged, independent and thriving individuals. 

[2] Examples of brokering opportunities and involvement include volunteering at a dog kennels, theatre, film making, Open University, restaurant work, gardening and football training (Street League).