Established in 1951 by three schoolteachers, its name derives from founder Joyce Pearce’s family home ‘Ockenden’ in White Rose Lane, Woking, Surrey, England.
The organization became a registered charity on February 24, 1955, under the War Charities Act 1940, its stated objective being to receive young East European people from post World War II homeless persons’ camps in Germany and ‘to provide for their maintenance, clothing, education, recreation, health, and general welfare.
Within a few years, world events and the ever-increasing number of refugees worldwide encouraged supporters to extend its remit – and scope.
The project began when Joyce Pearce (1915-1985) persuaded Woking District Council to contribute to the Festival of Britain by supporting a holiday for 17 homeless East European teenagers at her sixth form center at Ockenden House.
The plight of older non-German speaking children in the refugee camps, for whom the educational provision was inadequate, provided the stimulus for Joyce Pearce, her friend and teaching colleague Margaret Dixon (1907-2001) and her cousin Ruth Hicks (1900-1986), headmistress of Greenfield School, Woking, to found the Ockenden Venture. The modest project soon grew and houses were acquired in Haslemere, also in Surrey, and in 1958 Ockenden took over Donington Hall near Derby as a school for boys.
After World Refugee Year was declared in 1959, government money and increased donations enabled Ockenden to open eight new homes across Britain, and a small administrative staff was established.
Spurred by Joyce Pearce’s desire to provide assistance to Tibetan refugees in India, the general counsel of the charity in October 1962 agreed to amend the constitution of the Ockenden Venture to state its object is: ‘to receive displaced children and other children in need from any part of the world and to provide for their maintenance, clothing, education, recreation, health, and general welfare’ to allow the possibility of help to non-European children. Initially, most help took the form of donations towards existing orphanages and schools and sponsorship schemes, but Ockenden’s first direct participation in overseas-based work also began during the 1960s, with projects in India, northern Africa, and later Southeast Asia. In 1971, Ockenden merged with refugee charity, Lifeline.
The most dramatic expansion of the Ockenden Venture came with the government’s decision in 1979 to accept Vietnamese ‘Boat People’ (who had begun leaving south Vietnam in large numbers after the invasion of Saigon by Communist forces in 1975) into the UK. Ockenden, Save the Children, and the British Council for Aid to Refugees were given responsibility for a third of the country each to arrange for reception and resettlement of incoming families (Ockenden covered Surrey, the Midlands, the North West, North East, North Wales, Gosport and the Portsmouth area of Hampshire).
The deadline for entering the 2022 Ockenden International Prizes, to be launched on September 1, 2021, is midnight (GMT) on Tuesday the 30th of November 2021. The winners will be announced by the 31st of March 2022.
The four winning organizations will each receive GBP25,000.
Ockenden International is looking for projects, activities, and/or programs (each ‘a project’) that promote self-reliance among refugees and/or displaced people. You can enter a project run by your organization or you can nominate a project managed by a non-profit partner or affiliated organization. In these Entry Rules, ‘the organization’ refers to the organization which manages the project.
The project should be the entire focus of the entry. All entries should be made via the online Entry Form. All entries – and supporting documentation, including financials and accounts – must be in English. If you do not have access or a stable connection to the Internet and/or would like a hardcopy, download the .pdf version of the Entry Form, fill in block letters, print, and post it to the address below to be received no later than Tuesday the 30th of November, 2021.
The judges will, in particular, look for:
For organizations lacking stable access to the Internet, postal entries will be considered. If required, download the .pdf version of the Entry Form, complete the form in block letters, print and mail it, along with the requested documentation, by the closing date, to:
2022 Ockenden International Prizes
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