MAKING sure vulnerable people have a place of shelter is at the forefront of a charity's campaign over Mental Health Awareness Week.

Oxfordshire Mind has shed light on its supported housing service throughout this week as part of a national drive to boost mental health up the agenda.

The charity says while progress it being made, its work is still required.

Dan Knowles, the CEO of Oxfordshire Mind, said: "The stigma associated with mental health is steadily being reduced but we have a long way to go.

"Oxfordshire Mind has been helping people facing challenges in this county for more than 50 years and demand for our services has never been higher."

The charity's transitional housing service supports 80 people with enduring mental health issues, often those with no fixed abode or recently discharged from hospital.

Earlier this year Oxfordshire Mind also purchased two more properties in Abingdon and Didcot to expand the service.

Sajeel Nasar, 38, was offered a room at one of the charity's Oxford properties after a breakdown in December 2014 caused by not taking his medication.

The former Oxford Brookes University student found himself without accommodation and took up a place in a 'very comfortable' shared house.

He said: "Effectively I was on the verge of becoming homeless and they helped me out. They were very supportive of me and I was always dealt with politely, even when I lost my temper on a few occasions. I am very grateful to Oxfordshire Mind for offering me a place to stay.

"I'm still here but I'm thinking of moving out now; I can hopefully manage to live independently."

Every year Oxfordshire Mind supports more than 20,000 people through housing, wellbeing activities, therapy and its benefits support service.

As part of the anniversary, students from Oxford University have come together to hold a celebration of comedy tonight for the charity's 50th birthday.

This evening a lineup of fresh and well-known faces who have all at one point studied at Oxford University are joining forces to raise vital cash for the charity.

From 7.30pm the likes of Josie Long, who has appeared on 8 Out of 10 Cats and Never Mind the Buzzcocks and former Oxford Imps member and Mock the Week star Ivo Graham, will regale an audience at Lady Margaret Hall.

The event has been organised by locals Harry Househam and Alex Farrow, who are putting on 50 comedy nights in Oxford in 2017 to celebrate 50 years of the charity and have so far raised more than £3,000 for Oxfordshire Mind.

For more information or to book tickets for £10 each call 07747866653.