Grass roots funding pot swells to £350K thanks to strong community partnership

A partnership between Oxfordshire County Council and Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) has resulted in 26 local grass roots organisations and charities receiving a share of almost £350,000.

Funded through the council’s Community Capacity Grants, OCF, who manage the fund, has managed to reach even more recipients this year by adding a further £24,997 from philanthropic donors in Oxfordshire.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Care, said: “While we provided the initial funding, our strong partnership with Oxfordshire Community Foundation has meant that our community capacity grants have provided the greatest possible benefits for residents.

“OCF has the skills and connections to identify where the funding is most needed as well as being able to tap into a resource from generous local donors, resulting in a further two groups receiving funding.”

Community capacity grants support the council’s adult social care Oxfordshire Way vision of enabling people to live happily and independently for as long as possible, within their own communities.

Applications were invited from local organisations with plans to develop community-led initiatives, aimed at supporting people to live independently, reducing isolation and loneliness, increasing positive mental health and enabling people to engage with physical exercise.

A total of £325,000 from the county council was distributed to 24 local charities. Grants ranged from £5,000 for the Lawrence Nursing Home team to develop sessions that enhanced people’s mental and physical health, to £20,000 to help community interest company, Cherwell Collective, to develop community assets and support mental wellbeing.

A further £24,997 has been awarded to two additional charitable organisations, My Vision Oxfordshire and Windrush Bike Project, through private donations.

Zoe Sprigings, CEO of Oxfordshire Community Foundation said: “We received 103 applications totalling £1.35 million. Whilst sadly not all could be funded, thanks to the generosity of donors who hold a donor-advised fund with OCF, we have been match-making to provide two further grants.

“We’re continuing to actively speak to our donors about funding an additional nine applications, making a difference to many more people’s lives than we otherwise would have been able to do.”

The difference it’s making 

In the previous round of funding, Children Heard and Seen received a grant of £7,000.  The organisation supports children, young people and their families who are impacted by parental imprisonment.Community Capcity Grants Hill End residential 2023_3

As a result of the grant, the charity was able to provide a weekend residential trip for Oxfordshire children and their families who have a parent in prison. This included music and film workshops giving the children an opportunity to channel the complex emotions around their parent's imprisonment through a creative outlet.

One parent said: “Ryan and I are so lucky to have come across this amazing charity. We were invited to join them on a lovely weekend away in the beautiful Oxford countryside. We've both made new friends for life. We were given the opportunity to feel safe and at ease around others who have had similar life experiences. No judgements. No stigmas. No awkward conversations. And to feel real empathy and understanding. The whole weekend from start to finish was amazing.”

National statistics report that 65 per cent of boys with a parent in prison go on to offend. However, by offering trauma-informed support, organisations such as Children Heard and Seen are breaking this cycle of offending and achieving better outcomes for families. Of more than one thousand children that the organisation has supported, only five have gone on to commit an offence.

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