Grass-roots funding makes a real difference in Oxfordshire’s communities

Neighbourhoods across every single part of Oxfordshire have benefited from almost £1m of funding that county councillors have channelled to important projects in their areas of the county over the last year.

Over 350 projects have benefited from Oxfordshire County Council’s Councillor Priority Fund with each of the authority’s 63 county councillors having £15,000 available to them to award in grants to projects within their area.

Towns, villages, hamlets and the city of Oxford and its districts have all benefited from the scheme which is now in its third year.

The types of projects that have been awarded grants include laptops for schools to help with distanced learning, tree planting schemes, playground refurbishments, installations of defibrillators and support to local food banks and larders.

Councillor Mark Gray, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Local Communities, said: “This scheme remains a real success story with grass-roots organisations and schemes feeling the benefit from the Cotswolds to the Chilterns, from the south to the north and from the city of Oxford to our smallest hamlets.

“The beauty of the Councillor Priority Fund is that it connects the county council with very local priorities. Individual county councillors know what their local residents see as important and this gives them some discretion in recognising those priorities and providing them with some financial support and impetus.

“The variety and sheer number of schemes that have been completed is very impressive. I recently checked-in virtually via Zoom/MS teams on some of the schemes that have been benefited and it was a pleasure to hear about how the grant funding county councillors are able to award has made a real difference to the day to day lives of people in their streets and neighbourhoods.

“Having spoken to many county councillors from all parts of the county I know that they value this fund and the leeway it gives them to provide support to important work on their patch. Irrespective of the political party they belong to they have embraced the opportunity to have some ability to provide financial support to local people in their work to enrich their local communities.”