Groups to receive funding for ‘open access’ children’s services

Six community groups planning to run ‘open access’ children’s services will receive funding worth £163,000 from a grant scheme set up by the council.

Community-led schemes will complement a comprehensive new service for 0-19-year-olds across Oxfordshire which ensures children at risk of abuse and neglect are protected and that families who need extra help are identified at an early stage.

Applications received during the first round of the £1m grant scheme were assessed by a cross-party working group of councillors which made recommendations to the council’s Cabinet. The successful bidders (listed below) are planning to run services in Oxford, Carterton, Bloxham, Marston and Thame.

A further eight bids were supported in principle by the working group, but deferred to the second round of bids so that further work can be carried out on the business models. Just three bids were considered not to meet the funding criteria and were refused.

Start-up funding

The £1m transition fund is intended to help groups establish themselves in order to become self-funding, and to develop and deliver the services that are most important to their communities – responding to specific local needs.

As part of the council’s continuing investment in early intervention, new teams of ‘locality workers’ will advise and support community groups delivering open-access sessions – such as ‘stay and play’ - as well as other universal services including schools, health and early years providers.

Positive solutions

The council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services Melinda Tilley said: “There has been a great response from local communities to identify positive solutions for providing open access services, and a huge appetite to make this a success. I’m delighted we’re now at the stage where community groups can begin putting those plans into action, with the help of start-up funding.

“Some proposals need a bit of further work, but it is clear that the cross-party working group looked very carefully at all the bids received, and that the vast majority are on the way to meeting the criteria for funding.”

She added: “We are continuing to discuss proposals with community groups as they develop their plans ahead of the second round of applications. We are also continuing to work with the Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA) to support groups with developing business plans.”

The second round of applications will close on January 9.

List of applicants to receive funding:

  • Butterfly Meadows (Bloxham) - £29,384
  • Carterton Town Council - £30,000
  • Botley Bridges (Oxford) - £30,000
  • Grandpont Nursery (Oxford) - £35,600
  • St Nicholas Primary School (Marston) - £8,000
  • Sharing Life Trust (Thame) - £30,000

List of those supported in principle, but deferred for further work:

  • Barton Community Association
  • Employment Action Group (Berinsfield)
  • Chalgrove Primary School
  • Cutteslowe Primary School
  • The Nature Effect (Florence Park)
  • Magpies Pre-School (Kidlington)
  • Friends of Maple Tree Children’s Centre & Wheatley Nursery School
  • Oxfordshire Play Association (Abingdon)