Half a million pounds on offer to strengthen community groups in Oxfordshire

How to apply for a connected communities or community capacity grant

Grassroots organisations in Oxfordshire can now apply for their share of a replenished £500,000 fund, helping to support residents to live well and independently in their communities.

Following on from the success of last year’s community capacity grants, Oxfordshire County Council has relaunched the fund for 2023/24 which will be administered by Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action, Community First Oxfordshire and Oxfordshire Community Foundation.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We’ve seen in the last year how this programme can make a real difference to people’s lives.

“By providing funds to organisations at the heart of our communities, it helps them to expand their valuable work and strengthens our Oxfordshire Way vision of enabling people to live well and independently closer to home.”

The programme is separated into two pots. The first is called the connected communities fund. This offers groups faster access to grants of up to £5,000. The second is a larger community capacity grants fund that will consider applications from organisations looking for up to £20,000.

Connected communities fund

Last year, Banbury charity Dementia Active received £4,939, helping them to keep running their regular sessions for older people with dementia while their new building was taking shape.

Andy Gill, CEO of Dementia Active, said: “The additional funding and support we received through the connected communities fund allowed us to keep running our much needed services at a crucial and pivotal point in our ongoing development.

“The encouragement and advice offered by Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action and Community First Oxfordshire has been invaluable throughout.”

Dementia Active was one of more than 70 groups and organisations supported by the connected communities fund, each receiving a share of £175,000.

Once again, this year the connected communities fund will be managed by Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action and Community First Oxfordshire, offering a grants ‘plus’ programme, which includes advice and support alongside the funding.

The application window for the connected communities fund is now open (Wednesday 6 September) and will remain open until all the money has been distributed.

Larger community capacity grants

Alternatively, organisations looking for more than £5,000 can apply to the larger community capacity grants fund, offering access to up to £20,000 of the total £325,000 pot.

Blackbird Leys based charity, Daybreak, benefited from almost £10,000 from this fund last year, helping to provide a range of additional support for its staff and members.

Jan Park is 71 years old and regularly attends Daybreak’s Rosewood centre with her friend Valerie. Jan has dementia and had previously suffered with loneliness and isolation, especially during the pandemic. But her daughter, Mary Park, says that’s all changed because of Daybreak.

Mary said: “Mum goes four times a week and has a great time singing, bowling and dancing! Mum can hold almost a full conversation now, whereas before coming she could barely put two words together.”

The application process for these larger grants takes more time, with proposals being considered by a panel from Oxfordshire Community Foundation in October.

The funding window has now open (Wednesday 6 September), with organisations being asked to complete the process by Thursday 28 September, when applications will be assessed.  

How to apply

Organisations looking to apply for up to £5,000 through the connected communities fund, alongside additional support from Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action and Community First Oxfordshire, can find more information online.

Groups hoping for an amount between £5,000 and £20,000 can apply online to Oxfordshire Community Foundation.

Links to the organisations administering the grants, as well as other funding opportunities, can be found at oxfordshire.gov.uk/CommunityCapacityGrants

Click Sign up to hear from us and receive the latest news and updates thanks to our fortnightly newsletter, Your Oxfordshire.