How a Banbury charity is continuing to flourish thanks to community funding and support

A north Oxfordshire charity has been able to grow from offering small support groups in community halls to running their own dedicated centre thanks in part to Oxfordshire County Council’s connected communities fund.

Dementia Active in Banbury is a registered charity specialising in running activities which support people with dementia.

After applying to Oxfordshire County Council’s connected communities fund, the organisation received £4939, helping them to keep running their regular sessions for older people with dementia while their new building in Banbury was taking shape.

Andy Gill, CEO of Dementia Active, said: “We create a sense of community where people can feel comfortable in themselves and don’t need to worry about what other people think of them. They’re in a safe, comfortable environment. The aim is to stimulate cognitive responses in a range of enjoyable activities as this can help slow down the progress of the disease.

“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.

“Our new building is now up and running and in September we are opening a drop in Music for Wellbeing service for people diagnosed with dementia and their carers as well as new groups for people with advanced dementia and young onset dementia.

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

Dementia Active is one of more than 70 groups and organisations that have been supported by the connected communities fund since it launched last autumn, each receiving a share of £175,000 resulting in more than 90 activities being delivered in the last year.

Managed by Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA) and Community First Oxfordshire (CFO), the grants ‘plus’ programme offered financial support up to the value of £5,000 per applicant, alongside advice and support to help the money go as far as possible.

It’s part of the council’s adult social care Oxfordshire Way vision to support people to live well and independently within their own communities, remaining fit and healthy for as long as possible.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We know that people want to live well in their own neighbourhoods and our connected communities fund helps to achieve just that. By strengthening local organisations with both financial and more practical support, we’re creating huge benefits for residents in Oxfordshire right on their doorstep.”

The real added value of the connected communities fund is the flexibility of the scheme and the opportunity to talk through proposals with OCVA and CFO, who can provide additional advice, expertise and connections helping them to further strengthen their programme.

Laura Price, CEO of Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action, said: “This innovative approach to funding community activity has stimulated more meaningful relationships with organisations. Offering bespoke support around each group’s needs has had a really positive impact, whether that be how to recruit more volunteers or how to plan for the future.”

Emily Lewis-Edwards, co-CEO of Community First Oxfordshire, said: “We thank Oxfordshire County Council for taking the initiative to reach out to the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, treating them as an equal partner and calling on their experience and knowledge to place small and accessible funds with community groups and organisations that make a real difference for people in their communities and neighbourhoods. The connected communities fund was a great example of collaboration work at its best.”

Find out more about Dementia Active by watching their video or at dementiactive.co.uk

More information about the support offered by OCVA can be found at ocva.org.uk. Further information about CFO is available at communityfirstoxon.org

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