The £325k community grant bowling over Jan and Valerie!

Jan and Valerie bowlingFor Jan Park, who’s 71, and 90-year-old Valerie Morris, their journey to the Rosewood Centre in Blackbird Leys, Oxford, is the perfect opportunity for a catch up.

The pair live locally and regularly get the minibus together to the social club run by Daybreak – a charity specialising in providing activities for people with dementia, while offering some well deserved respite for carers. 

Daybreak is one of 34 grass roots organisations to have benefitted from Oxfordshire County Council’s community capacity grants, offering applicants a share of £325,000 to help support the work they do.

For Jan, Daybreak has been a lifeline. Her daughter, Mary Park, said: “The last few years have been difficult. Dad’s disabled and mum’s been diagnosed with dementia. They both found the COVID pandemic really tough and mum felt really isolated.

“We went for a visit to Daybreak’s Rosewood Centre a few months ago. Mum seemed to have a good time, but needed a bit of convincing to go back as she felt the other people were far too old for her!

“Before long, mum met Valerie. They started getting the bus together, having a chat and catching up. Mum now goes four times a week and has a great time singing, bowling and dancing!Jan Park

“Mum can hold almost a full conversation now, whereas before coming she could barely put two words together.”

Daybreak can now help more than one and a half thousand people like Jan, thanks to the £9,809 community capacity grant they received last year. The organisation has been able to buy specialist equipment, provide nutritious meals and further develop their staff training.

Administered by Oxfordshire Community Foundation, the fund launched last autumn and invited applications from community groups looking for funding of between £5,000 and £20,000.

It is an important 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: “Groups like Daybreak not only help people living with dementia, but also give carers that extra time to have a life away from their caring responsibilities.

“By strengthening organisations like this, we’re enabling families to stay together and supporting people to live well and independently for as long as possible.”

Zoe Sprigings, CEO of Oxfordshire Community Foundation, said: “Our expertise and understanding of the grassroots charity network in Oxfordshire enables us to reach charities supporting the most vulnerable in areas of need throughout the county.

“In the two rounds of funding, an estimated 24,420 individuals throughout the county benefited from their involvement with the charities in receipt of the fund. It’s wonderful to hear how people like Jan are being supported!”

Find out more about Daybreak at daybreak-oxford.org.uk

More information about the support offered by Oxfordshire Community Foundation can be found at oxfordshire.org

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