Witney Day Centre on a roll - now more innovative projects are set to be rewarded

The fun hasn’t stopped since Witney Day Centre purchased a 10-seater minibus thanks to a grant from Oxfordshire County Council’s Innovation Fund.

The day centre in Fettiplace Road successfully bid £5,000 to purchase the minibus before the summer to take members on a host of outings.

Seven projects totalling more than £84,000 have been recommended for money from the Innovation Fund, with Cabinet set to make a final decision on November 20.

The county council provides in-house daytime support for older people and people with learning disabilities but also awards grant funding support for a range of voluntary sector providers.

Oxfordshire has a long tradition of successful voluntary sector daytime support providers – many of whom thrive without financial support from the county council.

Daytime support facilities, whether council or voluntary sector based, provide a range of activities and services and help people to live healthy, independent lives and remain engaged.

Witney Day Centre co-ordinator Linda Young said: “It’s been fantastic and has made such a difference to our members. It means we’re able to bring people to the centre each week and just getting on the minibus is great for them.”

Among the outings was a visit to a care home in Didcot for a surprise birthday party, a trip to the Ducklington Flower Show and a day out at Cotswold Wildlife Park in Burford.

And on Remembrance Sunday the minibus took members to Witney’s parade before stopping off for a pub lunch and then a tour of the town’s new memorial and poppy display.

Linda said: “It was a great outing and typical of the many things we have been able to do since we got our minibus.”

Running costs have been boosted by local advertising, with businesses paying £200 a year for signage on the vehicle.

Now the centre has been recommended to receive £1,250 in the second phase of funding to purchase boccia and kurling sets to enable members to attend other centres and participate in games afternoons.

Witney Day Centre boasts 42 members who meet every Thursday from 10am to 12.30pm. In the morning they enjoy teas and coffees, seated exercise sessions, tai chi, flower arranging, arts and crafts, and games like Dominoes and Scrabble. Members then tuck into a two-course meal before more entertainment in the afternoons like line dancing.


The Innovation Fund was created after Oxfordshire County Council made changes to daytime support for people aged 18 and over.

Its aim is to provide one-off funding to support the development of self-sustaining projects, supporting the county council’s commitment to thriving communities.

Funding is available to community and voluntary sector organisations proving there is a need for a service that can help people lead full and varied lives

The six other projects recommended for funding in the second phase are:

Farcycles, Faringdon: £11,470 to provide a daytime opportunity for people to access cycle training to learn how to ride a bike or regain the skills and confidence to do so, offering opportunities for three groups of adults: beginners, those who lack confidence to cycle on the roads, and those with a disability.

Farmability, Wytham: £16,330 towards a day service for older people ­- a farm-based programme for older adults with dementia.

Guidepost Trust, West Oxfordshire: £11,544 to introduce a ‘Time Together Supper Club’ for older people and carers, a chance to access social/supportive experiences based around music and food. This activity is going to be available during the early evening, which is different to what other daytime activities may offer.

Paint Buzz, Order of St John’s Care Trust, four areas in Oxfordshire: £20,000 to provide a fantastic opportunity for the residents of the care homes and the wider community to attend an activity to upcycle old items, from old containers to small items of furniture, and then painting them using eco-friendly paints. Based around a 2-year programme to train activity co-ordinators/volunteers within four residential homes to upcycle items. Once completed, other activity co-ordinators/volunteers will be trained and upcycling will be available for all 17 care homes and the wider communities.

Cedar Community Club, south-west Oxfordshire: £15,000 for the opening of a new community club based in south-west Oxfordshire to reduce social isolation and loneliness in and around the surrounding area. The club will operate on two days of the week and offer a variety of activities, with emphasis on music and creative arts.

Cholsey Parish Council: £4,594 for the opening of a drop-in session to support people who have a mental health or learning disabilities condition, and their family. The drop-in will run once a week for three hours.

Phase three

The Innovation Fund 2018 will open again on December 1, with a remaining £49,247 available.

Oxfordshire Community & Voluntary Action is available to provide support to organisations wishing to bid for innovation funding, and to provide advice and information on alternative funding opportunities. www.ocva.org.uk

Rebecca Lanchbury, Commissioning Officer at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Once again we were incredibly impressed by the creativity and innovation demonstrated by the projects entered for funding. Each of them will enrich the lives of so many, helping to reduce social isolation and loneliness. Now phase three is open I would encourage all community and voluntary groups with innovative ideas of how to make life better for adults in Oxfordshire to apply to the Innovation Fund.”