As of 23rd March 2021, we have given out £1,011,669 in grants to hundreds of grassroots charities and community groups across the county. This also marks one year since the start of the first lockdown in March 2020. We will be here for the local community to support recovery over the long term, whatever happens.
On a day when the UK soberly marks over 126,000 deaths across the country, with 1,056 in Oxfordshire, OCF has reached the a funding milestone, with over £1 million in charitable funding distributed to the local charity and voluntary sector to support emergency response and a burgeoning recovery.
The Community Resilience Fund opened for applications in April 2020, having quickly established a strong base of generous donations from the National Emergencies Trust, the Indigo Trust and the public. We cannot thank these generous supporters enough for helping us be there when local communities needed us the most.
Funding has reached a variety of communities in all geographies across Oxfordshire:
The early emergency response focused on food distribution, and on upscaling charities’ digital capabilities to deliver services online. For example, we helped Riverside Counselling train therapists in safeguarding associated with online counselling sessions; we funded laptops for ACT’s staff to support homeless people remotely; and we funded Zoom licences so that Didcot TRAIN could continue to reach vulnerable young people.
As the pandemic deepened, digital support moved to directly funding equipment or training for vulnerable groups to reduce isolation. For example, we supported Bicester Good Neighbour Scheme to get older people onto video calls to keep in touch with families and befrienders; we supported the Syrian Community in Oxfordshire buy Chromebooks and deliver digital training to isolated migrants; and we recently funded several school PTAs/Friends groups and parish councils to buy laptops for children who had no online access for home schooling. This was alongside continued assistance to enable charities tackling existing social problems to continue to reach their beneficiaries, such as homelessness provision, activities for people with learning disabilities and building a better future for asylum seekers.
As the year has gone on, we have seen more funding go to projects that will help local organisations recover from the pandemic as well as immediate response funding. This includes substantial long-term funding for initiatives like Oxford Together.
Full details of all grants made in this pandemic year can be found in our latest report.
We are acutely conscious that the COVID-19 situation is far from over: as schools begin to assess the effects of lockdown on the most disadvantaged children, businesses are forced to make staff redundant, and homeless people are moved out of temporary accommodation, we are concerned that a deep, far-reaching and destructive socio-economic crisis is on the horizon. Around 40% of the grants made so far have been funded from local, mostly private contributions to the OCF Resilience Fund, with the rest coming from national funds. This is an amazing local philanthropic contribution and we are working to build on this momentum to sustain the long-term recovery.
We will be here for the local community to support recovery over the long term, whatever happens.
If you are able to help with our ongoing pandemic response and recovery, please make a donation.