Community Resilience Fund

These are extraordinary times calling for extraordinary responses, and OCF’s priority is to act swiftly yet responsibly to ensure the support, sustainability and development of Oxfordshire’s community infrastructure. We have therefore launched a new fund to help community and voluntary organisations meet the new needs and challenges created by the Coronavirus.

OCF’s new Community Resilience Fund has been kick-started with an inspiring direct donation from the Indigo Trust, and we are also distributing money raised by the National Emergencies Trust in Oxfordshire. OCF is appealing for donations to help us help charities respond better and recover stronger from this crisis.

Grant applications are now open and grants are typically being paid within one week of an application being made. For a list of grants paid to date, please download our weekly update report below.

Each week we are hosting a Zoom webinar aimed at charities and community groups responding to the crisis. Here we give updates and answer questions about the fund, host presentations on useful topics such as furloughing and data security, and invite charity leaders to present a case study on the work enabled by the Community Resilience Fund. A recording of the latest webinar can be found on this page, and the Zoom login details are on our home page.

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 The objectives of the fund are to:

  • Help organisations to respond better: grants for new needs appearing as a result of the Coronavirus and where restrictions mean finding new ways of meeting existing needs.
  • Help organisations to recover stronger: grants to help ensure organisations can survive if their operations or income are interrupted by the Coronavirus and continue for the longer-term.

We have set up the fund to help the voluntary sector in the county respond better and recover stronger from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Our approach

Respond Better: Provide urgently relief for distress and unanticipated needs resulting from the pandemic.

Here our priority is to listen to the voluntary sector, understand the emerging needs and quickly release funds to the organisations delivering relief.

Recover Stronger: Enable the voluntary sector to retain its ability to deliver essential services as the crisis evolves and beyond.

Here our priority is to work with the voluntary organisations to get a strategic view of needs and direct funds where they will ensure the sector recovers as strongly as possible.

More details are given on the grants application page.

apply nowdonate to the fundWebinarsDOWNLOAD WEEKLY REPORT
Latest webinar video

This page will show the latest webinar.

To see past webinars please see the Covid-19 Response playlist on our  YouTube page.

Community Resilience Fund FAQs

The Fund

How do we apply for funds? Details are now on our website here. If you don’t usually receive our updates by email and would like to be kept up to date, please sign up here.
Where is the funding coming from? OCF received a kickstart to the fund from a generous donation by the Indigo Trust. Added to this will be funds from the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal, which are being distributed by community foundations across the UK.
How much we can apply for? Currently grants of £500 to £10,000 are available. Any changes to this will be determined from feedback OCF receives from applicants.
When will the grants be paid? We will be operating rolling funding to ensure we can respond quickly and efficiently. Applications are being processed every few days and successful applications paid weekly.
When is the deadline for applications? Applications opened on 1st April 2020, and there is currently no fixed deadline. You should receive a response within a week. All applicants will be informed of any newly set deadlines.
Will any monitoring be required? Yes – we would like to hear about any work that you carry out, but it does not have to be via a formal monitoring form. We would like organisations to provide regular updates either via a short (one- to two-minute) video, or a phone call or email to one of the grants team.

We will also be seeking more in-depth case studies to promote the work that is being done. This will help us in opening up further funding.

Are there any restrictions on size of group?  Eligibility criteria will be less restrictive than usual as we are aiming to help as many types of organisations as possible, and recognise our community is made up of lots of different organisations.
Can we apply even if we are in receipt of an OCF grant? Yes. If you are in receipt of current funding from us and wish to divert it to support your response to Covid-19, please contact us. You can also submit a new application to this fund.
Can we apply multiple times? Repeat applications will be possible; however, we would strongly encourage groups to take some time to think through their short- and long-term needs before submitting their application, and to give us as complete a picture as possible when first applying. We are looking for an open dialogue with applicants on their ongoing needs.
Who will assess the grant applications? A sub-committee of OCF’s Board of Trustees has been set up to rapidly assess applications and make decisions.
Has Step Change funding been diverted to this cause? Not currently. OCF is in discussion with all of our donors about how the current crisis might affect the distribution of our charitable funds in the short and medium term.
If we’ve applied for the homelessness prevention grants, can we apply for this too? Yes, we welcome applications from all organisations, and in particular, those working in sectors adversely impacted by Covid-19 and whose services are needing to adapt and respond rapidly during the current crisis, such as the many homeless charities and our partners within the Oxford Homeless Movement.
Are there different forms and timescales for the ‘Respond Better’ and ‘Recover Stronger’ grants? No. All applicants should use the short application form on our website to make their case for funding, and we will assess these and provide feedback quickly. These categories are helping to guide our decision making and to communicate to applicants what sort of activity we are willing to fund.
Can we apply for a grant from the fund instead of having to use our reserves? We would encourage charities to reflect on how they might use some of their reserves to respond to this crisis. The Charity Commission has made it clear that this is an acceptable use of reserves, and indeed emergencies relating to your organisation and your beneficiaries are just the sort of thing that reserves should be for. This may mean that reserves have to be diverted from expenses you have earmarked them for. In general, OCF expects charities to be keeping enough reserves to be legally solvent, but if there is a reason for keeping more than three months’ reserves, please do discuss this with us so that we can keep building our understanding.
Can this funding be used as an alternative to furloughing staff? We understand that some charities are considering furlough in order to safeguard their long-term stability, but are reluctant to lose the expertise of these staff in responding to the crisis. We can fund short-term core costs with these grants, especially where they are costed into a specific activity; however, this fund does not have the capacity to rival government support for salaries over a number of months. We are sharing as much guidance as we can for charities on furloughing, in particular a webinar by Stuart Crook, Partner at Wellers, on this subject. You can watch this here.
Where can I find a list of all grants made so far from the fund? OCF publishes details of all grants made as open data to the 360 Giving standard. Currently we are publishing grants data weekly and the full list can be found on the GrantNav website.

General Queries

Where can I find advice about managing volunteers during the crisis? For advice on safeguarding, health and safety, governance and more, we recommend having a look at the resources on the newly created Oxfordshire All In website. Support and advice are also available from Oxford Together, a coordinated response being organised by Oxford Hub.
Can furloughed staff volunteer for another charity? Yes. This can be done on an informal basis and should not be mandated by the employer. This is discussed in detail in this webinar from 11:30. There are groups springing up where furloughed charity staff are offering to volunteer, such as Furlough Go.
Are DBS checks transferrable between the organisation that obtained it and the new voluntary group or charity? According to Government guidance, if someone has a check from their current or previous role with children or adults, then new voluntary groups can make a practical decision about accepting this for their new role. Although ordinarily a check for a role with children would not be sufficient for working with adults, groups may consider this is a reasonably safe thing to do, based on the information on the check and the surrounding circumstances.
Can OCF help us identify where areas of particular need will be? Yes – we are developing several tools that use data mapping to provide this information, and they will be published in the next few weeks. Watch this space!
What other sources of emergency funding are available? OCF is keeping a list of further sources of funding on our website here. Please let us know if you hear of any we should add. Note that some funders are freezing their usual grant-making and instead contributing to the National Emergencies Trust response, which is being distributed nationally via community foundations, including OCF in Oxfordshire.
How will local charities access the Government’s £750 million fund for charities that was announced on 8th April? A portion of this funding will be granted directly from Government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis. The balance of the funding is being made available via existing grant-making bodies such as the National Lottery, and the National Emergencies Trust. Funds from the latter are being distributed in Oxfordshire by OCF. Please refer to the Government website for the latest information.
What are the tech and security implications for charities due to working virtually? Graham Ingram, Chief Information Security Officer at the University of Oxford, has given a webinar for OCF and our charity partners on this subject. You can watch it  and get links to key resources here.
Case studies