DonorsFinancialNewsOCFFrontage of Agnes Smith Advice Centre in Blackbird Leys

We have received 86 applications to our Cost of Living Fund totalling more than £600,000. With the effects of recession looming, can you help us empower grassroots charities supporting people to make ends meet?

Yesterday the Chancellor confirmed that the UK is in a recession, while the government’s independent analysts said 2022 will be the biggest drop in living standards since records began in the 1950s. 2023 will be the second biggest drop. Those on the lowest incomes are facing the highest inflation because they spend more of their household budget on essentials like food and energy, where rising prices are the most acute.

OCF is partnering with Oxfordshire County Council to make an impact on local communities with our Cost of Living Fund. Based on feedback from our consultation with the charitable sector in September, we will be funding a combination of emergency relief (food banks, debt advice, mental health support) and longer-term solutions (community hubs, mentoring, family support), in the form of grants to our dedicated and dynamic local charitable organisations.

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Grant applications to the first round of funding closed on 17th October, and our independent grants panel meets next week. They will have the difficult task of prioritising the 86 applications for funding. To fund the applications that meet our criteria, we are currently looking at a shortfall of around £128,000.

One of the applications is from the Agnes Smith Advice Centre in Blackbird Leys. They tell us: “The grant will enable us to focus on our vital service delivery during the coming winter period, which is likely to be extremely difficult for our clients – the recent cap on energy bills will not be enough to prevent those on the lowest incomes from experiencing severe hardship. By maximising income and reducing outgoings, we will give people the best chance of covering their essential costs and making ends meet. Last year, we achieved additional annual benefit gains totalling over £1.7 million, and wrote off debts of more than £600,000, enabling people to make a fresh start.”

Another applicant, The Hill Sport and Community Centre in Bretch Hill, Banbury, plans to provide an ‘Open House’ for older people during the winter period. It will be open on a drop-in basis for people to participate in activities, receive complimentary hot drinks, and enjoy homemade nutritious soup and a roll.

We are so grateful to those generous people who have already donated their £400 energy rebate, or more, to our fund. Every penny that the general public, businesses and other funders can contribute will help us meet more of this need.

Our online donation platform Enthuse allows us to easily collect Gift Aid and process your donation. However, if you’d prefer to donate by cheque or bank transfer, there are details of how to do so here.

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