OCF’s June grants panel awarded 23 grants totalling nearly £38,000. Funding was directed to hard-to-reach young people and isolated elderly residents of some of the more deprived areas across Oxfordshire.
This round of funding was the first to provide a shorter, simpler application form for groups applying for small amounts of funding – now known as our Small and Vital programme. This meant that it was quicker and easier for volunteer-led community groups to apply for modest, short-term expenses that help them carry out important grassroots work.
This programme funded seven different seniors groups, reflecting one of OCF’s Oxfordshire Uncovered priorities to reach out to isolated older people, many of whom are living alone in our rural county with only TV or pets for company. The groups funded, such as Hethe & District Darby & Joan Club and Fritwell Forget Me Not Club, are providing a lifeline for older people with a series of cultural and historical outings, interesting speakers, and social events such as quizzes and holidays. TOAD Oxfordshire received £2,000 to help them run a similar club for adults with learning disabilities. Typically run by volunteers – many of whom are in their twilight years themselves – these clubs deserve our support, and we want to make the application process as painless as possible for them.
Several of these groups are also struggling to remain accessible in the context of local government cuts to community transport services. Cutteslowe Seniors told us in their application how the axeing of the number 17 bus service in the area had left many people with mobility problems increasingly isolated – the grant will help fund the hire of a wheelchair-compatible minibus. OCF also provided match-funding for Aspire’s community transport campaign in June.
This grants round also saw more substantial grants being made to charitable organisations working with some of the most vulnerable young people in deprived areas of the county such as Banbury and Didcot. For example, Abingdon Damascus Youth Project specialises in grassroots, on-the-street engagement with hard-to-reach young people, particularly those disadvantaged by social circumstances. OCF provided funding to support inter-generational community fun days that will help young people feel and be seen as stakeholders in their communities, and older people learn more about new technology. A grant to Children Heard and Seen will support children and families of prisoners across Oxfordshire to rebuild the bonds that will prevent reoffending.
A full list of the grants made in our June round can be found here.