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After working with partners to convene the Growing Minds partnership, which has supported 277 families in Berinsfield and Littlemore since its inception, OCF has passed the coordination of the project into the capable hands of our project partners.

OCF created Growing Minds and brought together our expert delivery partners Peeple, Home-Start, the Imagination Library, the Berin Centre and John Henry Newman Academy to deliver a unique and collaborative project. The initial investment in project management has been vital for getting the initiative up and running, and the support that Growing Minds has provided has helped many families over a period of great instability.

The experienced and highly skilled delivery partners will now take the reins, taking on the next stages of project delivery, allowing it to develop responsively, driven and influenced by the needs and knowledge of the families at a local level and in a place-based way.

Since its launch in January 2020, Growing Minds has engaged 277 families, providing 3,533 Imagination Library books for their personal libraries. Of families surveyed, 100% reported that they are sharing the books with their children; half of these say they do this on a daily basis and the other half say they share books on a weekly basis.

In addition, Growing Minds has delivered one-to-one support sessions, Peep Learning Together Groups, and a huge range of other activities, in spite of and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the support partners have offered has adapted and changed as a result. They have successfully engaged families with highly complex needs, and supported those families with a range of challenges, in particular mental health and low incomes. A learning report with more detailed analysis of the outcomes and lessons can be found here.

The intention for Growing Minds has always been for a model that could be scaled or replicated to benefit a larger cohort of families, perhaps across Oxfordshire. It remains the intention of the partners that this model should be primed for sharing, and we have now defined the key elements of Growing Minds necessary for replication.

As part of the transition to partner ownership, OCF is sad to be saying goodbye to Growing Minds Project Manager Suzy Donald, who has been building our knowledge base on educational inequality since 2018. We are so grateful to Suzy for all her hard work in researching the needs in Oxfordshire, and convening education and early years practitioners locally to co-design a holistic solution based on strong evidence of what works. She has been a committed, collegiate and well respected colleague amongst the delivery partners, and over the past few months has brought all her skills to bear to facilitate a planned transition into the hands of engaged delivery organisations. OCF’s staff and trustees wish her the very best for the future.

OCF will remain an advocate and ally of Growing Minds and other partnerships in the future, whilst focusing our efforts on bringing greater philanthropic support to charitable organisations in Oxfordshire. OCF is deeply committed to tackling the most pressing problems facing our county over the long term, building thriving communities via effective philanthropy and grant funding.

Our Common Good logoGrowing Minds was made possible by Our Common Good and is supported by a consortium of donors.

The full learning report for the first two years of Growing Minds can be seen here