Cost of Living FundDonorsGroupsImpactNewsOCFA smiling helper at a food bank is enjoying a hot drink with a visitor to the food bank.

Summer 2022 saw the launch of our Cost of Living Fund, bringing local funders together to take action on this critical and urgent issue. A large round of grant funding has been distributed – but the crisis is not over, and local charitable organisations still need philanthropic support to continue their life-saving work.

In response to our cost-of-living appeal, local donors have really stepped up, helping OCF to respond in an agile way, with practical support for day-to-day essentials, longer-term preventative solutions, and investments in charities’ running costs. Alongside £100k we had already set aside for this cause, we have raised nearly £200k from our generous donors, statutory partners and funders since autumn 2022, meaning we could award £286,167 in grants to grassroots community organisations before Christmas.

Our newly published interim donor report provides an insight into how the funds have been split around the county, the types of activity supported, and which organisations have benefited, giving a clear picture of what has been achieved in our communities. This support has been possible due to the overwhelming generosity of our donors, which we are hugely thankful for. Collectively, our donors were able to have a larger, targeted impact by channelling their cost-of-living support through OCF.  The power of our local philanthropic community working together means we can make a meaningful difference to more local people.

The ongoing need for support

Sadly, the huge rise in energy and food costs continues to affect the most vulnerable in our community, who still need our help. Inflation continues to be at its highest level in 40 years, with a rate of 10.5% in January. There was a near 17% increase in the price of food and non-alcoholic drinks over 12 months to December 2022, and a near 7% increase in costs for housing, water and energy bills. In April, Oxfordshire households are expected to need an extra £200 per month to cover increased bills.

Crucially, Oxfordshire has a precious network of grassroots organisations that are doing essential work to help people stay afloat in this crisis. However, these organisations are themselves at risk of going under. They are experiencing huge increases in the demand for their services, and have been facing rising costs which they cannot pass on to the people they help. Many are having to use up their reserves to keep going.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has said there is some hope on the horizon, with inflation slowing to 3% by the end of the year. If we let these organisations fail over the next nine months, it will take away an essential safety net that may not be replaced. We need to continue to offer support to stop a huge loss of social capital, and to preserve the investment made so far.

We have raised £200k so far from the general public, our generous donors and other funding partners. We would now like to raise a further £140k to support the next round of grant funding.

Reaching those in need

This is why Oxfordshire Community Foundation remains dedicated to raising awareness and funds to support the cost of living locally. We are committed to giving ongoing support to grassroots charitable organisations over the coming year, helping them to survive until the picture is more hopeful. These charities will continue to provide practical support to enable individuals to survive in the short term, alongside robust support structures and preventative solutions for them to thrive in the long term.

Prior to running a further round of grant funding in May/June, we will consult again with our charity partners to ensure we are having the most effective impact. This will enable us to focus the grants where there is greatest need.

How can you help?

You can help support these local charities to deliver this vital work by supporting our cost-of-living appeal. However large or small your donation, by combining your funds with others, you can make a bigger difference.

There are various ways you can donate:

  1. Online – The best way to donate to our Cost of Living Fund is online via our Enthuse donation platform. Enthuse gathers Gift Aid for us, making your donation go further, and makes the process easy for you. Donate online now
  2. Bank transfer – use our bank details shown here.
  3. CAF or cheque – If you would prefer to donate by CAF or cheque, please make it payable to “Oxfordshire Community Foundation”, write “Cost of Living Fund” on the reverse, and post it to us at 3 Woodin’s Way, Oxford, OX1 1HD.

For bank transfers, CAF or cheque donations we ask that you complete a Gift Aid form to boost the value of your donation.

You can also help us by spreading the word about our appeal amongst your networks. Just share our story on your social media.

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