OCF is seeking applications to the High Sheriff’s Community Integration Awards. The awards are grants of up to £5,000, given for work that brings together communities usually divided by ethnicity, age or social background.
The Community Integration Awards aim to address the problems of social segregation such as those witnessed in the context of the Grenfell Tower disaster, and reported on by the Equality and Human Rights Commission – instead uniting diverse communities of people around shared understanding and common purpose. In addition to the grant, successful projects will be recognised at an annual awards ceremony hosted by the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire.
OCF would like to support projects that have an explicit focus on building bridges between groups that do not usually integrate, and/or are delivered by a diverse group of people or organisations, working together to address a social issue. Such projects may demonstrate some of the following:
- Bringing together groups across different cultures, ages, faiths, or any other diverse groups
- Promoting joint approaches to problem-solving
- Ensuring understanding, shared knowledge and common purpose
- Improving communication and understanding between diverse groups
- Involving marginalised groups
- Addressing social isolation or exclusion.
Groups that have received a High Sheriff’s Community Integration Award in recent years include:
- African Families in the UK (AFiUK), which helps women from developing countries understand the role of the state in family life in the UK, and the opportunities offered
- Ark-T, whose Herspace project brings vulnerable young women together with older women at a local care home, who share experiences of the problems that they also faced when young.
Jayne Woodley, Chief Executive at OCF, says: “Here at OCF we have been moved the story of murdered MP Jo Cox, and found that her philosophy that we have more in common than that which divides us particularly resonated with us. We believe that the majority of people in Oxfordshire would agree with this sentiment.
“For this reason, we think there is already a great deal of wonderful community integration work happening across the county. These awards are the perfect opportunity for groups to share their work with us so that we can mobilise our networks of donors and volunteers to support and celebrate positive stories of mutual understanding and learning.”
OCF is particularly looking for applications from organisations that are collaborating across diverse groups.