Nick took on the role of Interim Chair one week after the government ordered lockdown, taking over from John Taylor, who stood down after four years, at the end of the last financial year.
Inevitably, much of Nick’s time has been spent on supporting the team during the current COVID-19 crisis, on understanding the additional challenges faced by the most disadvantaged in our communities, and as Nick says: “My immediate focus was to support our executive team as they worked to alleviate the suffering of so many across the county.”
OCF’s strategy for the Community Resilience Fund has now been agreed by the Board and processes put in place to ensure we are as effective as we can be with the resources available to us. Nick adds: “This includes having taken the difficult but vital decision that, whilst we would do all in our power in the Response stage of the pandemic, we must be mindful of new challenges that are likely to arise over time. This has meant us holding back some of our resources so that they can be deployed later in the year and beyond, as those challenges crystallise.”
Thinking beyond grant-making, Nick has also considered OCF’s wider role and future. He says: “Having been asked by the Board to continue in the role as Chair, I now intend to focus on the longer term and in particular on how we can become even more effective in harnessing the energy and resources of people and organisations who are willing and able to help us help communities across the county. We need to progress as best we can the programmes we already have in place, so that the planning that has been invested and the progress that has already been made are utilised fully. We have seen that our priorities of addressing homelessness, educational inequality and isolation are more important than ever. We will continue our work in identifying key issues and developing partnerships with other organisations to deliver change and new solutions.
“Like many not-for-profit organisations, OCF experiences an uneven pattern of income which challenges our ability to maintain continued growth in our core activities. To address this, we will be developing a Patrons Programme with the aim of strengthening and expanding our network of donors and supporters. This will help to ensure that OCF has the stability and infrastructure required to support the sector and benefit the people of Oxfordshire into the future.”