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Community Integration Grants

OCF’s Community Integration Grants aim to bring people from different backgrounds together around the place where they live. We are looking to support new or existing activity that gives people a sense of belonging and ownership over their place; where traditionally marginalised voices are heard; and where everyone has a role in decision-making.

Amounts available: £500-£5,000

Group annual income: Under £1,500,000

Type of cost: Running costs, one-off events or a programme of events

Closing date: Thursday 16th June 2022 at midday

We are aiming to fund work that tackles inequality to improve community integration, with a particular focus on socio-economic and intergenerational inequality. We will prioritise work that engages marginalised and non-marginalised parts of the community together, building lasting connections between different groups of interest or demographic.

OCF has run regular grants rounds with the aim of improving community integration since 2017, thanks to the contributions of a small cohort of philanthropists interested in this issue. In April 2022 we carried out a consultation with the local charitable sector to help shape the terms of reference for this year’s grants round. This has informed the criteria listed on this page.

The pandemic provides an opportunity as well as a challenge, as it has united disparate communities around a common cause. Work that is capitalising on the connections already built in response to COVID-19 could greatly increase community integration.

Please ensure on your application form that you select a minimum of one from each of the preferred outcomes, preferred beneficiaries and activities below in order to be eligible.

Preferred outcomes
  • Improved community cohesion
  • Reduced social isolation
  • Improved access to services and support
  • Improved social networks
  • Increased understanding of community issues and priorities
  • Increased volunteering and social action
Preferred beneficiaries
  • People living in disadvantage
  • People of different generations – with a focus on older people
  • People of different ethnic origins
  • Refugees/asylum seekers
  • People with disabilities

Projects that are more general and not working with diverse beneficiaries are outside the scope of these awards.

Preferred activities
  • Community support and development
  • Groups that promote dialogue
  • Conflict resolution or peace-building activities
  • Recreational/social activities
  • Outreach service
  • Support groups
  • Befriending services
  • Arts/creativity/gastronomic cultural activity
  • Sport activity
  • Language development
  • Community events (one-off events maximum £500)
Key activity types

Following our consultation with the sector, OCF would like to fund activities organised in the following ways:

  • Activities that involve grassroots members of the community in devising their own projects
  • One-off cross-community events when balanced with long-term outreach and relationship-building
  • Activities that bring people together with a practical focus and sense of shared purpose
  • A charity’s existing activity may well fulfil the criteria
  • Both universal provision of services and work targeted at specific beneficiaries
  • Activity that prioritises acceptance and respect of diversity
  • Partnerships between organisations.

Some examples of types of activity are listed below. You can also see the sorts of projects that have been funded in the past here.

  • Mutual aid. Continuing and developing the work established during COVID-19 in local communities to promote integration between people from different backgrounds at the village or neighbourhood level.
  • Coordinating hubs. Community centres, community larders and other hubs are crucial to foster a sense of belonging to an area, and should be places where everyone feels welcome. They can also be places where partnership working happens.
  • Practical skills. We have seen positive outcomes from groups who have used sewing, gardening, woodwork, and many other skills that could help people from different backgrounds to work or develop a new hobby with others.
  • Sport. A team bond or mutual interest in a sport can build strong relationships. To create a level playing field, projects may require funding to provide the more disadvantaged with sporting equipment or bursaries.
  • Food. Groups who share their cooking and get people together over a good meal. Social enterprises using catering as a vehicle to bring people from different backgrounds into contact with the wider community and build long-term contact.
  • Arts and music. Activities that use the arts to build connections between a diverse range of beneficiaries in an area. This could include an event, but would have a higher priority for funding if it included further outreach that builds long-term relationships. (One-off events maximum £500)

Applications could be from one organisation or a collaboration of two or more.  For administrative purposes, one of the groups will be the applicant (and may be the catalyst for bringing groups together).  However, where groups have come together there should be evidence, supported by referees, of genuine partnership and equality in the way the idea has evolved and will work.

Dates and timings

Early applications are always appreciated.

Opening date Closing date (midday)
Thursday 12th May 2022 Thursday 16th June 2022

The grants panel will meet in mid July and grants will be paid by the end of July.

  • Grant to be spent within 12 months of date grant awarded
  • Payment will be made within 4-6 weeks of notification of success
  • Grant monitoring to be returned within 12 months of application (must be returned if applying for a subsequent grant)
  • Funds cannot be awarded to cover costs already paid for

You need to read the general eligibility criteria before starting your application.  Also, please ensure you select a minimum of one from each of the preferred outcomes, preferred beneficiaries and activity in order to be eligible.

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