Cost-of-living grants - building resilience in 2023

We are launching a second round of cost of living grant funding, totalling £240,000, with a particular focus on building resilience. These grants are funded by OCF donors and £100,000 from Oxfordshire County Council, and will also be supported through a dedicated fundraising appeal. 

This follows our first round of cost-of-living grant funding in December 2022 made possible through Oxfordshire County Council, OCF donors and donations from generous trusts, businesses and individuals in response to our appeal.

Sadly, the huge rise in energy and food costs continues to affect the most vulnerable in our community. It has been estimated that from April 2023, Oxfordshire households need an extra £200 per month to cover increased bills. Oxfordshire’s network of grassroots charities is doing essential work to help people stay afloat until the picture is more hopeful.

In order to design this second round, we went back to our network for an update about the current critical challenges and published a report in May with our conclusions. The consultation showed that some charities are struggling to survive, let alone thrive. However, we can use urgent needs as a way in to building more resilience and continuing to mobilise the grassroots organisations that communities really trust in times of hardship.

As the window for applications is only 2 weeks, we have simplified the form and application requirements. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on or 01865 798666 with any questions. The team is available to provide support with your application.

Amounts available: £500–£10,000

Group annual income: Under £2,000,000

Type of cost: Ongoing running costs, including full cost recovery, project, capital and promotional costs

Closing date: Now closed to new applications

Asking our network of charity contacts

We asked our network of charity contacts to complete a short survey to find out their views on the biggest issues currently facing Oxfordshire communities as the cost-of-living continues to bite, and what type of activities needed funding support. We recognise that the need may be different from the issues being faced at the time of our first cost-of-living grants round in December 2022. We combined these results with the discussions from our consultation workshop. We aimed to maximise the impact of our grants funding planned for this.

Thank you to all who took part and we hope you recognise your contribution in the priorities and preferred outcomes for this grants round.

Read the results of the consultation

  • Minimum award: £500
  • Maximum award: £10,000
  • Funds cannot be awarded to cover costs already paid for
Types of costs
  • Ongoing running costs, including full cost recovery
  • Project costs
  • Capital costs
  • Promotional costs
Desired outcomes and example activities

Please note, these activities are only examples, and we welcome proposals for other activities that would also deliver the desired outcomes.

Preventative solutions that help individuals build employment and financial capability

  • Employability and digital skills support
  • Debt advice
  • Benefit and practical advice, particularly around reducing energy or housing costs
  • Initiatives such as sharing or repurposing essential items, transport share schemes, bike loan schemes

Support for mental and physical health and resilience, including: mitigating summer heat or autumn/winter cold; measures that contribute to the prevention of infectious diseases, such as COVID; and pressures on the acute health sector

  • Drop-in centres, including thermally comfortable spaces, lunch clubs, social clubs and family support groups
  • Regular community events to bring people together to alleviate loneliness and isolation and to encourage socialisation
  • Wellbeing support, particularly around supporting personal potential, social prescribing, physical health and use of green spaces
  • Practical advice on keeping homes a comfortable temperature (cool in summer or warm in winter)

Basic services for those in crisis to prevent them slipping into greater need

  • Food and meal distribution
  • Clothing
  • Accommodation

Charities adjusting to a greater demand for services, increased costs or needing to adapt their delivery approach to changed circumstances

  • Any extension of existing services, such as extended hours, reduced costs, food provision, transport
  • Staff time to rethink strategy and processes
Preferred beneficaries

We are looking to support those are already disadvantaged. This list is not exhaustive, but examples include those on low incomes, isolated older people, minoritised ethnic groups, people with mental and physical health challenges, asylum seekers or recent migrants, and people with a nomadic lifestyle, such as Gypsy, Traveller and Roma.

The estimated number of beneficiaries will be considered in the evaluation.

Preferred geography

Beneficiaries must be in Oxfordshire.

We encourage applications from across Oxfordshire’s diverse communities and geographies, and we particularly welcome applications from communities that have not previously accessed OCF funding opportunities.

Application requirements
  • All applications must set out how they would deliver one or more of the desired outcomes listed above, including what activities they would do.
  • All applicants must submit an itemised budget.
  • Successful applicants will be required to supply specified documentation showing evidence of good governance in order to receive funds. This includes bank account signatories, a bank statement, and audited accounts of the most recent financial year. If the most recent year is not yet available, management accounts or income/expenditure document will be accepted.
  • Successful applicants will be required to provide a safeguarding policy in order to receive funds.
  • Successful applicants will be required to use the OCF online monitoring form to be returned within 12 months of application (must be returned if applying for a subsequent grant).

Please also read OCF’s General Eligibility Criteria before starting your application, as these also apply.

Group criteria
  • Status: charity / CIO / registered company with charitable status / social enterprise / community group operating in Oxfordshire
  • Income under £2 million
  • Minimum one year of operation; if you have been constituted for less than one year but have been active for longer, you will be asked to demonstrate this activity
  • Reserves are generally expected to be a minimum of three months’ running costs, and if they are more than 12 months, an explanation will be requested
Dates and timings
  • Grants round opens – 5pm on Friday 9th June
  • Grants round closes – midday on Tuesday 27th June 2023
  • Funding decisions announced – by Friday 4th August 2023
  • Grants paid – by 31st August 2023 (contingent on successful applicants providing financial and governance information as set out in the application form)

Early applications are appreciated. As the window for applications is only 2 weeks, we have simplified the form and application requirements. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on or 01865 798666 with any questions. The team is available to provide support with your application.

Please read our General Eligibility Criteria for all of our grants programmes, before starting your application.

Grants overviewContact us