Healthy Hearts

These grants aim to improve or maintain cardiovascular health, including raising awareness, increasing knowledge of the issues, and promoting positive behaviour, such as increased physical activity and reduced smoking. Funding for these grants has been made available from Oxfordshire County Council, Public Health.

Amounts available: £2,000–£25,000

Max group annual income: £2,500,000

Type of cost: Project or running costs associated with the preferred outcomes or beneficiaries

Closing date: Midday on Monday 14th February 2022


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes a quarter of all deaths in the UK and is the leading cause of premature deaths in vulnerable people (those experiencing homelessness, with mental health conditions or who live in deprived areas), where smoking rates are between three and eight times higher than average.

The NHS Long Term Plan identifies that CVD is the single biggest condition where lives could be saved by the NHS in the next ten years, and it recognises that too many people are still living with undetected, high-risk conditions such as atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure (BP) and raised cholesterol.

CVD is one of the conditions most strongly associated with health inequalities. If you live in England’s most deprived areas, you are almost four times more likely to die prematurely than someone in the least deprived. Furthermore, CVD is more common where a person is male, older, has a severe mental illness or their ethnicity is South Asian or African Caribbean.

Those in the most deprived communities are 30% more likely to have high BP, the biggest single known risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Public Health England analysis shows that 40% of preventable CVD deaths occur in the three most deprived deciles.

The Director of Public Health Annual Report 2019/20 identifies inequalities across Oxfordshire, and hones this down to the ten most deprived wards across the county, where outcomes are especially poor. These wards tend to have the lowest life expectancy, with higher rates of death from cardiovascular disease. They also tend to have the highest BAME populations in Oxfordshire.

There is a huge opportunity to make a difference in improving CVD outcomes, given that the majority of CVD cases are preventable. Risk factors, such as smoking, physical inactivity, obesity and drinking at unsafe levels, can all be modified to help reduce a person’s risk of developing CVD.

The evidence has also shown that CVD and COVID-19 severity are interconnected, and share common underlying risk factors, as highlighted in a Health Matters earlier this year. An evidence review, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool, shows that people with pre-existing CVD, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure experience more severe outcomes from COVID-19, including hospitalisation, ventilation and death, as well as being at greater risk of having a heart attack, stroke or developing some forms of dementia.

Preferred outcomes
  • An improvement in the cardiovascular health of Oxfordshire residents
  • An increase in the number and nature of smoke-free environments
  • A better understanding about the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease by community groups and residents
  • A positive change in referrals to existing Oxfordshire County Council commissioned lifestyle services in Oxfordshire
  • An increase in residents engaging with their local community in relation to their cardiovascular health
Preferred beneficiaries
  • Vulnerable people, such as those experiencing homelessness, mental ill health or addiction
  • Black and minority ethnic groups
  • Men
  • Adults aged 40+
  • Residents in the ten most deprived wards across the county at most risk from CVD:
District Ward
Oxford City Northfield Brook

Rosehill and Iffley

Blackbird Leys


Barton and Sandhills


Cherwell Banbury Ruscote

Banbury Cross and Neithrop

Banbury Grimsbury and Hightown

Vale of White Horse Abingdon Caldecott
What to expect

Before you apply we strongly recommend you read the grant eligibility criteria, and look over the reference materials listed at the bottom of this page.

In addition, two online skills workshops will be run on 14th January and 4th February by OCF and Public Health, for potential applicants to discuss the preferred outcomes and the monitoring of grants awarded, and ensure you have the best chance of succeeding. You can register for this workshop now on EventBrite.

Following this workshop, you are encouraged to schedule time to talk to Public Health to refine your final project bid.

The online application form will require you to supply specified documentation showing evidence of good governance, as well as an appropriate referee. Your organisation needs to have minimum one year of operation; if you have been constituted for less than one year but have been active for longer, please demonstrate this activity.

Your application will be assessed by the OCF grants panel and a representative from Oxfordshire County Council, Public Health. Successful grants will be paid by 30th April 2022. Your project must be completed by 31st March 2023.

Applicants must agree to have at least one person attend at the minimum a one-hour Very Brief Advice (VBA) training (provided by Oxfordshire County Council) within two months of the project starting. Other free training is available and encouraged, for example, MECC training or e-cigarette training. Details will be sent to successful applicants.

Dates and timings

Early applications are always appreciated.

Opening date Closing date (midday)
Tuesday 4th January 2022 Monday 14th February


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