On 8th July we took the difficult decision to close our grant application process to ensure that we can continue to support the local charitable sector in tackling the longer-term fall-out of the virus, and be prepared for a second wave.
Update 12th August: a new COVID-19 Small Grants round has now opened, closing 9th September 2020, and details are available here.
The Community Resilience Fund opened for applications at the start of April, having quickly established a strong base of generous donations from the National Emergencies Trust and the Indigo Trust. Within two weeks we had distributed over £100,000 in emergency grants to charities at the frontline of the crisis, and supported many organisations with their core costs to avoid them having to close. As the pandemic reached its peak in the UK, OCF was averaging around £50,000 in grants made every week.
As the lockdown started to ease, we received fewer applications, with many charities and community groups finding ways to respond better to the initial crisis.
However, we are acutely conscious that the situation is far from over: as schools begin to assess the effects of lockdown on the most disadvantaged children, businesses are forced to make staff redundant, and homeless people are moved out of temporary accommodation, we are concerned that a deep, far-reaching and destructive socio-economic crisis is on the horizon. We are also aware of the distinct possibility of a second wave of infections, which may require different funding support.
This is why our trustees believe that OCF has a responsibility to plan and budget for the coming months and years, ensuring long-term stability rather than spending all available funds immediately. We are already working with charity partners to plan investments over the next few months that nurture a sustainable community response.
All of this means that, contrary to our previous intention, we will not be reopening the Community Resilience Fund to grant applications in the previous format.
Existing grant applicants should note that there are some applications still being processed, and that they will be notified in the coming weeks about whether or not these already submitted applications have been successful.
We have published regular updates about grant funding that has been awarded from the Community Resilience Fund, including a full list of organisations funded and a breakdown by area and type of work. The most recent update can be found here. In total 95 organisations have been funded so far, with 20% of grants supporting people with their mental and physical health; 11% to older people; 17% to people who are homeless or in poverty; and 31% to children and families. The largest proportion of funding has been to Oxford East constituency, reflecting the most populous area of greatest need.
It has been a privilege to support so many charitable organisations working so hard to support the most vulnerable members of our society, and to hear so many inspiring stories of the sector and adapting and responding so effectively to an unprecedented situation. We are deeply committed to standing with the sector over the long term, and to bringing our convening power and philanthropic muscle to support our partners to build the better world we are all yearning for.
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