Local charities make up the lifeblood of our communities. They make a daily difference to millions of people. That’s why community foundations across the UK are proud to announce, on Local Charities Day, that collectively we have distributed ONE BILLION POUNDS to local charities.
This milestone shows the impact that community foundations have had on local communities in the UK. In the last year alone we distributed £77 million in grants, and 4.7 million people were impacted by our work.
From floods to fuel poverty to food banks, we support communities where they need it the most. Between us we reach every postcode in the UK, and this reach means that we support the very smallest charities and community groups, who often go unnoticed by many. But it’s these charities that are a lifeline for so many people and desperately need our support.
Take for example, Oxfordshire Community Foundation’s Health and Wellbeing campaign, which asks local people to give unneeded Winter Fuel Payments so that grants can be made to local charities that are helping people who are lonely and isolated in Oxfordshire.
Marjorie, who is in her 80s, was living alone in sheltered housing, and suffered from low self-esteem. Thankfully she was put in touch with Full Circle, a small charity that supports older people to volunteer with children in primary schools across Oxfordshire. Full Circle promotes positive contact between the older and younger generations, with groups meeting weekly for an hour during term-time. Members of the group find out about each other’s lives and personal histories, while talking, playing games and learning new skills together. Since starting to volunteer, Marjorie has had to buy a diary for the first time in years because her life has become full again. She says Full Circle has made a huge difference to her feelings of self-worth and her emotional well-being.
Full Circle has been supported with regular grants from Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF), and recently benefitted from emergency financial and advisory support when they were struggling to make ends meet. OCF helped them make strategic changes to their model that have enabled them to become more sustainable and expand their services.
Marjorie and so many others like her, up and down the country, rely on this help. The 46 community foundations across the UK support anyone that needs help – be it providing funding for a school breakfast club so that local children can have at least one hot meal a day, or giving a grant to an organisation that supports young people into training or employment.
Peter Aldous, MP of Waveney, Suffolk, asked Theresa May at PMQs yesterday to recognise the important work which community foundations carry out across the UK. The Prime Minister committed to investigating better use of dormant assets, which community foundations can revive:
Fabian French, Chief Executive of UK Community Foundations, said “At UK Community Foundations we’re proud to work with incredible local charities day in day out. We understand the needs of the communities we work in and direct grants to causes that will meet that need and will make the biggest difference. That’s why we passionately support Local Charities Day and why community foundations are what the Chair of the Charity Commission says ‘exactly what charities should be’.”
In Oxfordshire, you can support your local community foundation by making a donation to the Health and Wellbeing Fund at here. This will help us reach TWO billion pounds nationally, so that we can continue to support local communities.