Nick Case formally took the Chair in March 2020, in an interim capacity, just days after COVID-19 was identified as a global pandemic and shortly before OCF was set to launch a range of events to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Here he reflects on his time in the role.
The cancellation of events was especially disappointing, as the then new High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, who had chosen OCF as the charity for her shrieval year and whose father-in-law had been one of our founders, was set to host our silver anniversary party. All efforts naturally switched to our coronavirus response.
OCF was fortunate to receive a very significant donation of £500,000, which underpinned our Community Resilience Fund (CRF), launched in March 2020. This, together with other funds from central government, Trusts, Foundations and individuals has allowed us to distribute over £1 million in COVID grants. Our grants panels, with support from a number of Trustees, worked incredibly hard throughout this period, distributing over £50,000 per week for an extended period during 2020.
Shortly after the launch of the CRF, our Chief Executive indicated a desire to stand down, after 10 years in the role. She introduced us to an individual who, after a short time working with us on a consultancy basis, was appointed Interim CEO from 1 July 2020. In October 2020, Adrian Sell was formally appointed to the role of CEO with effect from 1 January 2021 and has proved to be an extremely effective leader both internally and as the public face of OCF.
Over the last 12 months OCF has improved the depth and diversity of the Board through the recruitment of six new Trustees with a range of different backgrounds and skills (formal announcement of further new trustees will be shared very soon). We have completed a thorough Strategic Review of our activities, through an intensive half-day session involving all Board members together with a number of critical friends.
When Nick was confirmed as Chair at a Board meeting in July 2020, he agreed that this should be reviewed in early 2021, when his second 3-year term as Trustee came to an end. With the formal appointment of new Chair, Ian Busby, Nick has stepped aside to concentrate on chairing the newly established Development Committee. This will be responsible for developing relationships with both financial and non financial supporters, wherever they may be located, both to underpin our financial sustainability and to strengthen ties with communities across the county.
As part of this relationship development work, we were delighted that the Bishop of Oxford agreed to become a Vice President of OCF. We are now working closely with the Diocese to see how our different support networks and shared values can best be combined to bring further help to the disadvantaged in Oxfordshire. We are also in the process of developing closer ties with different elements of the University of Oxford including colleges, departments and a range of individuals with the aim of identifying opportunities for working together.