Today OCF is opening two new grant funding opportunities: the COMF (Contain Outbreak Management Fund) grants from the county council; and Community Integration. Grants from £500 to £10,000 are available for running costs, project or capital expenses, or events.
OCF is thrilled to be able to channel a large pot of county council COMF funding to charitable organisations across Oxfordshire. The COMF funding is designed to enable organisations that delivered emotional and practical support during the pandemic to continue to offering vital services that support communities and residents. There are separate application forms for small and large grants.
In parallel, OCF is opening its Community Integration grants, with the same closing date of Thursday 16th June 2022. This funding supports work that brings people from different backgrounds together around the place they live, building long-lasting relationships between people of different ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds or ages.
Importantly, we want to ensure applicants are aware that each charitable organisation can only apply to one of these grants rounds. To help decide which application to spend time on, we recommend taking the following into account:
- Start by looking over the general eligibility criteria for all our grants. These will tell you at the most basic level whether or not you can apply at all.
- The COMF funding has a wider remit than Community Integration. As well as continuing to deliver vital services to support communities and residents, this funding also aims to provide sustainability for the Voluntary and Community Sector post-pandemic, to enable communities to recover and renew. If you are unsure about which round of funding best fits your activity, it is likely that COMF will be more appropriate.
- The Community Integration grants are focused on bringing people from different backgrounds together. So to be eligible you must be working with more than one beneficiary group, and be carrying out work that proactively brings them into meaningful contact with each other. For example, if your organisation is focused on making older people less isolated, you should only apply to Community Integration if the work has an intergenerational element. If it doesn’t, consider applying to COMF.
- Through the Community Integration we would like to fund place-based activity, such as building lasting connections between different groups of interest or demographic in a particular village or neighbourhood, increasing people’s sense of belonging to that place. If the activity for which you are applying covers a much broader area, it is likely to fit better with COMF.
As for all grant applications, if you feel you are ‘shoehorning’ a project into the theme for a round, it probably isn’t worth spending your valuable time applying. Apply for the amount your organisation genuinely needs, even if it is below the maximum available, and get your application in early if you can so that we can iron out any issues. We share more advice in our top tips for grant applicants.
The three different application forms (COMF small, COMF large and Community Integration) have different terms around the amounts you can apply for, the maximum size of your organisation, and the level of complexity in the application process. We recommend visiting our grants landing page first to directly compare these side by side, before deciding on which fund to apply to.