Requests for COVID-19 charitable funding soar as philanthropists urge people to give

Oxfordshire Community Foundation’s latest grants round, opened last week in response to lockdown 3, has been overwhelmed with applications from local charities, indicating a great continued frontline need. The charity and its donors are therefore appealing for the public to give in support of this response.

Local grant-maker Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) established its Community Resilience Fund in April 2020 in response to the pandemic. The fund distributed over £730,000 in grants during 2020, with a focus on helping charities and community organisations across Oxfordshire reach all neighbourhoods and families in need. OCF funded 140 projects enabling food distribution, maintaining support and advice services, and moving essential work online. This video demonstrates the impact of some of the early funding.

However, there is still a huge and pressing need, with over £400,000 in applications received in less than a week in early January after a new lockdown was announced. For example, one disability charity says in its application: “Lockdown is particularly difficult for people with learning disabilities, many of whom were shielding as they are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. People with complex needs find it hard to understand the dramatic changes to their daily lives and have limited communication to ask questions and express their wishes. The suspension of support services affects their wellbeing.”

A mental health charity says: “Over the past three months we have noticed that the complexity of need has increased. This is especially apparent for the young people who are coming to us for support. People are really struggling and with the latest lockdown measures and we are expecting a further increase in demand.”

Other projects are looking to support vulnerable refugees, provide laptops to disadvantaged school children, or deliver wraparound support to people experiencing homelessness.

OCF CEO Adrian Sell comments: “It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the problems facing our communities at this time. But OCF is confident that there is a mobilised, expert and capable charity sector already doing a huge amount to respond to the needs. Charitable organisations are telling us that although they face unprecedented challenges, they are responding and adapting in an agile and resilient way. Supporting our appeal is a simple but proactive and important action that those with the means can take right away.”

In the words of Fran Perrin, whose Indigo Trust gave £500,000 to OCF’s Community Resilience Fund in April 2020: “We didn’t know who were the amazing charities that understand where need is in the community and have a real track record. We had total confidence that by giving to OCF, the money would go where it was most needed.”

Fran’s husband Will adds: “In this enormous crisis that will unroll over the next two or three years, people should give what they can afford – so we’d urge anyone who can to think about giving a little bit more in this terrible national crisis.”

If you would like to support your local community through the latest challenges you can donate online at oxfordshire.org/donate. Alternatively, post a cheque payable to “Oxfordshire Community Foundation” with a covering note indicating what your gift is for to 3 Woodin’s Way, Oxford, OX1 1HD.

Oxfordshire Community Foundation

The Oxfordshire Community Foundation is a champion for social change, harnessing the level of investment in our communities.

Kate Walker

Marketing Projects Manager

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