Housing association residents hand out £30,000 to 33 local community groups

Thirty-three Oxfordshire charities and community groups will benefit from additional funding after residents of the county’s largest housing association handed out a total of £30,000 at an event on Saturday (9 March).

The money was provided by Sovereign Housing Association’s Regional Panel for Oxfordshire and Borders, which works on behalf of other residents to make a difference to the services Sovereign provides in Oxfordshire, Aylesbury Vale and South Northamptonshire. Sovereign owns almost 7,800 properties in this region.

The resident-led panel had a budget of £30,000 to spend on projects or initiatives that benefit neighbourhoods where Sovereign has properties, and they had asked for residents and community groups to bid for up to £1,000 in funding.

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A total of 56 groups were considered for funding, and they met on Saturday at the Royal British Legion Hall in East Hannay.

Joyce Ward, Chair of the Oxfordshire and Borders Regional Panel, said: “The event proved to be a great success. It was very pleasing to welcome so many organisations that work at grassroots level to make a positive impact to our residents’ lives and the communities in which they live.

“Our £30,000 budget was distributed amongst 33 community projects and the feedback from those attending the event was very positive. Many of these groups do valuable work in their communities and can make a relatively small amount of funding go a very long way,” she said.

Among the projects to benefit from funding were:

  • Root & Branch, in Watchfield, which provides therapeutic gardening and craft activities to adults coping with mental health issues
  • The DAMASCUS youth project in five villages around Abingdon
  • Wantage and Grove Street Pastors
  • The Wednesday Club, in Wootton, which provides elderly people with a social environment and outings to tackle isolation.
  • The Balsam Family Project, in Didcot, which provides parenting and home management skills
  • Oxford Sailability, which provides sailing for disabled sailors on Farmoor reservoir
  • Katharine House, an independent hospice in Banbury
  • Wantage and Grove Community First Responders, a group of volunteers providing life-saving services in their local community.

“This is absolutely brilliant, a brilliant opportunity and a great day. I feel very privileged,” said Naomi Clayton-Temple, of Booker Park School, Aylesbury, which received £1,000. The school caters for primary aged pupils with a wide range of special educational needs.

Another successful bidder, Pauline Wilson of the DAMASCUS Youth Project, said: “Achieving a wonderful grant today has been good, we’re so pleased. Thanks to Sovereign.”