The Didcot Powerhouse Fund is a new and exciting Donor Advised Fund and force for positive change inside the Didcot Garden Town Area of Influence, and its 2022 theme is ‘Supporting children, young people and families as we emerge from a pandemic’.
The fund will attract donations from companies, grant bodies and philanthropists, and its primary function is to use this to dispense grants to sustain organisations working on the ground in the Didcot community.
This funding will help deliver more and better community services and, in doing so, will help address inequalities that exist in the town, giving everyone access to what they need, from the cradle to the grave.
Didcot is the largest town in South Oxon and growing. It is a vital part of the broader Oxfordshire Innovation Engine, driving the local economy and attracting leading science, R&D, technology, engineering, and innovation companies to the area.
However, Didcot features in the top 20% of the Index of Multiple Deprivation in England, whilst adjoining, more affluent neighbourhoods feature in the bottom 20% of the index. 1 in 5 people in Didcot have no educational qualification, and 12% of children live in poverty. Additional financial and practical support is needed to support the community.
Elizabeth Paris, Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire and a member of the founding body, said: “The Didcot Powerhouse Fund has received a groundswell of support from Milton Park, Harwell Campus, Culham Science Centre, Evotec, Hachette Distribution, Ipsen, and Soha, as well as individuals who are dedicated to making a difference locally. This extraordinary energy, driven by visible need, has lifted the project off the ground.”
Lord Vaizey of Didcot is the new Patron of The Didcot Powerhouse Fund and, at a recent Key Stakeholder Information event for the fund, was delighted to announce that he has raised over £21,350, including Gift Aid, from running the recent London Marathon.
This contributes to the headline fundraising total amount raised of over £100,789, derived from corporate sponsors, local businesses, and pledges, for the next 2 years.
Ed Vaizey said: “We need more donors and to work as a collective force if we are to ensure the Fund can sustain the Didcot community into the future, to provide grant applicants with the money they need to deliver hope to many more people.”
The fund will open for grant applications in Q1 2022, and A Grants Panel of people with local insight will ensure that grants go to organisations demonstrating partnership with others, a high level of local impact and with a minimum of 90% of beneficiaries living in the Didcot Garden Town Area of Influence. Businesses will benefit by being able to streamline their giving into a fund that demonstrates positive outcomes in a highly transparent and accountable way.
Philip Campbell, Commercial Director MEPC Milton Park, said: “Having worked at Milton Park for over 15 years now, I have had the privilege of supporting many world-leading, innovative businesses and seeing the science sector go from strength to strength.
“Through my involvement with Didcot First, I have also seen social challenges that affect the area, which are often hidden by the amazing economic statistics.
“I believe it is important for all businesses that the environment within which they operate thrives, and The Didcot Powerhouse Fund will give businesses a real opportunity to come together, to make a significant local impact.”
John Chaddock, CEO of Ipsen, said: “Ipsen is proud to be a Dynamo Donor at the launch of the Didcot Powerhouse Fund, providing vital support to confront deprivation within the Didcot Garden Town Area of Influence.
“Our company strategy recognises our impact on society as a key area of focus, and it is exciting to be able to work with the experienced and passionate Didcot Powerhouse Fund team to make a difference in the local community.”
Fiona Smart, who has overseen the fund’s communications, said: “The name ‘Powerhouse’ originated from local student Marc Hackett, capturing Didcot’s heritage as well as the energy that will fuel better futures in Didcot. Inspirational industry professionals have given their time to the project, together with the core team who initiated the fund, and this has enabled us to come a long way in a short time.”
The Didcot Powerhouse Fund was founded by Didcot First and local employers, professionals and volunteers, and it is administered by Oxfordshire Community Foundation, a registered charity.
There will be an information event hosted by the Didcot Chamber of Commerce at Cornerstone, Didcot, on 26 January 2022 for businesses in Didcot to find out more about the fund.
Visit didcotpowerhousefund.co.uk for more information.