The Didcot Powerhouse Fund is entering its third year of grant-giving to the local community and, from December 2023, will be inviting applications for its 2024 round of grant-giving. A great deal of positive progress has been made to date.
In just 2 years since its launch in November 2021, The Didcot Powerhouse Fund has made grants totalling over £175,00 to charities and community-dedicated organisations in and around Didcot.
There were 17 recipients in 2022 and 18 in 2023, with some receiving grants in both years to help sustain their vital projects. At least 90% of the beneficiaries of Powerhouse grants live in the wider Didcot area.
Elizabeth Paris, Powerhouse Chair, said: “Our mission is to ensure that smaller charities and volunteer-led community organisations don’t miss out on grants, and we have discovered that some of our grant beneficiaries then build the confidence to reach out for additional grant funding from other sources too. This is extremely positive and is a halo-effect of Powerhouse’s support for them at a grassroots level.”
Projects powered by the grants have extended across education, health, and mental wellbeing, bringing people and organisations in the community together. Examples include something many take for granted: All Yours has donated 308 period boxes to schools and community partners since March 2023, supporting an estimated 770 periods for individuals who may be unable to afford these essential products.
My Vision Oxfordshire works with visually impaired people who are typically aged 55 to 90, and they report that the sessions held so far have increased feelings of wellbeing for participants by up to 75% and above.
The group offers activities and opportunities to meet new people in a relaxed setting. Work opportunities are important, and The Buck Project’s employability programme has 10 new participants actively seeking local employment and volunteering opportunities.
Sara, a successful case study for the project, had suffered mental health issues but has now found a role with Buck Project’s support to get back into work. Another crucial area of mental wellbeing that Powerhouse has helped with is a new organisation and grant recipient, The Cornermen. They reach out to men in the Didcot area struggling with suicidal thoughts and related mental health challenges.
Co-founder Steve James said: “The majority of the 53 users of our service are Didcot-based. Former users of the service are volunteering with us, and we have organised several social events together such as walks. We have received many new enquiries and hope to extend our support to newcomers in the future.”
A full list of grant recipients and their projects can be found here, and the good work has not stopped there.
The Didcot Powerhouse Fund has recently launched the Powerhouse Pathway in partnership with registered charity SOFEA. The scheme provides pre-apprenticeship career pathways for local young people who may otherwise struggle to engage with further education and jobs.
For employers, the pathway programme offers an opportunity to hire and train young people for jobs, knowing that the pastoral care of the students is overseen by SOFEA staff, creating a best-fit scenario for everyone involved.
The Didcot Powerhouse Fund is going from strength to strength, but to do this effectively, it needs more organisations and people to donate and fundraise, so if you can help, please get in touch.