Following the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, Cottsway quickly took action to extend the fund to include local projects set up to help vulnerable people during the UK lockdown, with funding going to:
Witney Land Army – £1,000 to help with items such as protective equipment, hand sanitiser and phone lines to ensure the volunteers can interact safely and easily with those in need.
St Mary’s coronavirus community response – £1,500 towards community support work in the Chipping Norton area, including a weekly craft bag to help keep local families entertained and an industrial fridge to help store chilled items for food parcels.
Children’s magazine giveaway - £1,200 to help fifty Cottsway customers with children aged 3-9 years old by offering free annual subscriptions to the Storytime magazine.
Cottsway has now opened its Community Fund for applications during 2020-21 and has already helped fund three further Coronavirus support projects - Carterton Community Assistance Group, Freeland Covid-19 mutual aid group and Bridewell Gardens, a mental health charity located near North Leigh.
Vicki Paxford, Communities Manager at the housing association, said: “It’s fantastic that Cottsway is in a position to be able to ‘give back’ to the communities we work in. Over the years we’ve been able support some great causes, most recently funding a local young leaders project, summer engagement activities and community outreach work.
“I’m very proud that we have been able to react so promptly to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis and provide grants to these local support projects. I’d encourage any other community groups who could benefit from additional funding to get in touch.”
Witney Land Army, a volunteer group based in the town, was set up in October to provide volunteers for community projects but has more recently extended its services to help local people during lockdown.
Vicky Gwatkin, joint founder of the group, said “Over the past few months we’ve helped hundreds of people in need, whether that be delivering food supplies or prescriptions, walking the dog or simply chatting on the phone with those feeling isolated.
“Cottsway’s funding has made a massive difference to the team and those we are helping, enabling us to reach out to even more people.”
The next round of Community Fund applications is now open until 30 September. To find out more see www.cottsway.co.uk/fund