In its second year, the fund has been able to make grants totalling £80,000 to 18 organisations, ranging from £400 to £10,000.
Launched in November 2021 by local people to raise funds to support the local community, The Didcot Powerhouse Fund has already made a significant impact, with 17 charities receiving grants in 2022. The Powerhouse is about empowering local communities, and at least 90% of the beneficiaries of any Powerhouse grants must live in Didcot and the ‘Area of Influence of Didcot Garden Town’, including villages such as Culham, Steventon, Milton and Harwell. The theme for grants in 2023 is ‘mental health and well-being in these times of hardship’.
Many grants this year are for projects focused on supporting mental health across the community. This includes two grants to support mental health for men, a grant to provide mental health first aid training for charities, and therapy for Afghan refugees in Milton experiencing complex trauma. Continuing our focus on children and young people in 2022, there are grants supporting counselling for young people, mindfulness training for young carers in primary schools, and grants for projects supporting new parents and parent-infant therapy. Supporting well-being takes many forms. One grant is to provide period boxes for those on low incomes, while other grants are for projects that enhance the well-being of those with learning disabilities, older people with visual impairment, or those trying to find employment, as well as grants encouraging the well-being of young people through exercise and outdoor activities.
“The volume and quality of grant applications Powerhouse received was extraordinary, giving the grants panel an incredibly difficult task in deciding how to allocate funds. The panel are so pleased to be able to award grants to new charities this year as well as to award grants that sustain and enhance the projects launched in 2022. The applications highlighted the incredible work that so many local people, volunteers as well as charities, are doing to support the local community. The Fund received a total of 25 applications, requesting a total of £146,000 in grants, and I also want the applicants that did not receive a grant this year to know that they too are playing a vital role”. Elizabeth Paris, Chair and Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire
Patron, Lord Vaizey of Didcot said “I am so proud of all the great charities in and around Didcot and right now they deserve our support more than ever. The grants made by The Didcot Powerhouse Fund in 2022 have already had a significant impact on our communities and I am delighted that Powerhouse is able to make these new grants in 2023. It is so powerful to see local businesses and local people supporting their local communities in this way.”