Oakfield Community Response Fund supports over 6400 people

Oakfield has community at its roots. So when the UK went into lockdown in spring 2020, we wanted to provide support to the charities, not-for-profits and community groups that do so much for people and families in the Swindon area. Working with the Wiltshire Community Foundation, we created a fund for local groups to apply for grants of up to £10,000. 

Fast forward just over a year later and the fund has achieved so much. Over 6400 individuals have benefitted from the fund and £95,000 worth of grants have been awarded to 22 projects across the town and surrounding areas.

Funded by Nationwide Building Society, Oakfield’s lead sponsor, the fund had close ties with their social investment aims for everyone to have a place fit to call home. Grants were awarded based on three key themes.

• Helping people into homes

• Preventing people from losing their homes

• Helping people to thrive in their homes

Charities such as Swindon Night Shelter, provide access to food, hygiene facilities and information to those experiencing or facing homelessness, while SWA (Swindon Women’s Aid), support women and their children experiencing domestic abuse in its purpose-built refuge. It also delivers services such as drop-in clinics at doctor surgeries and runs programmes to educate children on healthy relationships. The Harbour Project exists to give friendship, advice and hope to refugees and asylum seekers across Swindon.

Thriving in your home isn’t just about having a roof over your head, food in your belly and a safe and secure home environment. The idea of ‘home’ extends beyond four walls and can also refer to the wider community in which you live. Many organisations we awarded grants to support people to build their confidence outside of their home, make new friends, and overcome obstacles in their life.

Through mentoring programmes in schools and colleges, SMASH supports children and young people with their mental wellbeing, helping them manage anxiety, build self-esteem and support in incidents of trauma, such as bullying. Charities like MHA aim to help older people to live their later lives independently and well through running friendship groups, hobby classes and support services for activities like food shopping.