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Covid-safe transportation funding gives invaluable support to residents across southern Oxfordshire

Vulnerable residents in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse have been able to get to vaccination appointments and receive food parcels thanks to £136,363 of funding awarded to local voluntary and community organisations to provide Covid-safe transportation.

The South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils were able to grant 12 organisations funding of between £1,000 and £15,000 each to help with the costs of arranging and providing Covid-safe transportation to spend on costs like petrol, wear and tear on vehicles and buying PPE supplies.

In South Oxfordshire organisations received £74,000 and in the Vale of White Horse £62,363 was awarded to voluntary and community groups across the district. For many organisations this financial support was invaluable, especially at a time when resources were stretched, and other means of fundraising had stopped due to the pandemic.

Voluntary and community organisations were able to use the money in a range of ways including transporting people to medical appointments and to get their Covid-19 vaccinations; getting people to the supermarket to do their essential shopping; and delivering medical or food supplies to vulnerable residents.

Syrian Community Oxfordshire, who work in Didcot, Garsington and Wallingford in South Oxfordshire, received a grant of nearly £11,000, which enabled them to cover fuel costs to deliver food to vulnerable families.

Hadi Nuri, Director of Syrian Community Oxfordshire said: “This grant was crucial to sustaining our food service to keep supporting the vulnerable around the district. It helped to keep our food parcel delivery system active to cover many houses in the district. The demand for our service has increased in some areas and many families rely on this service.”

Connection Support, who work in towns across the Vale including Abingdon, Ardington, Great Faringdon, Grove, Kennington, Milton, North Hinksey and Wantage were awarded £13,750 to cover fuel costs to help deliver food, lateral flow tests and PPE and safely transport vulnerable residents to Covid testing facilities.

Carol Steel, Income Generation Manager at Connection Support said: “We were delighted to receive this vital funding, which enabled us to make sure that some of our most vulnerable clients received the essential support they needed”.

“Some of our clients are former rough sleepers who have been housed in temporary accommodation as a result of the pandemic. This support has enabled us to ensure that they continue to receive support visits, PPE and the essential items they need to maintain independent living, with minimum exposure to the risk of infection.”

Cllr Maggie Filipova-Rivers Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing at South Oxfordshire District Council said: “Awarding these grants to organisations who are working with vulnerable people in our districts has meant that they were able to directly support those who needed help”.

“These local organisations are playing such a valuable role in this way, and I’d like to thank them for their dedication and hard work. Getting people to vaccination appointments safely and accessing food and other essential supplies has been an absolutely vital part of supporting people through the pandemic.”

Cllr Helen Pighills, Cabinet Member for Healthy Communities at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “The grants have enabled voluntary organisations to provide very practical support for vulnerable residents in our communities who have been affected by Covid-19. The positive impacts are clear to see as these organisations dedicate their time and expertise to help ease the challenges residents have faced by providing for their essential needs such as access to food and safe transport.”

The grants were awarded by the district councils from the Contain Outbreak Management Fund Transportation grant scheme, a government fund to help stop the spread of Covid-19.


Notes for Editors

Organisations that could apply for funding were:

  • Constituted and not for profit community and voluntary organisations
  • Constituted foodbanks and food projects including larders and community fridges supporting vulnerable residents affected by the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Town and Parish Councils
  • Town and Parish Councils who are collaborating with un-constituted third-party groups e.g. Covid-19 community response groups, mutual aid groups
  • Community interest companies
  • Non-profit businesses

Images: food parcels prepared by Syrian Community Oxfordshire