Oxford City Council has announced that the £35,000 #WeAreOxford fund is open for applications.

This fund is “for organisations to deliver activities and events that bring people from different backgrounds together to build long last friendships.”

Successful grants will be between £500 and £5000 and may “include social activities, community events, cultural, and educational or sports [sic]”.

MT20 Shoryu Advert

Applications close on 9th March.

The central government is providing the money with the aim being “to strengthen communities and support migrants” following Brexit.

This is an extra grant, on top of the Council’s existing programme for grants, which includes small community grants and grants for voluntary and community groups.

On the aims of the #WeAreOxford fund, it states: “The aims of the fund are to support organisations to: bring people together from different backgrounds so they can spend time together and build long-lasting friendships.

“Encourage community organisations to set up activities and events that enhance community cohesion and integration, and finally to encourage organisations who represent different groups to work in partnership with each other.”

It will fund organisations including “community organisations, voluntary groups, charities, not-for-profit organisations, schools and educational institutions and sports clubs”.

On its website, Oxford City Council states “[w]e prefer applications where groups or organisations are working in partnership with each other”.

They “will prioritise areas of the City with the highest levels of diversity. These are Littlemore, Wood Farm, Cutteslowe, Leys” and prefer ongoing to one-off events.

Marie Tidball, Cabinet Member for Supporting Local Communities has said of the fund: “This grant fund gives a significant boost to the community activities that we can support as the Council.

“By bringing people together in community activities we aim to create a shared experience and help strengthen bonds across communities around what we have in common.

“The last three years has been difficult for everyone as the Brexit debate put so much national focus on our differences.

“Now we want to celebrate what we have in common, and build connections at a local level so that everyone feels part of Oxford.

“The #WeAreOxford grant fund will enable groups to organise activities that are right for their localities, age groups, and communities to build stronger connections for the future.

“This fund enables us to do even more to support our communities. I’d encourage organisations to look at how they can help build cross-community links.

“We would welcome joint applications that help different groups work together, and ideas that use the great assets the council funds like community and leisure centres as affordable venues at the heart of their local area.”

Kaya Axelsson, Oxford SU’s VP Communities and Charities, said: “As a student, and an international student, my world opened up completely when I started attending local public community events.

“When people are brought together in informal settings that changes our networks and provides us new pathways for building a community and a city together.

“I look forward to any event coming from this grant.”

After launching the campaign last month, Councillor Susan Brown said: “the Brexit debate has divided our country over the last three years. And now, we need to focus on the things … we share.”

The University and Oxford Hub have been contacted for comment.