Community Hub Emergency Relief fund

Emergency relief grants

About this grant

Community Hub Emergency Relief Grants are designed to support voluntary and community organisations tackling the economic impacts of COVID-19 on Cherwell residents.

Grants of up to £5,000 are available to support programmes of work that will relieve hardship and reduce food insecurity.  Proposals must satisfy one or both of the funding priorities:

  • meet the immediate needs of a significant number of residents who are struggling to afford food and/or essentials.
  • provide advice and information to a significant number of economically disadvantaged residents, to help them access longer term support they might need, such as benefits

Any project that is supported needs to be inclusive and to promote community cohesion. Partnership working is encouraged.


The funding for these grants is from Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) via Oxfordshire County Council and has been made available to Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, West Oxfordshire District Council and South and Vale District Councils to relieve hardship.

The fund is to available to support the work of voluntary constituted not-for-profit organisations working to relieve hardship in their community and prevent food insecurity. The type of project that can be funded includes but is not limited to community food banks and food projects including larders and fridges supporting vulnerable Cherwell residents during the COVID-19 crisis. Any event or project that is supported needs to be accessible to all and to bring communities together.

We offer grants of up to £5,000 per voluntary group to support programmes of work that reduce food insecurity and alleviate the hardships of residents in Cherwell during the COVID-19 crisis.  We may also consider what other funding or income your project has attracted or is trying to attract to enable the project or service to go ahead.

It is important to note when considering your application that the Council will be looking to encourage appropriate partnership/joint working.

The following categories of applicant are NOT eligible to apply:

  • Individuals;
  • Private businesses;
  • Statutory bodies;
  • Religious bodies where the monies will be used for religious purposes or religious buildings;
  • Political parties or political lobbying.

Note: Not-for-profit describes a type of organisation that does not distribute profits to its owners. All of the money earned by or donated to a not-for-profit organisation is used in pursuing the organisation’s objectives and keeping it running. Typically, not-for-profit organisations are charities or other community or voluntary groups.


The scheme is now open and will end on 31 March 2022 at 5pm or sooner if the finite budget is spent.

  • Grants will be assessed and awarded on a rolling basis until the budget has been expended.
  • Applicants will be notified within two weeks from the date of receipt by the Council.

What we can and can't fund

We will fund capital and revenue expenses:

  • Capital expenses may include: 
    • buying or replacing essential equipment e.g.
      • if a food bank or larder need a fridge to expand storage capacity
      • purchasing PPE equipment or
      • purchasing mobile phones for volunteer support lines
  • Revenue expenses may include:
    • supporting food bank/larder running costs
    • food supplies
    • utility, rental and staffing costs
    • non-food supplies: toiletries, sanitary products

We can't fund

  • Projects outside Cherwell District Council boundaries.
  • Any activity that does not assist the community response to the Coronavirus pandemic (regardless of whether a constituted not-for-profit organisation applies).
  • Statutory activities/requirements that either the council or another public-sector organisation is responsible for delivering.
  • Alcoholic refreshments.
  • Projects that specifically benefit private businesses.
  • Political activities, lobbying or campaigning.
  • Retrospective requests for activities that have already taken place

Eligibility - how your application will be assessed

We will score all the applications that meet our eligibility criteria according to the matrix below:

Funding priority Score
Identification of target audience
To what extent has the applicant identified the beneficiaries most in need of support as a direct result of COVID-19?
up to 25 per cent
Operational effectiveness
To what extent will the proposed project or service meet the immediate need and help those who are struggling to afford food and essentials due to COVID-19?
up to 25 per cent
Effectiveness of promotion and awareness-raising
To what extent will the applicant promote and raise awareness of the project or service to those in immediate need?
up to 25 per cent
Project deliverables 
To what extent has the applicant demonstrated how the project deliverables and beneficiaries will be identified and monitored?
up to 25 per cent

Application form

Before you complete your application

Apply for a grant

To receive the application form as a Word document, please contact Sarah Burns

Application advice and support

If you have any queries regarding the eligibility criteria, the application process or you cannot complete an electronic form, please contact Sarah Burns, Community Funding Officer.

Telephone 01295 221538 or email: