Historic Oxford charity venue to be given a makeover thanks to Lottery funding
The historic Oxford Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre, based in the heart of the City at St. Ebbe’s, has been given a boost. Thanks to £50,000 funding from the Big Potential Advanced Fund, the charity is now looking at plans for the future of the Centre and can seek support from other social lenders to deliver these plans.
The iconic Centre, which recently merged with Deaf Direct, has served as a hub of community activity for D/deaf people in the county for 60 years. Services currently available from the Centre include sign language interpreters, sign language classes, specialist equipment, coffee mornings for hard of hearing people and D/deaf sign language users. The Centre is regularly used by the Hard of Hearing Club, Oxfordshire Deaf Children’s Society, Deaf Club and Deaf Church. The venue is also well used by the wider local community including the Blood Donor Service and a range of activity groups.
The Centre is a regular participant in Oxford Open Doors events due to its Grade II Listed Tudor Cottage and boasts one of the oldest preserved features from the original city wall – a stone arch doorway.
However, despite the intriguing history behind the Centre, it is in desperate need of renovation. The existing buildings are in poor condition and expensive to run. Depending on further social investment, plans are being put in place to turn the Centre into a modern building which will continue to serve both the needs of D/deaf and hard of hearing people alongside those of the local community. The funding from Big Potential Advanced is therefore much-needed.
Big Potential is a Big Lottery Fund grant programme that will deliver approximately £20m of grant funding over three years to eligible voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations with the aim of improving their sustainability, capacity and scale in order that they may deliver greater social impact.
The programme has two routes; Breakthrough and Advanced. Big Potential Breakthrough helps VCSE organisations work out how social investment might work for them. Big Potential Advanced helps VCSE organisations with strong proposals apply for investment or challenge for contracts.
Big Potential is administered by Social Investment Business* for the Big Lottery Fund*, in partnership with Locality, Charity Bank, Social Enterprise UK, and the University of Northampton.
Philip Gerrard, CEO of Deaf Direct, commented,
“We are proud of the Centre’s rich history and renovations will make the best of the unique features the buildings have to offer. However, thanks to funding from the Big Potential Advanced Fund, we are hoping to encourage other social lenders to help us bring the Centre into the 21st Century and make it a building which is accessible for all communities in Oxford. We are working with a local firm, Oxford Architects LLP, to make plans which will protect the future of the Centre and the communities it serves.”
If you are living with hearing loss in Oxfordshire and would like support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01905 746 301.
* Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 BIG has awarded close to £6bn.
The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
In the year ending 31 March 2013, 28% of total National Lottery revenue was returned to the Good Causes. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, over £30 billion has now been raised and more than 400,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.
Social Investment Business
Social Investment Business provide loans, grants and strategic support to charities and social enterprises to help them change the lives of the people they work with.
They have helped hundreds of organisations become more resilient and sustainable so that they can grow and increase their impact.
They were one of the UK’s first social investors and since 2002 have provided over £380 million of loans and grants to charities and social enterprises.