Oxfordshire Community & Voluntary Action (OCVA) and Community First Oxfordshire (CFO) are excited to launch the Well Together Programme.
What is Well Together?
Well Together is an NHS-funded grants programme which recognises the essential role community and voluntary organisations play in addressing health inequalities at a local level. The programme will invest in community-led health and wellbeing activities and projects for all ages – children, young people, and adults. Well Together will provide funding and support for new and existing groups and organisations in 10 priority areas in Oxfordshire. Funding can be used to expand the reach and impact of existing projects, or to establish new ones. Well Together seeks to complement existing programmes of work and funding in this area. As well as supporting with immediate health and wellbeing needs, the programme aims to address the root causes of preventable health conditions, enabling healthy independent living for longer, whilst helping to build more connected communities. Up to £100,000 is available until November 2025 for each of the 10 priority areas. The Well Together team will work in collaboration with local community networks to decide how funding will be distributed. Please see below for further information, including details on the priority areas, the eligibility criteria, examples of activities that may be funded and next steps.
The 10 Priority Areas
The Well Together Programme will provide funding for new and existing groups and organisations running activities in the following 10 priority areas in Oxfordshire:
- Abingdon Caldecott
- Banbury Neithrop
- Banbury Grimsbury
- Banbury Ruscote
- Blackbird Leys
- Central Oxford
- Greater Leys
- Rose Hill
The majority of attendees would need to be from the priority wards for activities to be eligible for funding. The Well Together programme particularly seeks to support people who might be experiencing poorer than average health access and outcomes, including ethnic minority communities; people with learning disabilities; people with multiple health conditions; people experiencing homelessness; people affected by drug or alcohol dependency; Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities; vulnerable migrants; people who have undergone gender reassignment; people who are pregnant or on maternity leave; victims of modern slavery; people in contact with the justice system, and other groups experiencing exclusion.
Which health inequalities does Well Together aim to address?
Well Together aims to address inequalities identified by the NHS. These include:
- Ongoing maternity care, especially for Black, Asian, and ethnic minority communities
- Mental health support for children, young people, and adults
- Early cancer diagnosis
- Preventing health concerns (such as chronic respiratory disease and high blood pressure) by increasing physical activity and promoting healthy eating
- Tackling obesity and encouraging healthy weight loss
- Encouraging people to look after themselves and stay healthier for longer
- Supporting people to stop smoking
- Reducing harmful drinking or drug behaviours
- Helping children to access dental healthcare
The above areas have been selected as they can have the biggest impact on avoidable mortality, helping to narrow health inequalities.
What kind of activities might be funded?
Well Together will fund activities which help to address the health inequalities mentioned above. The fund is available for new activities, or to support groups and organisations to scale up existing activities. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Community initiatives to support healthy eating, such as community larders, mentoring groups, cooking classes, breakfast or afterschool clubs
- Support for mothers and babies, including parent mentoring groups
- Initiatives to promote physical activity, including exercise classes, sports clubs, cycling groups and walking groups
- Activities to support mental health and wellbeing, including community cafes, and walking and talking groups
- Activities which support connection and relieve isolation, including befriending schemes, bereavement support groups, and initiatives encouraging connectedness (such as arts and crafts clubs, community gardening or coffee mornings)
- Life skills mentoring sessions or campaigns, including a focus on health and wellbeing
- Support groups helping people to stop smoking, or which help to reduce harmful drinking or drug behaviours
- Initiatives or campaigns supporting community members to attend health checks and receive vaccinations
Please note that funding will only be awarded for regular or ongoing activities, such as weekly, fortnightly, or monthly sessions over a sustained period. Well Together will not fund one-off or short-term events. Funding can go towards costs directly associated with providing the activities, including ongoing running costs, project costs (including staffing), essential equipment, and promotional costs.
How much funding can groups apply for?
We anticipate that the average grant provided to groups and organisations is likely to be in the region of £3,000-£15,000. However, there is scope for larger grants for activities that address multiple health inequalities, and/or which are present in more than one of the key areas listed. We also encourage hyper-local, smaller groups to apply for funding, which may be less than £3000.
Which groups or organisations are eligible to apply?
Groups or organisations must be operating in at least one of the key areas listed. Funding can be allocated to the following types of organisations: charities, community interest companies (CIC), registered companies with charitable status, co-operative community benefit societies, social enterprises, and community groups. Where informal community groups exist that are addressing health inequalities in the key areas, we recommend seeking out an eligible ‘host’ organisation who can jointly apply with you. Well Together will not fund private organisations or individuals. If you aren’t sure if you meet the eligibility criteria and want to discuss your project with us before applying, please contact the Well Together team, who will be happy to help.
What are the requirements for reporting?
Showing the impact that community-based activity can have on preventing ill health and reducing inequality is an important part of the Well Together programme. If you are awarded funding, you will be asked to engage with collecting data and measuring the impact of your work. The Well Together team will support with this process, ensuring groups and organisations can focus on the delivery of activities. The monitoring process will include:
- A mid-point and end of programme survey, providing an overview of the number of activities delivered, attendance at activities, and working with attendees to identify other impact measures most suited to your group and activity.
- Sharing a short, optional questionnaire with attendees, which will be anonymous.
- Working with us to gather stories of impact.
We will also be looking for groups and organisations in each area who are open to more in-depth focus groups and case studies – which will be created in partnership with the relevant organisations. If you would be interested in participating, please let us know in the Expression of Interest form.
What support is available from the Well Together team?
Groups and members of the community are encouraged to come forward with their ideas and any questions about Well Together or the application process. The Well Together team can provide support with the application process where needed. The team will offer ongoing support at the later stages of the programme, for example helping organisations to gather stories of impact, advising groups on how to reach a wider audience, and helping to signpost groups and organisations to further networks and support.
What are the next steps, and how do I apply?
Anyone interested in applying for funding should complete an Expression of Interest form, which can be accessed here. We will also be hosting drop-in sessions in January – February 2024, to share further information and to answer any questions.
Please note that due to a high volume of applications in Blackbird Leys/Greater Leys, we are introducing a deadline of 27 March 2024 in this area only to ensure groups don’t miss out on funding.
The Well Together team will work with local networks as part of their process for developing Well Together funding plans in each local area.
The first 20% of the Well Together funds are being allocated in Spring 2024, with further funding being released later in the year. There will be ongoing conversations at a local level, identifying remaining priorities for the community which may require further support. We aim to distribute all funds by November 2024. The Well Together programme will close in November 2025.
If you have any questions or if you need the application form in a different format, please email [email protected] or telephone: 01865 251946.
- Tuesday 23 January, 11.45am – 1.45pm: The Oxford Hub, C/O Windale Primary School, Windale Avenue, Oxford, OX4 6JD (Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys)
- Thursday 8 February, 10.30am – 12.30pm: New Road Baptist Church, Bonn Square, Oxford OX1 1LQ (Central Oxford).
- Monday 12 February, 11am – 2pm: Well Together have a stall at the New Year Wishes event, Burchester Place Community Hall (Banbury Grimsbury)
- Tuesday 13 February, 11am – 1pm: Barton Neighbourhood Centre, Underhill Circus, Headington, OX3 9LS (Barton)
- Thursday 15 February, 10.30am – 12.30pm: Rose Hill Community Centre (Youth Room), Carole’s Way, Rose Hill, Oxford OX4 4HF (Rose Hill)
- Thursday 22 February, 1-3pm: Abingdon Carousel, Caldecott Chase, Abingdon, OX14 5GZ (Abingdon Caldecott)
- Wednesday 28th February, 1-3pm. The Hill Community Centre, Dover Ave, Banbury OX16 0JJ (Banbury)