Councillor priority fund: Applications to the councillor priority fund have reopened. The application process has slightly changed, requiring an online application and an email/letter of support of the councillor. Eligible organisations include, registered charities, not for profit companies, community or voluntary groups, and parish councils/meetings. Grants cannot be made to individuals, profit making organisations and private limited companies. Projects seeking funding must be deliverable by March 2025.
Electric Vehicle Chargers: OCC is set to receive £3.6 million to rollout EV charging points across the county. The priority will be to provide charging points in rural areas and where off-street home charging is not possible. Community organisations (e.g., parishes, village halls) may be able to take ownership of the charging points to provide them as a community asset and deliver a revenue stream. Further details will follow.
Air Quality Strategy: An OCC air quality strategy (long term) and ‘route map’ (short term) has been developed. While monitoring of air quality is a district responsibility, the Environment Act 2021 places a responsibility on the County Council to support districts and reduce air pollution. An information campaign will follow, which will include information on indoor pollution and log burning fires. 2
Social care: OCC runs a ‘shared lives’ carer scheme whereby approved Oxfordshire residents, with space in their own home, care for a person with learning difficulties, mental health problems or other needs that make independent living difficult. Carers can offer to provide one-off respite care, or longer-term care and everything in between. The scheme has been running successfully since 2020. More information for anyone interested can be found here. A scheme to match older residents with a spare room with younger people looking for alternative accommodation called Homeshare also runs as a way to provide older people with additional support / company. Both schemes are examples of the ‘Oxfordshire Way’ to allow people to live independently in their communities.
Verge cutting and ‘no mow May’: Oxfordshire County Council is again supporting ‘no mow May’ and encouraging participation. Due to the amount of verge cutting required, OCC has an updated maintenance schedule to prioritise biodiversity. However, OCC is not able to put away its mowers for a full month and still meet its schedule of work, meaning some areas will be cut in May. Verges that need to be cut to maintain public safety will be cut back multiple times if necessary.
Household waste strategy: Consultation closed on HWRC strategy 2023-2043. The strategy replaces the 2015 Conservative HWRC strategy which aimed to close local sites and deliver 3 or 4 super sites. The new strategy aims to retain the current 7 sites. The strategy encourages re-use and repair, rather than disposal in the first instance.
Hydrogen powered fire engines: Oxfordshire is taking part in a pioneering project to develop hydrogen powered fire engines
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Sustainable Warmth Grants: Funding for residents without mains gas, and household incomes of less than £30,000 (or in receipt of means-tested benefits) is still available.
Grants for care workers: Cost of living grants remain available for care workers.