Funding boosts from First Choice Homes Oldham to help community groups thrive after coronavirus   

THE first round of Respect Our Community Awards (ROCA) funding for 2021 has been launched by First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO).

The ROCA scheme runs until 5pm on Monday, April 12, allowing community and voluntary groups to apply for monetary grants of any amount up to £500.

The groups must be able to demonstrate how they plan to use the money to make a difference to the lives of local residents and their application is then judged by a panel which awards the grants.

This year, ROCA is arguably more important than ever after nearly a year of living with coronavirus and the challenges it has brought. Social distancing measures and restrictions have meant many community groups were forced to stop their activities, abandon plans or adapt (where possible) so they could safely operate throughout the pandemic.

Resma Patel, Funding and Partnerships Officer at FCHO, said: “With community centres remaining closed, we didn’t think we would be able to launch ROCA this spring so we were delighted when the government announced plans to ease restrictions over the coming weeks.

“It’s been such a difficult time for everyone and after almost 12 months of restrictions and limited social contact, the work of our local community groups is much-needed – more important than ever.

“We’d particularly love to see applications from groups who plan to use the funding to help our communities get back on their feet after the pandemic.

“Whether this is new groups to tackle loneliness and isolation, initiatives to help those still shielding or isolating or other innovative ways to boost our communities after one of the most challenging times in our lives; we’re looking forward to seeing what the people of Oldham have planned.”

As well as the standard application, this year FCHO has introduced video applications too. For more information and details on how to apply, visit

A community or voluntary group-registered bank account is required to apply, personal bank details will not be accepted.  Funding applications are especially encouraged from First Choice Homes Oldham tenants, however it is not an essential eligibility requirement.

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