Witney-based manufacturer Meech Static Eliminators has made its first grants to two local organisations via the Meech Centenary Trust, a ring-fenced charitable fund held and managed by Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF). Equating to a total of £7,718, the grants were distributed to Base 33 (a charity supporting vulnerable young adults) and OCVA (Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action) as part of Meech’s commitment to supporting and investing in the local community.
OCF is an independent charity dedicated to inspiring local philanthropy and nurturing community-based solutions to key social problems across the county. As one of 46 community foundations based in the UK, OCF collaborates with private philanthropists, family trusts, businesses and the public sector to provide a permanent, flexible and growing source of local charitable funding.
The Meech Centenary Trust was established in 2013 to commemorate the company’s 100th anniversary. Chris Francis, CEO of Meech Static Eliminators, explains what drove him to set up the fund: “Over the decades, Meech has grown into a successful multinational business with interests in many markets, and it is because of this success that we feel we have a responsibility to engage with our local community and give something back towards it.”
It is through a close collaboration with OCF that Meech was able to identify causes that mattered to the company. It was during a grants panel hosted by OCF that Chris Francis chose the charities to support. “We have always had a specific interest in supporting projects that help young people to find work or get back into education in the Oxfordshire area, which is why we decided to donate to OCVA and the Base 33 youth charity.”
Located in Witney, Base 33 provides intensive support to vulnerable and disadvantaged young people between 13 and 24 years of age who experience a wide range of issues, such as abuse, homelessness, mental health illnesses, as well as drug and alcohol addiction. The charity’s key objective is to act as a resource for young people, providing advice, assistance and organising support programmes.
OCVA is a membership organisation that works in partnership with community groups and charities to enable a diverse voluntary and community sector to flourish in Oxfordshire. The funding Meech has provided is supporting OCVA to collaborate with Volunteer Link-up to co-ordinate Oxfordshire’s first Make A Difference (MAD) Week. Sixty Year 12 students from Bartholomew School near Witney will spend this week at one of ten local charities on projects designed to be empowering and mutually beneficial. The aim of the week is to equip students with the soft skills demanded by universities and employers, enlighten and educate community groups on how to effectively engage young volunteers, and embed a culture of volunteering in young people.
“We want our donations to be used to maximum benefit and hope that these organisations will have much to gain from our ongoing contributions,” concludes Chris. “These causes are close to our heart and we are proud to be working with a remarkable foundation such as OCF to help make a difference in the Oxfordshire community.”
Meech is also a member of the OCF’s ‘Reciprocate’ responsible business group, a membership network dedicated to bringing companies together to improve the lives of people in Oxfordshire. Being a member of Reciprocate empowers businesses to become more effective and strategic in their engagement with their local community and realise their charitable intentions through the power of many.