Money raised to commemorate the Queen’s 60-year reign will be used to improve the county’s literacy rates.
The Jubilee Fund for Oxfordshire, launched last month, marks the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year and aims to raise millions of pounds to support community and voluntary groups throughout Oxfordshire.
Topping the list of possible beneficiaries will be groups like Assisted Reading for Chldren in Oxfordshire (ARCh), which helps schoolchildren learn to read.
Literacy rates in Oxford are among the worst in the country at Key Stages One and Two.
Jayne Woodley, chief executive of the Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF), which is driving the county’s Jubilee Fund, said funding literacy projects would be “one of the first needs on our doorstep.”
She said: “Oxfordshire is a tale of two cities. On the one side we have Oxford University which is recognised as an excellent brand worldwide, and yet we have schools which are struggling to reach good literacy standards.
“Through the Jubilee Fund we will be able to support young people through creative and innovative community groups so they leave school able to read and write competently.”
ARCh Oxfordshire has more than 200 volunteers who help more than 600 schoolchildren with reading.
Jane Rendle from the charity said: “The Jubilee Fund sounds a wonderful idea for helping organisations such as ours.
“ARCh recruits, trains and supports volunteers who work one-to-one with selected primary school children in Oxfordshire to impart a love of reading to last a lifetime.
“The Jubilee Fund could help us reach even more children and to inspire present and future generations to read and reach their full potential in education and life.”
Pam Andrews, 73, from Sandford-on-Thames, has been a volunteer for ARCh for 23 years.
She said: “I care passionately about reading with children and as a volunteer I believe I’ve got as much out of doing this as the many children I have read with.
“I’m delighted the Jubilee Fund will be putting money into literacy projects like ARCh. Anyone raising or donating money to the fund should be assured that they are providing children with invaluable help for the future.”
Businesses, groups and individuals are being encouraged to swell the coffers of the Jubilee Fund in 2012 with the aim of creating cash grants and endowments to support community groups over the next 60 years.
A year-long programme of Jubilee fundraising challenges kicked off last month with the Jubilee Magic 60 challenge, urging businesses to donate £10 for every year of the Queen’s 60-year reign to the fund.
firstname.lastname@example.org l The Oxfordshire Community Foundation wants to hear from businesses, groups and individuals interested in raising or donating money. Email email@example.com, call 01865 798666, or drop in to OCF’s offices at 3 Woodins Way, Oxford. Or donate by phone by texting JBLE 12 to 70070 with a donation. To apply for Jubilee Fund cash, visit oxfordshire.org To find out more about ARCh, call 01869 320380 or visit archoxfordshire.org.uk