ALMOST £30,000 was handed out to a bunch of good causes in Oxfordshire as they bagged a slice of the Gannett Foundation cash in the last round of funding.

The Oxford Mail's parent company Gannett Media has launched its annual search for charities looking for a funding boost of up to £10,000.

The scheme hopes to support local good causes and community groups at a time when many organisations are facing financial difficulties.

Last year almost £30,000 was dished out to five charities in the county including Blackbird Leys-based RAW workshop, which employs and trains people facing disadvantage by creating garden furniture and other items.

The charity was handed a cash boost of £8,420 to modernise its workshop.

RAW managing director Rick Mower said: "It has been really, really fantastic and enabled us to reopen our new reclaimed workshop from which we are able to sell reclaimed wood.

"That not only generates a environmental impact but in turn helps us train people who have had difficult backgrounds who want to work in retail.

"I would say to charities to definitely go for the Gannett Foundation grants as it is not as laborious as different funding bids and it has a big focus on local causes."

The scheme, part of the Gannett Foundation, runs annually to support the community and has helped secure the future for many smaller charities since the late 1990s.

Money dished out to local organisations has covered a wide variety of causes, and this year the criteria has been expanded to also include one-day or limited-time events which have never previously been included in the entries.

Another one of the projects which is looking forward to great things after a helping hand from the Gannett Foundation was the Friends of Bardwell special education school in Bicester.

The school charity won £4,000 from the Gannett Foundation after appealing to trustees to help fund the modernisation of its kitchen facilities.

Headteacher John Riches previously said the fantastic windfall will 'allow children to go on to lead fulfilled lives through learning cooking and socialising'.

Mr Riches said the wheels are in motion for the new modernised 'life skills kitchen' and added: "We have had designs for the kitchen completed and were hoping to complete the work in August.

"We are just reviewing a couple of amendments and accessibility options and now expect the work to be completed in October."

Other successful applicants included Witney-based Base 33 Youth Charity which was awarded £7,000, South and Vale Young Carers which bagged £5,700 and St Peters playgroup in Wolvercote which was given a cash boost of £4,300.

Applications are now open for this year and must be submitted by 5pm on Monday, October 9.