NEWSQUEST, the parent company of the Oxford Mail, is again asking for community groups to apply for grants from its Gannett Foundation.

The foundation is the charitable arm of Gannett Co Inc – Newsquest’s owners – and twice a year it gives away awards, typically for substantial projects that require and merit grants of between £5,000 and £10,000.

The new round of donations for Oxfordshire has opened up, giving groups across our county until 5pm on Friday, October 21, to get their applications in.

The Didcot, Abingdon and Wantage Talking Newspaper (DAWN) received £6,848 last year.

DAWN used the cash to move from recording newspapers on to tapes, which it was still using up until April, to USB flash drives.

The digital switch has allowed the charity to speed up its recording process, taking a third off the time, and has been welcomed by users.

DAWN secretary Sandra Johnson said: “It would have been very difficult for us without the grant.

“The tapes were beginning to get old and that kind of technology is leaving us.

“The grant has enabled us to step into the 21st century.

“It has made it much easier for the recordings to be done and a lot of our recipients have found it much easier to use.”

Mrs Johnson encouraged other charities to apply for the Gannett grants.

She said: “The grant has helped us so much and it would be tremendously helpful for people who need some funding. We found Gannett was fantastic. I do not know how we would have done it without them.”

Gannett’s donation has also allowed the charity to buy USB reading devices for users who do not have a computer.

Last year, the foundation also helped the Art Room at Rose Hill Primary School in Oxford, by granting £2,300.

The Art Room supports young people having difficulties at school and it used the money to buy a printing press and sewing machine.

The Gannett grants – totalling more than £4m in the UK alone – are designed to support projects that benefit a broad section of the population or are seen to have a lasting, positive effect on the community.

Oxford Mail editor Simon O’Neill said: “We would encourage Oxfordshire’s charitable organisations to bid for the grants.

“The Gannett Foundation is a wonderful organisation and we want to make sure Oxfordshire groups get their fair share.”

Gannett encourages applications from imaginative and ambitious projects that require and merit awards of between £5,000 and £10,000.

Organisations applying must be registered charities and Gannett particularly values projects that will bring lasting benefit to the community.

Projects will also be favoured that demonstrate good planning, oversight and financial responsibility. Recent accounts must be submitted.

Awards will not be given to national charities or organisations that have received a Gannett grant within the last two years.

State or privately-run schools, hospitals, animal charities, political or religious causes and day-to-day running costs are also excluded.