FIRST Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO) has launched the second round of its popular Respect Our Community Awards (ROCA) scheme for 2020, meaning much-needed monetary grants are available for Oldham-based community and voluntary groups.

The scheme, which enjoyed a 72 per cent increase in funding applications last spring thanks to new branding and awareness-raising activities, opened today (Monday, October 5) until 5pm on Friday, October 30.

Members of community groups can apply for grants of any amount up to £500, to help make a difference to the lives of local residents. Their application is then judged by a panel which award money to those most deserving.

Previous successful ROCA applicants have included community gardening and growing groups, a bee project in Hollinwood, and a "singo-bingo" initiative in Fitton Hill to help lift the spirits of some of Oldham’s elderly communities during coronavirus.

Resma Patel, funding and partnerships officer at FCHO, said: “ROCA proves time and time again to be an amazing initiative which really helps our local people here in Oldham.

“When lockdown restrictions were imposed in March, community groups were affected massively, yet many recipients got in touch to ask if they could use the grant to help Oldham’s response to the outbreak. This meant that many initial proposals had to change, but the team efforts of our community groups here in Oldham throughout this crisis have been truly heart-warming.

“Many groups have had to adapt while restrictions remain in place, and we’ve worked hard to ensure that our autumn application process reflects this by asking applicants to provide details of the measures they’ve introduced to keep users of their group safe while the pandemic lasts.”

Graham Rogers, family support worker at the Salvation Army received £500 in ROCA funding earlier this year, said: “ROCA has allowed us to make such a difference to people’s lives. Coronavirus has been so tough for our older people, so we’ve used the money to hold community bingo sessions and socially distanced sing-alongs, which has given our elderly communities something to look forward to every week.

“We started in three areas and now we’re up to 12 across Fitton Hill. It’s amazing to see how much these activities cheer people up during this very strange time. We’ll carry on for however long the virus lasts, and we can’t thank FCHO enough for this opportunity to make a difference.”

For more information and details on how to apply, visit