If you’ve been with OVO for a while, you might know that we’ve supported rainforest preservation charity Cool Earth since 2010. Working together, OVO Energy and Cool Earth have protected a huge 100,000 acres of rainforest – you can see what else we’ve achieved in the ‘OVO and Cool Earth - a 5 year roundup’ blog.
However, as OVO has grown, so have our charitable ambitions. In 2014 we decided to establish our own charity, OVO Foundation. The plan is to expand OVO Energy’s charitable giving and bring caring closer to home. You can read all about it in the What is OVO Foundation question.
With so many brilliant projects and partners out there, it can be hard to choose who to help first. To help us focus, we’ve identified 3 key areas that really resonate with everyone at OVO Energy: education, youth poverty, access to energy.
To narrow things down further, we then research key issues in each area, as OVO Foundation Manager Gaby Sethi explains:
"Our approach to providing grants is different to many other charitable foundations. We're innately curious, so we want to understand the root causes of the problem before we decide what or where we should fund. This approach means that we research important issues so we can work out where the funding gaps are and identify projects where we can have the biggest impact on people's lives."
Following the 2015 publication of a research we commissioned into youth homelessness in the UK, we developed our own programme called Future Builders - a radical new approach to youth homelessness, supporting young people to renovate derelict council houses they will actually live in while giving them the training and support they need to gain an apprenticeship or full-time work.
We also recently partnered with Energy 4 Impact, a non-profit organisation working to extend access to energy in Africa, to launch a pioneering new project to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in schools and health clinics in Kenya.
As well as project-by-project partnerships, OVO Foundation also funds and runs an annual programme called OVO Gives Back. It’s powered by OVO Energy’s employees. Each year, they nominate and vote for four local charities to support through volunteering and with grants from OVO Foundation’s £100,000 ‘Community Chest’.
In 2017/2018, we’re supporting:
The Avon Wildlife Trust aims to protect and promote wildlife in the area of the former county of Avon – now Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Young Bristol helps 8-25 year olds achieve great futures as productive members of society through community youth clubs, educational and life-skill programmes, and outdoor activity centres.
Windmill Hill City Farm is a green oasis in south Bristol, with animals, a garden, cafe, play area and community bike shop. It provides recreation, education and therapy using food, farming and the environment.
Centrepoint in London finds young people a safe place to live, provides health assessments and plans support for their individual mental and physical health needs – helping them on their way towards independence.