OVO Foundation pledges £120,000 to support communities during Coronavirus

03 June 2020

  • OVO Foundation has pledged £120,000 to support seven local partners.
  • Each will receive a cash grant from OVO Foundation, and volunteering support when appropriate from OVO staff.
  • We’ve formed partnerships with organisations that are providing both immediate relief and long-term responses to people affected by Coronavirus. Our goal remains the same: to help meet the needs of local communities and come together to create positive social change.

2nd June 2020 - OVO Foundation pledges £120,000 towards seven local partners that are providing immediate and long-term relief to communities and people affected by Coronavirus. Each organisation will receive a cash grant and will be supported by OVO staff volunteers over the year.

Now entering its fifth year, OVO Gives Back is providing vital support to reflect the current needs of local communities. OVO Gives Back has increased its funding to support seven organisations providing immediate support and long-term relief to local communities during the Coronavirus pandemic. The grant will also help to build resilient and sustainable communities over the next 12 months.

OVO Foundation historically helps charities tackle complex social problems - including youth homelessness and educational inequality. This year, OVO Gives Back has required a shift in perspective due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

This year OVO Gives Back is supporting the following causes:

  • Beam (London): will crowdfund job training and emergency care packages for disadvantaged young people facing homelessness
  • Caring in Bristol: provide food and essential items to the homeless community in Bristol, whilst using remaining funding to redevelop their youth homelessness service.
  • Dunfermline Food Bank: the grant will support local, vulnerable groups with food and vital supplies.
  • Greenspace Scotland: pilot a new youth project that focuses on local actions to achieve net zero targets.
  • Rowlands (Selkirk): the grant will help produce ‘Radio Rowland’ to keep young people connected.
  • Square Food Foundation (Bristol): a weekend cooking club will be provided for local families at risk of going hungry.
  • The Matthew Tree Project (Bristol): the grant will be used to install a kitchen on their premises to turn surplus, perishable food into nutritious meals for the community.

Gaby Sethi, Head of OVO Foundation, said:

“We know that Coronavirus will have a devastating and disproportionate impact on the most disadvantaged people in our community. And so we’re really pleased to be using our OVO Gives Back initiative to support partners who address the urgent issues created or worsened by the Coronavirus crisis that affect local people through OVO Gives Back. Over the past four years, we’re proud to have invested over half a million pounds into local charities, whilst continuing to give back through OVO employees’ volunteering support. We’re extremely proud to play a part in supporting organisations that will be vital to developing community resilience and helping society build back better once the Coronavirus crisis subsides.”

Seb Barker, Co-Founder and COO, Beam, said:

"This funding from OVO Gives Back will help Beam to provide even more homeless families with emergency care packages during this difficult time. From laptops to help kids with school work to food parcels and children’s clothing, these much-needed items will support some of the most vulnerable people in society.”

Edd Smith, Head of Development, Caring in Bristol said:

“This partnership with OVO Foundation will have an impressive impact on our work and help us to provide vital services to those who are homeless and vulnerably housed in Bristol, all of whom are dangerously exposed during COVID19. The partnership will help fund our Cheers Drive project which is currently feeding over 370 homeless people each day and has so far delivered over 45,000 meals to our clients in need. Community partnerships are important to us, our vision is to create a city empowered to solve homelessness and collaboration with forward-thinking organisations is a key way to achieve this.”

Julie Proctor, Chief Executive, greenspace scotland said:

“We’re delighted to be selected as an OVO Gives Back charity. Our Young Placechangers programme supports young people to take the lead, bringing together their wider community to improve local spaces. Support from the OVO Foundation will help us #BuildBackBetter working with youth groups in Dunfermline on climate change and renewable energy projects.”

Susan Law, Rowlands Manager, Rowlands said:

“We are happy to receive this grant from OVO Foundation to support our existing work and exciting new projects for tnow and the year ahead. During the lockdown period we have been able to sustain many of our groups online and maintain contacts as well as launch our new Radio station Radio Rowlands. https://s2.citrus3.com:2000/public/radiorowlands. This grant will also help us to plan and provide activities for after lockdown and will make a huge difference to the young people in Selkirk when we return to our building.”

Sandra Beveridge, Project Manager, Dunfermline Food Bank said:

“We wish to thank OVO Foundation for their generous support and recent grant to enable us to continue to operate in these difficult times, the grant will be used towards the purchase of a new van to use for food distribution. This will help us to give local people in food poverty a helping hand when they need it most.

Barny Haughton, Founder, Square Food Foundation said:

“This grant from OVO Gives Back is so important. Not only does it provide a sense of financial stability for Square Food Foundation at what is a very uncertain time, it also means we can expand our work with local children and families that may be at risk of food poverty. By supporting people to access, cook and eat good food, we can make our community more resilient to future challenges and BuildBackBetter.”

Mark Goodway, Founder and CEO, The Matthew Tree Project said:

“We feel so privileged to be chosen by OVO Gives Back for this grant award. It is so

encouraging and will enable us to install our commercial kitchen which will transform

what we are able to do for the vulnerable families and people we support.”


For more information:

E: [email protected]

About OVO Foundation

OVO Foundation is OVO’s charity that was created in 2014. Our vision is for all children and young people to have equitable access to a sustainable future. We do this by developing and funding projects that enable them to live in a sustainable community, and also increase their knowledge and awareness of sustainability issues and empower them to take action. Our projects include Future Builders, where we’ve worked with over 100 young homeless people to renovate derelict houses that they go on to live in, and Project Jua, where we electrify schools and health clinics in the most remote parts of Kenya to improve health and education outcomes for 100,000s of people. Thousands of OVO Energy customers choose to donate to OVO Foundation each month by adding at least 25p to their monthly statement. OVO matches all customer donations, and also covers OVO Foundation’s overheads so 100% of donations go directly to the projects.

About the OVO Gives Back partners for 2020/21:


Founded in 2017 by serial tech CEO Alex Stephany, Beam is a social enterprise that crowdfunds job training for homeless people and supports them into stable work. Working in partnership with registered charities and local authorities in London, Beam is helping hundreds of homeless people to gain work in sectors facing critical skills shortages.

Beam has amassed a giving base of more than 5,000 supporters, who between them have donated over £850,000. 100% of all donations go directly towards the end campaign, with each cost tracked and visible to the public. This radically transparent model allows supporters to see exactly how their money is being used to change lives. They can also leave members of encouragement when they donate, providing an extra layer of support.

Caring in Bristol:

Caring in Bristol work in imaginative and creative ways with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, with the public and community partners to bring about lasting change in Bristol and beyond. www.caringinbristol.co.uk

greenspace scotland:

greenspace scotland is Scotland’s parks and greenspace charity. Greenspaces make a big difference to our quality of life and sense of place - they are our natural health service, our children’s outdoor classrooms and our towns’ green lungs. We work with a wide range of national and local partners to ensure that everyone can access and enjoy quality greenspace. Our Young Placechangers programme supports and empowers young people to take the lead in changing places where they live.

www.greenspacescotland.org.uk @greenspacescot


Rowlands is a youth project based in Selkirk and open to young people aged 11-18, five days a week. Here we provide a drop in service, one to one and group work on a variety of topics. We also provide a transitions project for new members and a holiday programme. To find out more follow us on facebook at RowlandsSDBA or email [email protected]

Dunfermline Food Bank:

We don't think anyone should have to face going hungry. That's why we provide emergency food and support to local people who are referred to us in crisis. We are part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by the Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.

Square Food Foundation:

Square Food Foundation (SFF) is a cookery school and community kitchen that supports adults and children across Bristol to access, cook and eat good food. By teaching people to cook from scratch, SFF aims to improve life chances for those that are facing challenges - whether through poverty, disability or other circumstances beyond their control. SFF works with groups of all ages, abilities and from all walks of life to increase skills, improve health and reduce hunger across the city

The Matthew Tree Project:

Giving hope and a pathway to a better future is the key ingredient that The Matthew Tree Project has been practicing since being established in 2010. The charity is delivering over 9000 meals each week to households in need, in-conjunction with a holistic crisis support service to help vulnerable people address the root causes of their hardship and rebuild a better future. The crisis support offered includes advice, befriending, mentoring, skills training, pathways to employment, and is delivered via an expertly joined-up network of strategic service delivery partners. Recognised nationally as a ‘best practice representative’ of charitable community services, The Matthew Tree Project and its subsidiary, RISE Social Enterprise, has had a significant influence in shaping how food poverty and crisis support services are delivered across the UK.** **