CHARITIES in West Oxfordshire are being invited to bid for grants of up to £10,000 from the Witney Gazette.

Our parent company, Gannett Media, is offering donations of between £5,000 and £10,000 though its charitable arm, the Gannett Foundation.

Any project which brings lasting benefits to its community is eligible for a grant.

Previous winners of grants include Charlbury charity Special Effect, which uses video games and technology to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities.

The charity, based at Cornbury Park, was given a £7,000 grant in 2012 so it could buy an Eyegaze device. The equipment allows children with severe disabilities to use a computer and play games just by moving their eyes.

Witney Gazette editor Simon O’Neill said: “We support registered charities that have projects which take a creative approach to fundamental issues, such as education and neighbourhood improvements, economic development, youth development, local problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged or disabled people, environmental conservation and cultural enrichment.

“We value projects that bring lasting benefits to communities served by our local newspapers and websites.

“While preference may be given to ideas which create a durable legacy for the community, we will consider single events or projects of limited duration that otherwise meet our criteria.”

He added: “We entertain applications of any size or ambition, though typically our grants are made for substantial projects which require and merit awards of between £5,000 and £10,000.

“We will consider much more modest applications as well, but we actively encourage adventurous projects on a larger scale.

“We are able to join with other contributors to support elements of larger projects, though we prefer to be in a position of making a donation which will fund a project entirely or which constitutes the final instalment to complete a project.”

Final decisions in respect of the value of the funding will be made by the foundation trustees, based on the evidence submitted.

They will favour projects that demonstrate good planning, oversight and financial responsibility.

Charities must also submit their most recent financial accounts.

Applications are open until 5pm on Friday, September 12.