THOUSANDS of pounds are once more up for grabs as the Oxford Mail's and Oxford Times’ parent company launches its big cash giveaway.

The Gannett Foundation is offering up to £10,000 to charitable causes across Oxfordshire.

And the winners of last year’s grant have spoken about just how helpful the money was.

More than £6,500 was given towards the Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground, which had been forced to close in 2009 due to financial problems.

But in April it was able to reopen after an extensive refurbishment programme.

Sue Price, secretary of Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground, said: “It has been amazing.

“Instead of something on the estate looking overgrown, the playground now looks beautiful and children are enjoying it.

“It has been a complete turnaround.

“If it had not been for the grant I don’t think anything would have happened. It has made all the difference.”

Other causes which were given cash included the Oxford Food Bank, which was given £10,000 for a walk-in refrigeration unit at its base in Lamarsh Road, and the Carterton Memorial Garden Bell Fund, which was given £9,000 to pay for the memorial bell which now tolls during repatriations.

Lee Mackie led the campaign for the memorial bell after her 21-year-old son Jason was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. She said: “Getting the grant made a huge amount of difference to us. Gannett were very generous.

“Seeing the bell hanging there is just awesome.

“Everyone who was involved in it can be proud of themselves.”

The Gannett Foundation is the charitable arm of Gannett Co Inc, which owns Newsquest and the Oxford Mail and Oxford Times.

Charities and groups can apply for a grant of between £5,000 and £10,000.

Simon O’Neill, group editor at Newsquest Oxfordshire, said: “Last year’s winners demonstrated just what a great boost this grant can be in these difficult times.

“I would urge people to come forward with their applications and I’m looking forward to seeing the wide range of causes which will be in the running for this year’s grant.”

Religious or political groups, schools, hospitals, and general appeals are not eligible , nor are applications for salaries or running costs.

Applications must be in no later than 5pm on Friday, September 21.

  • Click here to start your application today.