ROCA reloaded! Funding available from First Choice Homes

FIRST Choice Homes’ popular ROCA funding has relaunched for 2020, meaning monetary grants are available for Oldham-based community groups.

OACT Military Veterans football group

The scheme, previously known as Rapid ROCA, opened on Monday, February 10 and runs until 5pm on Monday, March 2.

Community groups can apply for grants of up to £500 to help make a difference to the lives of local residents.

Applications are judged by an external panel which awards money to those most deserving.

Previous successful applicants of ROCA, which stands for Respect Our Community Awards, have included community gardening and growing groups, women’s sport initiatives and a bid from Oldham Athletic Community Trust (OACT) to run free football sessions for military veterans in Royton.

Resma Patel, Funding and Partnerships Officer at First Choice Homes who leads the scheme, said: “ROCA is a fantastic initiative which really helps our local residents and Oldham communities thrive.

“Often the groups are focal points of communities and without them many people’s quality of life would seriously decline.

“They enable socialisation, company, a sense of community, a chance to gain new skills, and so on. The list of benefits is endless.”

Isaac Keast, coach at Oldham Athletic Community Trust and recipient of ROCA funding, said: “I can’t explain what a difference ROCA has made to my football group for military veterans.

“The funding has enabled us to pay for the use of a local 4G pitch at Royton and Crompton School. Without it we wouldn’t have a venue.

“When you leave the armed forces, it’s often extremely isolating but through the group I have set up with ROCA money, veterans are able to play football for free with people who have had similar careers and life experiences.

“The group hasn’t been going for long, but already the comradery and sense of community is fantastic.

“Thank you to First Choice Homes for making this happen.”

The application form, T&Cs and other information can be found online at

Applications are especially encouraged from First Choice Homes’ customers, however it is not an essential eligibility requirement

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