VOLUNTEERS in a Cowley call centre are to man their phones to collect hundreds of thousands of pounds for Red Nose Day.

More than 120 volunteers will be accepting charity donation pledges from the public on March 15 during the Comic Relief evening TV entertainment.

Telephone fundraising company The Phone Room in Watlington Road was chosen as one of Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day volunteer centres across the UK.

Gemma Buckley, from Bicester, is organising the call-handling operation from the Cowley base.

The 30-year-old said: “It is just incredible. It is so rare in life that you get to be a part of something so big. I was a volunteer in 2008 too.

“You get so many calls in such a small amount of time. The phone lines open at about 5.30pm when the TV coverage starts. It is so exciting on the night – the phones will be off the hook. The amount of money people pledge is absolutely amazing both in terms of single donations and the volume of calls you take.

“When they show the videos of where the money is going the phones lines go crazy.”

The Phone Room, which also works for Helen and Douglas House hospice in Magdalen Road, is appealing to county residents over 18 and businesses to volunteer.

  • Small groups making a big impact on the lives of people in Oxfordshire are being offered a share of £50,000 as part of the Red Nose Day Community Cash grant scheme. Between £500 to £1,000 is available for up to 50 groups. Apply at http://oxford shire.org/cp6.php by March 8 or call 01865 798 666.



The grants are available to community organisations, registered charities, social enterprises, co-operatives, faith organisations and community interest companies.

Groups which have been established for less than 12 months are eligible to apply.

Groups eligible to apply for Red Nose Day Community Cash grants need to:

  • Be working in a disadvantaged or deprived area
  • Be small local groups with an income of less than £100,000 run by local people
  • Have limited access to other sources of income

Grants will not be awarded to the following:

  • To individuals
  • To statutory organisations including PCTs and schools
  • Groups who are not constituted

Grants will not be awarded for the following purposes:

  • To fund trips abroad
  • To fund buses, mini buses or other community transport schemes
  • To fund building costs, including access adaptations to buildings

Grants will be announced in April.