FROM activities for young people to wildlife societies, community groups across Oxford have been given grants of more than £1.4m from Oxford City Council.

The annual community grant programme has awarded £97,700 to 21 community and voluntary groups which put in bids for funding.

A further £874,459 has been set aside by the council for more than 20 groups which work with community safety, arts and advice in the commissioning section of the grants programme.

And councillors meet tomorrow to decide how to award a further £442,279 to groups helping the homeless.

Janet Keene, from the Oxford Urban Wildlife Group, was thrilled to receive £2,240 for work at the Boundary Brook Nature Park.

Mrs Keene, 75, of Kingston Bagpuize, newsletter editor and membership secretary for the group, said: “We are extremely happy and grateful. The grant will go to running expenses such as insurance.”

Oxford Urban Wildlife Group set up the nature park 25 years ago on derelict allotment land in East Oxford.

The group, which offers activities for children and volunteer gardening sessions, hopes to replace old structures and keep the park in good condition.

Mrs Keene said: “It is such a peaceful place – usually the most noise is from the birds.

Richard Bryant, secretary at the Wood Farm Youth Centre, said its grant was vital for the day-to-day running of the centre in Titup Hall Drive.

The group has received £7,000 to help fund activities for young people aged 10 to 14 on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

Mr Bryant, 69, said: “Without the grant, we couldn’t run. The youth centre is the only resource of its type in the area and most of the grant will go towards paying for sessions.”

The grants aim to help groups working with disadvantaged communities.

The Leys News community newspaper received £10,000. Spokesman John Charlton said it was a great help.

City councillor Steve Curran said it was vital that the various groups were able to continue working in the city.