Essex Community Foundation

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A healthy injection of funds for local charities

18th July 2017

Voluntary groups and local charities working to improve information, advice and guidance in health and social care, are urged to apply for new funds to support their work.

The funding is being made available through the Healthwatch Essex Fund which was established by Healthwatch Essex in 2016 and is managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation. To date, grants totalling £150,000 have been awarded to support a wide range of local healthcare projects.

Healthwatch Essex provides an information service to help people access, understand, and navigate the health and social care system, as well as gathering people’s experiences to help improve local services.

Dr David Sollis, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Essex said, “There are some amazing charities and voluntary groups in Essex and the work they do is crucial in ensuring people get the support they need. In many cases they are the best placed organisations in the community to connect with local people and to help people in need navigate the right path to appropriate support.”

There are two levels of grants that voluntary organisations and local charities can apply for - small grants of up to £10,000 and larger grants of up to £35,000. The latter is for strategic projects which will significantly improve access to local services at a county level or develop new ways of working.

Organisations which have previously received support include, Action for Family Carers for their outreach service and Brentwood Community Print which supports people with mental ill-health.

James Clarke, Chief Executive of Action for Family Carers, said, “Not everyone who cares for someone necessarily identifies themselves as a carer so our outreach programme is vital to ensure that everyone, no matter their circumstance or disadvantage, has equal access to information and advice that will help them”.

Audrey Clark of Brentwood Community Print said, “Suffering from mental ill-health can be incredibly isolating as the stigma and discrimination that still surrounds it means people often don’t engage with help before crisis occurs. Our Community Tree initiative works to bridge this gap and help people to navigate the services available to them before they reach that point”.

Click here for the Healthwatch Essex Fund application criteria and guidelines. The deadline date for applications is 22 September 2017.

In addition, a dedicated phone-in event will be held on 16 August, from 10 am to 12 noon, where potential applicants can call ECF to ask questions and receive support in advance of starting an application.

Fighting hunger in Braintree

10th July 2017

People who are struggling to provide food for themselves and their families are receiving support from Braintree Area Foodbank following a £30,000 charitable grant.

The contribution from the Braintree District and Greenfields Community Fund will enable the Foodbank to continue its work collecting and collating donated food for people in desperate need. Volunteers also provide nutritious recipe cards and make three-day emergency food supply parcels.

Since opening its doors in 2012, the Foodbank has helped more than 10,000 people in the Braintree District who are facing hardships; including unemployment and benefit issues.

The Braintree District and Greenfields Community Fund, managed by Essex Community Foundation, provides voluntary and community organisations with the opportunity to apply for funding of up to £40,000 (distributed over a time period of up to three years) to support projects which help to either improve health and wellbeing, increase aspirations and opportunities, or develop skills through training. 

Maggie Drewett, Foodbank Co-ordinator, said, “We are delighted to receive this grant which will support our work; helping families and individuals in Braintree, Witham and Halstead who are struggling. Some people have to decide whether to feed themselves, feed their children or pay their bills and that is a worry the Foodbank helps to ease”.

Sandra Crosby, Greenfields’ Housing Director, feels proud that Greenfields is able to support other organisations by providing grants.  She said: “The Braintree Foodbank provides food and advice to people who are trying to make ends meet. Sadly, anyone can find themselves in a position of not being able to afford basic provisions, like food or utilities. We want to improve lives in any way we can and urge local organisations in need to apply for a grant by 31 August.”

Organisations in the Braintree District in need of funding are encouraged to contact the ECF grants team on 01245 356018 to discuss a potential application.

To read the criteria, please click hereThe deadline date for expressions of interest for the next round of grants is 31 August.

Helping people to find their voice

10th July 2017

People living in Colchester and Tendring, who have learning disabilities, mental ill-health and autism are to receive extra support to help them communicate more effectively, thanks to a grant of £2,000 awarded by Colne Community Builders.

Bright Lives Social Enterprise, which is based at the Abbots Community Centre in Colchester, is receiving the money from the grant programme run by Essex housing association Colne Housing. It will enable them to train a regional Makaton Tutor to work with the adults who attend the centre.

Makaton is a language programme designed to help those with learning disabilities to communicate.  It uses a combination of gestures, eye contact and body language to give as much information as possible in order to get across a message, ask a question or express a feeling. Around 100,000 children and adults use Makaton symbols and signs, either as their main method of communication, or as a way to support speech.

Michael Jones, Chief Executive of Bright Lives, said, “Being able to communicate is a vital skill which we all need in life. Almost everything we do involves communication, such as shopping, ordering food in a restaurant, sorting out problems, making friends and socialising. These activities all rely on our ability to communicate with someone.

“We are delighted to have been awarded this funding as it will help people who struggle with talking, to have a voice. This will help to relieve the frustration and isolation that are so often experienced by people with disabilities”.

Sara Thakkar, Chief Executive of Colne Housing, said: "We are a housing association which enables people to live independently and supports communities to thrive. Our grant making initiative Colne Community Builders also does just that. We are pleased to be helping Bright Lives and welcome more applications from grassroots groups which need funding".

The Colne Community Builders Fund is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF). Since the Fund was established in 2015 over £23,000 has been awarded to local charities and voluntary projects which enable independent living.

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of grants from the Fund from charities and community organisations in areas where Colne Housing operates - Babergh, Braintree, Chelmsford, Colchester, Maldon, Tendring and Uttlesford. 

Please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018 for more information. The deadline for the next round of funding is 11 August.