Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Canvey Island awash with community spirit

28th July 2017

A tidal wave of community spirit on Canvey Island and a grant of £2,500 have transformed a beach for the benefit of local residents and visitors to enjoy.

The grant, awarded from Essex County Council’s Millennium Fund, has contributed to a scheme which has improved accessibility for wheelchair users and those with disabilities. 

The Essex Millennium Fund, which is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), was established as an endowed fund by Essex County Council to celebrate the Millennium. The fund distributes grants annually to voluntary and community groups working within four priority areas, carers, community support, enhancing the environment and young people.

Canvey Bay Watch was formed in October 2014, when a small group of volunteers, many of whom have lived on the island for more than 50 years, decided to restore the seafront to its former glory. 

Canvey Bay Watch volunteer Barry Campagna, said, “We were delighted to have received this grant from the Essex Millennium Fund. Three years ago the area was in such an appalling condition that people had stopped visiting.  As local residents we decided to try and clear the area and seafront.

“We started with 8 volunteers and now there are 20 of us.  Regardless of the weather, we meet every Tuesday and do whatever work is necessary to keep the area accessible and make it a nice place for people to visit”.

Paul Hill, Head of Grants and Programmes at ECF, said, “Canvey Bay Watch is a wonderful example of community spirit.  It is fantastic to see local people coming together to improve the place they live and the makeover of the Bay is truly outstanding.”.

If you are a community organisation or voluntary group in need of funding to support your work, call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018.

Nominations open for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

25th July 2017

Do you know of a volunteer group that devotes its time to helping others in your local area and deserves a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service?

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups, recognising the outstanding work they perform within their communities.

You must submit your nomination by 15 September 2017 to make sure they are considered for an award next year. For an application form, click here.

You shouldn’t be part of the group, entry is free and you can make your nomination at any time.

If you know a local volunteering group deserving of recognition for services to the local area, please consider nominating them!

Anyone aware of the group, including people who benefit from the group's activities, may make a nomination. Please don't nominate your own group if you're a volunteer or paid staff member!

The winners are announced on 2 June every year and they will receive a domed glass crystal and a certificate signed by the Queen.

Phone-In Funding Surgery: Wednesday 16 August

25th July 2017

Are you a voluntary or community organisation which improves information, advice and guidance in health and social care?

If so, Essex Community Foundation will be holding a Phone-In Funding Surgery to help you identify if there is support available for your work and talk you through the process of applying for a grant.

This phone-in event will be held on Wednesday 16 August between 10am to 12 noon.  ECF grant officers will be on hand to talk with you about your work and discuss your funding options.

Please call them, on the day, on 01245 356018. 

If you cannot get through because the lines are busy, please leave a message with your name, the organisation you are calling from and a phone number that we can contact you on.   We will return your call as soon as possible. 

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.