Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Making a mark on his community

13th July 2018

Community champion Bill Davidson's dream of transforming Parkeston began when he took on responsibility for opening and closing the area's park gates.

While he was carrying out the task Bill, 73, a parish councillor and chairman of Parkeston Residents and Welfare Park Association, started to think about how the park could be improved.
“It was in quite a bad state and first of all I set about picking up any litter,” he said.

“Then I took it a bit further and thought about other ways of making the park better. Parkeston was a small, forgotten village and there was a lot to do to make people feel more motivated and bring back community spirit.”

With the help of dedicated volunteers, local fundraising and grants from the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) Bill's dream has become a reality. The local community now has a park to be proud of and the jewel in the crown is a newly-opened Parkeston hub.

The hub, which will be used for a wide range of community activities, has been developed in Parkeston's former bowls club building in Hamilton Street.

Bill said: “The refurbishment is going really well, a lot of work has been carried out and we have lots of new equipment. The new fences are up, accessibility ramps are down, we have a store room, changing rooms and facilities for groups such as a dining club for elderly people.
“It really has been a fantastic community effort and I estimate we have had the help of around 500 volunteers, including people on the community payback scheme.”

Bill, who came to live in Parkeston seven years ago, has been a driving force behind the project and he is delighted that his original dream has come to fruition.

A football pitch has been created next-door on land donated by Tendring District Council and the weekly club that Bill instigated to give young people something positive and fun to do, is a great success.

“I like to be busy and didn't want to put my feet up during retirement. I wanted to be involved in the community and to keep active,” he said.

Residents in Parkeston and the surrounding area are now reaping the benefit and community spirit is thriving.

The hub is a focal point for the village and the park is a popular place where youngsters can have fun and people of all ages can use outdoor gym equipment. There are plans for an adult football team and paddle tennis next.

“It is great to see people becoming more active and to see village life getting back to what it should be,” said Bill. “People have come together and really have made a brilliant effort.

“We have had a lot of support, including the grants from Essex Community Foundation who have been such a help to us.”

With Parkeston going from strength to strength, Bill has been hailed as a community champion.

ECF manages 150 funds on behalf of individuals, families and businesses, helping to match their charitable wishes with the needs of the Essex voluntary sector. Among the Funds to support Parkeston Residents Association are Colne Community Builders and Milsom Charitable Fund.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “Bill's enthusiasm and dedication have been instrumental in making Parkeston a better place we are delighted to support and encourage such a worthwhile community project through our grant-making.”

If there is a project you would like to undertake to improve your community, please call the grants team on 01245 356018. We would be happy to discuss this with you. 

Budding tennis star shines at international competition

13th July 2018

An up-and-coming tennis star has been tipped for a bright future after impressing in an event which has helped the likes of Andy Murray to develop.

Shami Ndoro is currently ranked number one in the country for her age category. And the 10-year-old finished in fifth place in the 10-and-under girls category a the prestigious Smirkva Bowl.

The competition, which is held in Croatia, has attracted household names such as Murray, Dominic Thiem and Katie Swan over the years.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of Essex Community Foundation (ECF), which has helped Shami develop her talent, is full of praise for the youngster. She said: "We are delighted to have been able to support Shami so that she could compete in Croatita. We wish her continued success with her tennis and future compeitions. 

Shami, who attends the Southend-based Bournes Green Junior School, was able to compete in the Smirka Bowl thanks to a grant of £1,250 from ECF.

The grant was jointly funded from the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund and the Annabel and Gerald Malton Charitable Fund, which are dedicated to helping young people where finance is a barrier to them achieving their sporting ambitions.

The Smirkva Bowl is the world's biggest tennis event for those aged 10 and under. More than 110 girls competed in the event, which boasted competiors from 87 countries across six continents. 

Playing on a clay court for just the second time, Shami went head-to-head with a number of competitors, who are the top ranked players in their country.

In her first international event, Shami saw off Spain and Russia's best as well as the Romanian, Russian and Serbian number two players. 

Shami predominantly trains at the Batchwood Sports and Tennis Centre in St Albans - which is one of the best centres in the country - and she also trains at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre, where Southend Council have given her full use of the facilities free of charge.

Shami's coach, Mary Collins, said, "Shami is a huge talent who, with the right hard work and dedication, knows what she will achieve."

For more information about ECF and its grant funding for developing sporting individuals, please call the team on 01245 356018.

 

Credit to Southend Echo

Life-changing fund re-opens for applications

10th July 2018

A charitable fund that has already channelled £215,000 into the Braintree District is calling on community organisations to apply for grants in the latest round.

The Braintree District and Greenfields Community Fund, set up by Braintree District Council and Greenfields Community Housing in 2016, provides local voluntary organisations and charities with the opportunity to apply for funding.

Grants are available to support organisations working in the Braintree District that either help to improve health and well-being, increase aspirations and opportunities, or develop skills through training.

The Fund is managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF), which has a strong track record of managing funds and channelling grants to support community activity in Essex.

Last year Braintree Foyer, which provides accommodation to people aged 18-35 who are either experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless, received a grant of £33,986 to help them employ a Support Manager.

Mark Watson, Projects Manager of Braintree Foyer, said: “Last year we supported 61 people, providing them with a safe place to live whilst they re-built their lives. Most of our residents come from chaotic backgrounds, many having suffered abuse, family breakdown or substance misuse. Before they come to us they may have also been sleeping on the street or sofa surfing at friends’ houses.

“As well as providing accommodation, we have also developed Braintree Discovery College to create learning opportunities for local people. We have an onsite gym and also run a music programme. All our work aims to help our young people develop a positive outlook, which is vital if they are to move on with their lives.

A panel made up of representatives from Braintree District Council and Greenfields review and agree all applications to the Fund annually. Other organisations to benefit from grants in previous years include Braintree Area Foodbank and Action for Family Carers.

Councillor Wendy Schmitt, Deputy Leader Braintree District Council, said: “As a council we are proud to be part of this fund which is making a real difference to the community. I would encourage local voluntary organisations across the Braintree District to make the most of this opportunity and apply for funding.”

Sandra Crosby, Greenfields’ Housing Director, urges local community organisations to apply for a grant: “We want to improve the lives of people living in the District in any way we can. We know that there are projects out there doing wonderful work, and we want to support and help them to grow.”

How to apply

Please note: this Fund can award grants for over £10,000 but under £40,000. This Fund can support your project for up to 3 years (i.e. £40,000 over 3 years not £40,000 each year for 3 years). To read the full guidelines, click here.

We strongly encourage you to speak with us ahead of applying. We are holding a Phone-In Funding Surgery on Thursday 12 July 10am to 12 noon to speak with potential applicants. Please call us, on the day, on 01245 356018.

The deadline is Friday 31st of August.

Professional advisers compete in charity challenge

10th July 2018

The Fiducia Charity Challenge been hailed a success after the company invited seven corporate partners to take part in an evening of fun and games.

The event raised more than £2,000 to be split between Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and Suffolk Community Foundation.

Teams of six shed their business suits to show off their sporting prowess, with basketball and football challenges, before the action switched to team work and mental strength in the spaghetti tower.

The closely-fought contest ended with a competitive egg and spoon race and a space hopper relay.

Gordon Kearney, Managing Director of Fiducia, said: “As a company, we think it is very important to give something back and support local charities making such a difference in our community. The charity challenge has become a popular part of the calendar with a nice mix of fun and competition and we are delighted with how the evening went. We would like to thank all our sponsors and all the teams who helped raise a great sum of money for some very worthwhile local charities.”

The team from Ensors Accountants were crowned the 2018 champions, seeing off the challenge of local companies TSP Solicitors, Whittles, Goody Burnett, Palmer Solicitors, Marshall Hatchick and Prettys.

ECF works closely with professionals, such as solicitors and accountants, to spread the word about philanthropic opportunities for their client. By naming ECF as a beneficiary in your will, you can support a wide range of causes and, if you wish, identify specific charities to benefit from your estate. Choosing to channel your charitable giving through ECF means you can rest assured that your legacy will be managed efficiently and in line with your wishes.  

Establishing a named fund with ECF, either during your lifetime or as part of your will, is a simple process.We would be pleased to discuss this with you and your professional adviser.

To discuss this further, please call the ECF team on 01245 355947.