Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Community bands together to help foodbank after break in

13th December 2018

A foodbank in Braintree hit by heartless thieves who made off with their van and equipment, has been rescued just before Christmas by a £12,000 grant from funds managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The break-in took place at Lakes Industrial Park, in October and the devastating blow left the charity struggling to collect donated food and deliver it to their four distribution centres in Braintree district.

A replacement van had to be hired to keep up their vital work of supplying food to people in financial crisis.

Last year, the foodbank distributed almost 40 tonnes of food to 3,268 people, including nearly 1,300 children.

Faced with the task of buying a replacement van, Dorothy Lodge, funding co-ordinator at the foodbank, phoned ECF for help.

The independent grantmaking trust manages 154 charitable funds on behalf of individuals, families and businesses. The Foundation awards grants from these funds to support the work of local charities and community organisations throughout Essex.

Dorothy said: “We rely on the van to pick-up donated food from local businesses and collection points and then getting it to our centres to help people who need our support. It has been tough without it.

Having a local funder like ECF to turn to has been a lifesaver. The grant has helped us to buy a replacement van and we are so grateful”.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “We were shocked to hear about the break-in at the foodbank and were pleased to be able to respond so quickly to their request for help. They do sterling work and are coping with a growing need. The much-needed grant has come from pooling money from the RSM Community Fund, the Jean and Peter Davey Charitable Fund and the Yellow Car Charitable Fund.”

RSM, a tax and accounting firm based in Chelmsford, set up their corporate fund with ECF in 2008.

Jennifer Collins, manager, said: “The work of the foodbank is commendable and without it, people who are struggling to feed themselves and their families would go hungry. When the Foundation brought the foodbank’s terrible situation to our attention, we knew we had to help. We are so pleased to award them a grant from our fund with ECF to help to contribute to the cost of their new van.”

If you are a charity or local community organisation that is in need of funding to support your work, please call the grants team on 01245 356018.

Extra support for families in Tendring

6th December 2018

Families in Tendring who are facing challenges are to be given more support through special courses and workshops, thanks to a major grant of £30,000.

Extra - Support for Families, based at the Jaywick Community Resources Centre, has been given the funding boost from the Chrysalis Fund, run by the independent grantmaking trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The fund was established with ECF in 2017 to support voluntary organisations that are tackling mental health issues and are working with young children in areas of deprivation.

The grant will help the charity to continue their work supporting local families in an area identified as having a high level of deprivation.

One mum who attended a course on emotional wellbeing said: “I had a lot of self-blame and guilt. I was at rock bottom. The course made me focus on myself more and taught me not to put myself at the bottom of my list of priorities.

“Now I’m happier and more confident, I’ve made new friends and we still see each other, even though the course has ended. The experiences I’ve had with EXTRA have made me feel safe and secure and I’d happily attend other activities they have to offer.”

Marit McKerchar, manager of Extra, said: “We support around 1000 people a year, 400 of which are parents or carers and their children, approximately 600. Through our courses and workshops we cover a wide range of topics, including guidance on how to put in place positive parenting strategies, how to increase self-confidence and ways of improving emotional wellbeing.

"A number of the parents and carers that we support experience challenges that cause them additional stresses. These can include mental health issues, coping with a child who has additional needs and domestic violence. As a result, when they first come to us, they can have low self-esteem, very little confidence in their parenting and be unable to cope with their children’s behaviour.

"Ultimately, they are isolated with no-one to go to for support. This is where we can support them to create a happier home life for everyone."

The Christmas period can be an emotional and stressful time for some families. As well as the courses and workshops Extra run, they also host a number of informal parent peer support groups. Within these, parents and carers develop networks of supportive friends who help each other deal with life’s challenges.

If you, or someone you know, lives in Tendring district and could benefit from the support that Extra offer, please call them on 01255 475001 or visit www.extrasupportforfamilies.co.uk for more information.

ECF currently manages 154 named funds, all of which award grants to support charities and community organisations across Essex. For more information on how you can set up a fund in the name of your family or business, click here or call Jo Macaulay 01245 355947.

To apply for a grant, click here