Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Our 2017 Spring Receptions

5th May 2017

We were delighted to welcome 230 invited guests to this year's Spring Receptions held at Ingatestone Hall and Layer Marney Tower.

Our Chairman Jonathan Minter challenged guests to think about their giving, their experience of Essex and what kind of Essex they want the next generation to inherit? And, importantly, what more they could they do?

This year's speakers at Ingatestone Hall were, ECF Trustee and Fundholder, Peter Blanc and local charities City of Chelmsford Mencap and Southend Blind Welfare Organisation.

Peter explained how the Foundation has helped him and his wife, Sue, to see Essex from a different perspective. After visiting a number of local organisations and projects, Peter has learned how just a few hundred pounds can often make the difference between an organisation continuing its vital work or closing, leaving those who depend on its services at a loss. Peter and Sue look forward to engaging their children with ECF and the grantmaking from their Fund. In this way, they hope to increase their understanding about local issues and that not all children live in fortunate circumstances.

City of Chelmsford Mencap described the support they give to people with a learning disability. Sabine leads the Working Out Programme which helps students to increase their skills, confidence and move towards independent living. Michael, who has Down’s syndrome, explained how this programme allows him to be creative, learn to cook and meet new people.

David Hurst, Chairman of the Southend Blind Welfare Organisation (SBWO) spoke from the heart about how difficult it is to raise funds to enable them to continue supporting local people. What he had not appreciated, until he was involved with SBWO, was the importance of receiving grants for core costs. SBWO provides a range of activities and services forpeople who are blind or visually impaired, helping them to feel supported, safe and able to go on with their lives.

Our Layer Marney speakers were Fiona Ashworth, a solicitor with Colchester-based firm Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP) and Sonia Shaljean, the Founder of Lads Need Dads.

Fiona explained how being charitable and creating a lasting legacy is not just for those with a multi-million pound lifestyle, but is a rewarding way for many of us to make a real difference in our lifetime and beyond. Born and raised in Essex, Fiona is passionate about her county and has been involved with ECF for over 15 years, advising clients who want to do something to give back but are not quite sure what that is. The common perception is that large sums of money are needed to make a charity legacy worthwhile and really make a difference, however even small donations add up and do a lot of good.

Sonia spoke about her experience and background of working with males of all ages and how she had identified a simple but critical gap in the provision of support for secondary school age boys whose father-figure is absent from their lives. Through an innovative male–led group mentoring Programme, Lads Need Dads supports boys age 11-15, an age when the choices they make, both conscious and unconscious, begin to form the foundation of the men they will become. By engaging the boys in self-development group work, practical life-skill training, volunteering and outdoor activities, all supported by male mentors, Lads Need Dads aims to equip and empower them to become motivated, capable, resilient and emotionally competent young men.

To view more photos from both events, click here.

To view the summary document of Ingatestone Hall, click here and for Layer Marney, click here.