Essex Community Foundation

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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.