Local charity reopens with a splash

12th July 2021

A water activities centre set in the Lee Valley Country Park is making a splash after re-opening for customers in a Covid-secure way.

New outdoor handwashing facilities and other measures to combat Coronavirus have been installed at The ESSA Water Activities Centre, thanks to a grant of £2,000 from the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF.)

Now people of all ages can once again enjoy activities on the centre’s beautiful 22-acre lagoon in Nazeing, Broxbourne.

ESSA, a registered charity and RYA training centre, caters for schools,youth groups, individuals, families, corporate events and parties and runs a wide range of courses and activities.

The charity’s work helps young people to achieve their full potential physically, intellectually and socially through sailing and other water-based activities.

Training courses and activities for all ages at the centre include RYA sailing, RYA Powerboat and Safety boat, RYA Windsurfing, Dragon Boat helm, traditional rafting award, British Canoeing  Start and Discover courses,  Kayaking, Foundation Safety and Rescue training, Mega SUP and wobble boarding.

Volunteers play an important role at the centre. Several have gone into sea-based careers or sports associated industries and one was inspired to take up their education in marine biology.

When ESSA was looking to re-open after lockdown extra facilities were needed to ensure the centre complied with all the relevant Covid regulations and guidelines.

The grant from ECF helped ESSA meet the cost of installing new outdoor handwashing facilities which included new water pipe laying. The centre has also introduced ways to ensure social distancing and resources to deep clean every boat after use.

Kevin Downton, treasurer at ESSA said: “We are grateful to ECF for the grant which made it possible to re-open ESSA in a Covid secure way and provide hygienic outdoor hand washing facilities for our customers.

“We have had very positive customer feedback about our re-opening and that we are operating in a Covid secure manner.”

To discuss your funding needs, please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018.


SUPPORT ECF’S ACORN FUND CHALLENGE and help local charities and groups like ESSA.

ECF is running the ‘Acorn Fund Challenge’, appealing for donations and matching them on a 2 to 1 basis.  This means that for every £2 received, ECF will add £1, and if Gift Aid can be claimed, it nearly doubles the value of donations.

  • Give online through: https://justgiving.com/campaign/ECFAcorn
  • To give by card over the phone call us on 01245 355947
  • Send a cheque to Essex Community Foundation at 121 New London Road, Chelmsford CM2 0QT.
  • Speak to us if you want to make a donation by bank transfer or to set up a regular gift
  • For more information email perry@essexcf.org.uk