Our Fundholders

We currently manage around 175 individually named funds.  Each one has its own story and some also have their own aims or restrictions.  Our funds reflect the broad interests of our donors which means that we can support a wide range of voluntary organisations, activities and projects across Essex, but we can also give support outside of the county or to specific charities if required.

Since we were established in 1996, we have awarded over 8,800 grants totalling more than £47 million.

We hope you enjoy reading about our funds. They are listed alphabetically, but you can search by fund name or sort them by charitable trusts, corporates, energy companies, families and individuals, legacies and public sector funds.

If setting up a charitable fund is something you are interested in, please visit one of the following pages:
Setting up a fund for myself or my family
Setting up a fund for my business
Transferring a trust or charity to ECF
Leave a legacy in my Will

Our Funds

You can make a one-off donation, set up a regular donation, give monthly or annually, or you can leave a legacy to the Fund. Whatever your gift, we will ensure that your donation will support a wide range of voluntary and community activity in Essex. All donations we receive into this fund are helping it to grow so that each year we can give more and more grants to help our local charities that are in need of vital support.

After being introduced to the air cadets when he was 13, Ajvir’s life-long dream was to become a fast jet pilot.  He remained with the cadets until he was 20. During this time his natural talent and leadership skills were recognised, and he won a number of awards.

Ajvir went on to Durham University where he studied Geology and completed a Masters degree, achieving first class honours. In 2015, he was finally able to join the RAF and his boyhood dreams started to become a reality.  He began training at the leading Linton-on-Ouse Acadamy in North Yorkshire and was thrilled to have the opportunity to fly with the Red Arrows and the Slovakian Airforce.

Ajvir’s focus and determination made him who he was and ECF is pleased to be working with his family, and the Foundation they set up in his memory.  Grants will be awarded to support talented young people in Essex, particularly those who excel in sport, music, academics and military disciplines.

“We want to support the talented young people of today, helping them to become the leaders of tomorrow, allowing them to spread their wings and fly as high as Ajvir”. Amrik Sandhu, Ajvir’s father

Alan and Fay Cherry were married for 33 years and have always been passionate about supporting local communities.

Alan was quite an extraordinary man who achieved an enormous amount during his lifetime.  He was born in 1933 in the urban sprawl of Dagenham, Ilford and Becontree.  To earn pocket money he had a paper round and helped his dad, who was a milkman, make daily deliveries.  Alan’s education was disrupted by the outbreak of WW2 and this meant he didn’t really start learning until the age of about 12.  When he left school aged 15 Alan started work as a trainee surveyor with the estate agency Eves and Son.  He worked hard to learn the business, also attending night school and qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor and Auctioneer.

At the age of 18 he served two years’ National Service in the Corps of the Royal Engineers during which time he was selected for Officer Cadet training, gained a commission and served in Northern Ireland.

After completing his National Service he went back to Eves & Son where he met and married Jan Bairstow.  They had two children, Graham and Richard, but sadly Jan died of cancer at an early age leaving Alan to bring up two young sons.

Work became Alan’s focus.  He was a founder Partner of Bairstow Eves which went on to become one of the largest estate agencies in the UK.  During his early career Alan became interested in housebuilding and property development and in 1958 he launched Countryside Properties Limited which he successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1972.  His work led to him being awarded an MBE and a CBE for his services to Housing and Urban Regeneration.

Fay was born in Hampshire.  At that time her father was serving in the RAF so Fay and her two sisters were educated in various schools abroad.  She worked with the Red Cross and on leaving school went on to study nursing in Portsmouth where she gained her State Registered Nurse qualification.  After six years Fay decided to move to London where she joined British Overseas Airways Corporation (now British Airways) as an air stewardess and spent the next few years travelling the world on various long and short haul flights.  This was an exciting time in the 1960s because BOAC was expanding and Fay was involved with a number of inaugural long haul flights which included flying via Alaska and Russia (passing through Moscow) whilst en route to Osaka for the Winter Olympic Games; and also to Auckland in New Zealand via Fiji.  These flights opened up the Pacific Airways.

In 1971 whilst visiting friends Fay was introduced to Alan.  They married in 1976 and in 1985 moved to Fryerning where Fay continues to live.

Donate here.

Although Alastair and Patricia Stewart were not born in Essex, (Alastair in Cheshire and Patricia in Bombay), from the moment they bought their un-renovated house in 1953, where they still live, they became involved in local Essex life.

Alastair, who had previously served in the Army with the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars from 1944-47, set up his own export packing business, Stewart & Harvey, in Dagenham, where he worked until he retired in 1990.   Alastair became a “Sir” in 1992 on the death of his elder brother when he succeeded to 3rd Baronetcy of Strathgarry, Perthshire.

Patricia qualified as a chartered architect and ran her own architectural practice, mainly within Essex, specialising in restoring old properties.   She was awarded an MBE for Services to Architecture in 1991.

In appreciation of all that Essex has given them, Alastair and Patricia set up their fund with us because they felt that we will know which Essex charity needs helping now and far into the future.

Nicholas was born and brought up in Essex moving around the county before he met Philippa in 1968 when her father retired to Chelmsford from the Army.

They married in 1974 as Nick graduated from Cambridge and then embarked on public sector careers, Nick as a Naval Officer and then senior civil servant and Pippa as a physiotherapist.  They have two children, Lt Col Robert Alston MBE who serves with the Royal Artillery and Victoria Clayton who is a teacher.

After 30 years working in national defence and security Nick was awarded a CBE in 1997 and in 2012 he was elected as the first Essex Police and Crime Commissioner.  This role gave both him and Pippa an insight into the importance and vital contribution of the voluntary sector across Essex in addressing needs that exist in so many local communities.  Through their family fund they want to increase their understanding of local issues and give support to where it is needed most.

Annabel and Gerald were married in 1987 and have lived in Essex all their married life. Their strong wish to help the community comes from their own background. Gerald, who works in the residential development industry, was born in Grays. He moved with his parents to Shenfield and later attended King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford. He and Annabel first met at university, after which Gerald returned to live in Essex.

Annabel came to Essex to take up her first teaching post in Southend following post-graduate teacher training in London. She later taught at Boreham Primary School and at a pre-school group in Great Baddow.

Annabel said: “Both of us have a strong musical background and our daughter used to be involved in athletics at quite a high level.  We realised that there are many young people in both of these areas who have great potential but can’t move forward or compete with others because of relatively small sums of money for such things as travel and equipment.

“We had got to the stage in our life when our two children were both at university and we were in a position financially to do something. The question was how to find a vehicle to do this in the most efficient way, without having to set up and run a trust ourselves.  Gerald did some research and found out about ECF which has the infrastructure to get the money out there to people who need it.  We are both very much involved in the community and wanted our fund to benefit people in Essex.”

At an early age, Anthony moved to Stratford with his family. Growing up in the East End of London, he was educated at Plaistow Grammar School and later at the North Western Polytechnic.

Anthony’s interest in “all things on wheels” began when he started work with British Road Services in Hampstead as a management trainee.  British Road Services was renamed National Freight Corporation in 1969, and in 1982, the company was sold to its employees in one of the first privatisations of state-owned industry.  Career progression saw Anthony manage haulage depots in Barking, Silvertown, Dagenham and Stratford.

A change of direction followed when Anthony was appointed Express Services Manager at Grey Green Coaches in Stamford Hill, North London, responsible for managing the company`s services between Victoria and the towns of Romford, Brentwood, Chelmsford and Colchester, as well as the coastal resorts of Essex and East Anglia.

Early retirement gave Anthony an opportunity to devote more time to his interest in model railways and road vehicles, and he began to make models of the lorries, buses and coaches that had been so much a part of his career.  Before long, he was producing model kits for sale – a hobby that resulted in the formation of two small businesses known as Roadscale Models and Little Bus Company.

Anthony has now returned to his homeland of West Yorkshire but retains strong links with Essex.  His charitable fund will keep that connection alive through the grants awarded in his family name.

A popular and well-respected figure, Austin worked for MLM Consulting Engineers for 35 years and became a partner in the firm. He was a staunch member of Colchester Centurion Rotary Club, could play several musical instruments and loved travel.

“Austin was a real planner and doer,” said his wife Anne. “He always had a great interest in supporting local charities, as we were both Essex born and bred.

Before he died of cancer, at the age of 65, in May 2018, Austin made plans and asked that the family set up a fund after his death to help local causes.  His daughter Kathryn had heard of community foundations through her voluntary work in Oxfordshire and suggested that it would be the best route to take.

Anne, said: “I am sure Austin would be pleased with this. It would have been difficult to carry out his wishes without ECF. The fund is in the hands of professionals and we know that the money will be properly administered and will go to organisations we want to support, including those helping people with dementia, mental health, education, children and young people, and music.”

Anne and Austin relished their life in Colchester, putting down strong roots in their family home for nearly four decades. Austin had trained qualified as a civil engineer at City University in London and Anne qualified trained as a radiographer at Essex County Hospital in Colchester.

The couple met when they were both 20 and married in 1977. They spent two years working in Lesotho, Africa where Austin worked as an engineer and Anne worked as a radiographer in the local mission hospital.

They came back from Lesotho in 1981 and settled in Colchester.  Austin joined Colchester Centurion Rotary Club in 2003 and embraced everything Rotary stood for in ‘service above self’, enthusiastically taking the role of president in 2011. Austin also loved his work and enjoyed the fact that he could cover a huge area and not be office-bound all the time. He knew so many people and was very much respected.

Anne’s daughter, Kathryn, had heard of community foundations through her voluntary work as treasurer and fundraising for a mother and baby support group in Oxfordshire and suggested that working with ECF would be the best route to take.  Anne’s son Jonathan agreed, hence the Austin Hicks Charitable Fund was founded.

Anne said: “It is good to know that the fund he asked for has now been established and that it will be a very effective way of donating to local charities in a structured way, just as Austin would have wanted.”

With a broad focus on community safety, they hope to help Essex remain a county of opportunities for all. Essex “born and bred”, they and their children, Elliot and Olivia, received a great education in the county and they enjoy life and wide involvement in their community.

Clare recently retired after a career in the City, and for the past seven years has also been a trustee at ECF during which time she has served on several committees and has been involved in many projects.

It was because of their huge enthusiasm and thankfulness for the work of the voluntary and community sector across the county that the family decided to establish their family fund.

Jason, who is managing director of the Heritage Leisure Group, his wife Lisa and their three daughters have been able to see at first hand the impact their fund is making and they are delighted that such personal involvement has added an extra dimension to their lives.

The fund was set up by Jason’s father, Robert, in 2004 when he asked his solicitor to set up a family trust because he wanted his charitable giving to make a lasting difference in Essex, where the businesses he had founded were based.. His Solicitor suggested that a better alternative would be to establish a Fund with ECF.

Jason said: “I think it has changed us as a family and has given all of us greater involvement in the community and personal links to some of the charities we support.  It has given us an insight that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.

I will always be an advocate for ECF.  I am so passionate about it that I tell everyone I can and encourage them to become involved.”

Ann and Anthony settled in the parish of Great Tey in the 1960’s.  They chose to live in north-east Essex because they could commute to London whilst at the same time enjoy living in the countryside.

Anthony, who sadly died in 2019, was a marine underwriter.  Ann used to run a small business from home but has dedicated most of her time to working with local and national charities associated with the environment, historic buildings, landscape and access to the countryside.

For many years, Ann and Anthony supported a wide range of charities, providing their support through a family Trust with the Charities Aid Foundation.  However, they decided that they would like a more local focus to their giving and transferred their Trust to us.  We continue to work with Ann to make donations to nominated UK charities, but support is also given to voluntary organisations and projects in Essex that are in line with their charitable interests.

Ann said:  “It is increasingly apparent that the well-being of individuals and communities depends, among other things, on easy access to beautiful countryside close to home.  This, combined with its wealth of historic buildings, villages and towns, is what makes living in Essex such a pleasure”.

Belinda tragically died following an operation to remove a cyst on her bile duct.  She was aged just 34 and left a husband and two small children.

English Literature, Drama and Music were Belinda’s great loves and one of her happiest times was teaching Romeo and Juliet to teenagers in KwaZulu.

Belinda’s letters, sent back home that summer, clearly showed how much she enjoyed sharing her intellectual gifts with others less fortunate. Belinda died knowing that Bloomsbury would publish her first book, The Journal of Dora Damage. What she did not know was what a success it would be and the reviews it would receive.

In her memory, Belinda´s family established the Belinda Starling Memorial Fund to help young people in Essex, whose literary, drama or music ambitions cannot take root without encouragement and money.

It would have made Belinda very happy to know that a fund in her name was giving young people opportunities to realise their full potential.” David Starling, Belinda’s father

Paul and Joanna Beresford both grew up in Upminster and moved to Ingatestone in the 1990’s with their three children, Vicky, Sarah and Alex.

Beresfords was set up by Paul’s parents in 1968 with the first office based in Upminster. Paul joined in 1975 after spending two years training in London at a surveying practice and the Group now has over 25 offices and departments throughout Essex, Greater and Central London, providing services in sales, lettings, surveys and valuations, and mortgages.

Paul, Joanna and their family have contributed to the work of many charities over the years and the team at Beresfords is always finding innovative ways to get involved in supporting many local and regional organisations and activities, as well as national fundraising events.  This included raising a significant amount of money for the British Heart Foundation to thank them for the support given to Alex after he was diagnosed with a condition that required him to have open heart surgery in 2014.

Paul said: “Establishing a charitable fund in the name of the family and the business will allow us to bring all our giving together. Working with ECF means that we can support some of the less well-known local charities whilst having confidence that the money is being used efficiently and effectively.”

Bill, who died in December 2018 aged 82, set up Southern Supplies with his wife Jean 50 years ago.

An enthusiastic supporter of local charities, Bill wanted this support to continue after he died. His wishes have been granted with the creation of the Bill Southern Legacy Fund, which is being run by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF.)

Jean said: “Bill and our children, Moira and Gordon and son in law, Ian, did many fundraising activities, including parachute jumps, abseiling, 100km walks and organising a charity ball. One of our staff members had a child with Downs Syndrome and we still support the charity that helped them.

“ECF appealed to us as Bill’s Legacy Fund would benefit the Essex area and we as a family could be involved in decisions about giving grants which would make a difference.”

Bill was born and grew up in Glasgow and was one of seven children.  From birth he had sight in only one eye.

Jean said: “This did not deter him in any way, in fact, if anything, it made him more determined. He left Glasgow when he was about 23 to find work and further his career. Bill and I met in Putney, London. We were married in September 1965 and set up Southern Supplies in 1969. Bill had spotted the opportunity to start a business selling mostly to the garage trade from a mobile van racked out with supplies. We moved to South Woodham Ferrers in 1971 and in 1976 the firm expanded into one of the first industrial units in the town. We traded mostly in Essex and East London and had a retail shop in New Street in Chelmsford.”

Bill and Jean built up the company together, with Jean working as company secretary and office manager and Bill in sales. When they retired, they relished travelling and cruising, visiting many places around the world. Bill loved to explore.

The fund will be a lasting tribute to Bill who had a legendary zest for life and was known in South Woodham Ferrers as one of the ”Three Wise Men” who set up one of the first businesses on the industrial estate in what was then a new town.

The couple’s son Gordon said: “Dad was a big character, known to all for his hospitality, generosity and gregariousness. He had endless energy, momentum, wit and charm. Only poor health in later years could slow him down.”

Bill’s generosity will live on through the fund established in his name which will be a credit to the enduring memory of a loving and wise man.

The company is well-known for its fundraising events and initiatives in support of local charities. In addition, as part of their 200th anniversary celebrations in 2021, the team carried out as many Random Acts of Kindness as they could, and sent 3,000 unexpected gifts to local charities, people and organisations they work with.

We have a long association with Birkett Long and are delighted that they have set up their fund with us. “We are a business which has always been embedded in, and committed to, the communities we serve. We have raised thousands of pounds in support of local charities over the years and setting up a long-term fund with ECF is a positive next step for us to ensure our giving continues in the future.

“I am delighted that our Partners have supported a significant initial donation to establish our Fund, and look forward to working with our Events and Fundraising Committee as we build that endowment and begin to make donations to support charities in our communities.” Martin Hopkins, Managing Partner

Birketts is a top 100 law firm with offices in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich, London and Norwich. The company has been a fundholder with us since 2011 and provide support to a wide range of projects and schemes in Essex. Birketts also works with other community foundations in the Eastern region.

Birketts’ charitable committee comprises a cross-section of employees and partners of the firm, with all staff encouraged to take an active involvement in projects benefiting the charities where they live and work. Birketts encourages colleagues to practise what they preach, with each member of staff entitled to take one day a year to participate in a community project or events like the Race4Business and the Chelmsford Dragon Boat Race.

Chair of Birkett’s CSR committee, Grace Kerr, said: “We take immense pride as an East of England firm in working with ECF. The foundation provides us with details of applications from local voluntary organisations that want to achieve the same goals we do, finding local solutions to local needs and tackling disadvantage, before our committee reviews this shortlist and decides which causes to support.

“Community Foundations offer a great way for people to support causes they care about, create lasting change in their local community and invest in the future of the people and charities that change the lives of those that need it most.”

In 2008, Peter, who is Chief Executive of Aston Lark Insurance Brokers, decided with his wife, Sue, to establish the Blanc Family Fund.   They were keen to involve their three children and support local causes close to their hearts, including charities working with families who are facing hardship through poverty, disability or mental illness.

Peter said: “We felt it was important that our children should learn about local issues and understand that not everyone lives in such fortunate circumstances.  We wanted something that we could all have an interest in and we hope that our children will continue to be involved as they build their own lives and careers.

“We are very proud of the fund that we have established.  We know it will make a difference to the lives of local people and we hope that it may inspire others to consider doing something similar”.

When Greenfields Community Housing and Colne Housing merged in 2020, they combined their community strategies to provide lasting and relevant support to charities and voluntary organisations that are helping people who live in the communities they serve.

We are a housing association which enables people to live independently and supports communities to thrive.  Working with ECF helps us to achieve that with an annual programme of charitable grants awarded from our fund.”

“Neither Brian nor Julie had siblings and they didn’t have any children themselves, so had no family”, said Sheila. “When Brian died, I was left some money in his will. I could have given some contributions to various charities and that would have been done and dusted, but when you give in that way you don’t really know what happens to the money.”

Sheila, who lives in Canvey, used the money she was left to establish the Brian and Julie Cue Fund to support individuals, organisations and projects using music to achieve their aims or helping to develop musical talent and skills.

Brian was an accomplished classical clarinetist and was an established member of Southend Symphony Orchestra, playing with them for more than 50 years. Julie was a valued patron and a dedicated supporter of the orchestra throughout their marriage.

“Music was such an important part of Brian and Julie’s lives.” said Sheila.“I think they would be very approving that their Fund will be helping other musical people. Music gives you a chance in life to be involved in making something beautiful that other people like to listen to, even if you are only playing a small part. The Fund is going to help other people to aspire to and achieve that same feeling.

“Setting up the Fund in memory of Brian and Julie means that their names will live on in perpetuity. It is very comforting to know this, as we were such close friends.”

Britvic Soft Drinks was founded in the mid-nineteenth century in Chelmsford and was known then as The British Vitamin Products Company.

The Britvic range of juices were first produced in 1938, but it wasn’t until 1949 that the Britvic brand was formally launched.  As part of their overall policy on corporate responsibility and long-term corporate vision of supporting local communities, they established the Britvic Community Fund.  When the company relocated from Chelmsford to Hertfordshire in 2011, the Fund remained as their corporate legacy to the County and the town where the company was founded.

Frank was an entrepreneur who set up his own commercial art and photographic business in the 1950s, which proved to be very successful.  Charles joined the firm as it grew, and Ann had her own successful career in the City as a legal secretary.

As the business continued to grow, they moved out to Woodford and then on to Theydon Bois.  The family has always supported charitable causes in the East End including a local Youth Club, and we are pleased to work with their descendants to continue this legacy across West Essex and East London.  They particularly like supporting voluntary organisations which are providing help to people suffering with poor mental health, the elderly and the arts.

By the time he died, in 1724, at the age of 95, Edmund had put in place a Trust to make his vision become a reality. Over the years, a few alterations have been made to accommodate changing circumstances, but young people from Boreham and Little Baddow continue to appreciate grants to help with their education.

Margaret Martin, a Trustee, said: “We are pleased the Trust has come to ECF to secure its future and that young people will continue to benefit from educational support, which was the lasting wish of Edmund Butler.

“Many older trusts and charities face difficulties in maintaining the original aims of their founders and interpreting them for modern times. Recruiting new trustees is also a problem and finding recipients can also be a challenge. There is also the ongoing weight of responsibility of ensuring a Trust will continue in a well-managed way.

“We found that all of these obstacles could be overcome by transferring the Trust into the efficient care of ECF, confident in the knowledge that it would be in the best hands.”

Sir Richard was the firstborn son of Richard Austen Butler, better known as RAB, and Sydney Elizabeth Courtauld.  RAB had a long and distinguished career in politics in which he held positions of office which included Under Secretary of State for India, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Lord Privy Seal.

Sir Richard studied at Eton and, following in his father’s footsteps, went on to Pembroke College, Cambridge where he read Agriculture.  After returning to Essex in 1952, having served 2 years national service with the Royal Horse Guards based in Windsor and Germany, Richard married his childhood sweetheart, Susan Walker.  His commitment to the National Farmers’ Union both as an Office Holder and then as President earned him a Knighthood for Services to Agriculture in 1981.

Sue was passionate about helping others less fortunate than herself. She therefore became a leading figure in several charities including Arthritis Research Committee, St John’s Ambulance and Friends of the Braintree & Bocking Gardens.

They established the charitable Fund in the family name to support local charities and to keep the Butler name alive forever. We are pleased to be now working with their son Chris, and his wife Tania, awarding grants to Essex charities.

The tragic death of his mother from breast cancer when he was only nine years old had a profound impact on Charlie and left him struggling with mental health issues throughout his life.

Outwardly, Charlie was a confident and happy young man who was studying criminology at the University of York.  He had a large circle of friends, was a member of the lacrosse club and an active member of the student union.  Sadly, Charlie was just one of the many young people today who are suffering from mental health issues and are not getting the support they need.

“Charlie lost his battle, but there are many more young people who are suffering in silence and tackling their feelings alone. Through the Charlie Watkins Foundation we will support projects and initiatives that increase awareness of mental health issues, encourage young people to talk about their feelings and accelerate the provision of counselling services.” Harry Watkins

Judy Saunders, Society President, said “We are owned by our members – the people using our shops and services – so we are the very definition of a community business. Our colleagues are all local people, we reinvest our profits back into local neighbourhoods, and we are committed to supporting local charities and community groups.

“We are working with ECF because we want to have a deeper understanding of local charities and their needs and ensure that the money we raise and give will have the greatest impact. “To help us achieve this, and to show our commitment to the local communities we serve, we have set up an endowed fund that will grow over time and enable us to give support every year.

In addition, we distribute money raised by our members and staff during the year. It is a great combination and gives us the flexibility to meet local needs now and in the future.”

In 1962, uncertain as to what he was going to do with his life, Christopher Holmes’ parents sent him to meet Ronald Long, the Senior Partner of Smith Morton and Long, solicitors in Halstead. “Put on a suit and pretend to be interested” was his mother’s wise advice.  These turned out to be very wise words indeed as Chris worked as a solicitor for Birkett Long for 48 years, latterly holding the position of Senior Partner.

Chris was also admired for his tireless work supporting local charities, always willing to be involved in his local community.  He was the driving force behind building Colchester’s St Helena Hospice for which he received an OBE and establishing Essex Macmillan Cancer Support.  He was a Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, a member of the Court of University of Essex and in 2001 he joined Essex Community Foundation as a Trustee.   He was also Chairman of the Earls Colne Good Companions Group in his home village, a position which he held from the age of 32!

Chris died in March 2010 following a brain tumour, which became apparent almost immediately after his retirement from Birkett Long in 2007.   ECF is extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to know and work with Chris and to have benefited from his experience, legal knowledge and his great sense of humour.   Chris cared about people from all backgrounds and wanted to help them in any way that he could.  His fund, established prior to his death, will supporting charities and voluntary organisations in Essex in his memory, forever.

“The whole basis of my life is I love people from all walks of life – and I inherited that from my parents.  They were both community minded. So, I hope, am I.”  Chris Holmes

Jane Collier, whose family-based business, is Collier & Catchpole, an independent builders’ merchant, based in Colchester, is still thriving after 200 years and the Fund in the family name will give grants to charities and community groups working in the Colchester area year on year.

For Jane – who, as an an active, widely travelled and sport-loving great-grandmother with a sharp sense of humour, defies the traditional description of ‘matriarch’ – the charitable fund is the culmination of a lifetime’s giving by herself and her late husband, Roy.

“Roy would have been delighted that the charitable fund has been established in the family’s name,” said Jane.

“We have always been involved in the community, not only through the business, but also through politics and voluntary work.

“I worked with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in Colchester for nearly 20 years and Roy was a magistrate, so we both saw the problems faced by people who came from all walks of life.

“Since Roy died in 1998, I have often thought about setting up a charity independently, but then my accountant introduced me to Essex Community Foundation.

“Establishing a fund with them is ideal, because they pool your donation with all of their other funds and do all the work for you, but you can be as involved as you want in making decisions about where money from your Fund will be distributed each year.

“Although I have lived and travelled abroad quite a bit during my life, the heart of our family is in Colchester. We want our fund to make a difference to people in the area where our family and business have been established for so many years.

Roy was born and grew up in Colchester, attending school locally and then boarding at Haileybury School in Hertfordshire.   In 1955 he joined his father Samuel in the family business, Collier (Stanway) Limited, a gravel, lime and cement merchants.  He continued to work for the business following acquisitions by St Ives Sand and Gravel and then Goldfields, but the family still owned the land and office building.

When the lease came up for renewal in 1975, Roy decided not to renew and set up a builders merchant operating from the site in Colchester.  In anticipation of this, Roy purchased E Catchpole & Sons, an Ipswich based builder’s merchant and the two businesses traded separately until 1988 when they were amalgamated under the Collier & Catchpole name.

Jane, who grew up on a fruit farm in Frating, has four children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren and another on the way.  She is delighted that family members will be able to continue the legacy the charitable fund will provide for Colchester.


As well as her work with the CAB, Jane was Chair of Governors of The Gilberd School for several years and of the Colchester Sixth Form College from its inception and for the first 10 years of its existence.  She was also involved in the medical world, with the Family Practitioner Committee, is a member of a Christian Fellowship and is an enthusiastic croquet and bridge player.

In 1985 Jane was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen for services to the community and to politics.

She first met Roy at the Garrison Officers’ Club in Colchester and they were married in1957, when Jane was 20.  She was soon involved in the family business as company secretary and wages clerk, as well as bringing up her children. Jane and Roy had a passion for politics and were founder members of Stanway Conservative Association.


Recalling Roy, Jane smiles when she remembers him teasing her about being “a magpie” when, in the early days of marriage, he found she had collected, washed and stored an array of baby food jars. “After that, anything I collected or stored was called Magpie-ing” said Jane.

But there is a difference between Jane and Magpies, as the birds have an instinct for taking, but her focus has always been on giving.

Roy was always involved in the local community, as was Jane, and she continues to be very active and interested in local issues.  Setting up the family fund with us will ensure the support that they have always given continues in the family name both now, and as a lasting legacy.

Sonia and Giles Coode-Adams moved to Essex in 1961, first to Little Baddow and then in 1978 to Feering near Colchester. They married in 1960, have two children and four granddaughters. They share a love of art, sculpture and horticulture all of which have woven their way into every part of their lives.

Giles, who worked in the City for 40 years, has held many charity Trustee appointments and non-executive roles. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant in 1992 and awarded the OBE in 1998. From 1991 to 1997 he was the Chief Executive of the Kew Foundation and was one of the Founders of the Millennium Seed Bank.  Latterly he was President of the Royal Horticultural Society and was awarded the Victoria Medal in 2012.

Sonia, who studied at The Byam Shaw School of Art, has been very involved with Essex charities including the Friends of Essex Churches and is President of The Royal British Legion, Women’s Section in Essex.  She was Chairman of the Trustees of Firstsite in Colchester in 1993 and has been very involved ever since.

Sonia and Giles have both been great supporters of Firstsite and strongly believe that everyone in Essex should have access to the best and most exciting art. They established their charitable fund to give on-going support to the gallery and they hope that their love of art will be enjoyed by others for many years to come.

The Coombewood Centre in Rayleigh was a sheltered workshop, set up in 1971 by Essex County Council (ECC), to provide employment through the production of leather goods.  A proportion of the money from goods sold was placed in a fund which was used to help people attending the Centre, receive practical help finding work.

Subsequent changes in mental health policy led to employment opportunities for people with a mental illness being provided in a different way and in 2002, Coombewood became a Mental Health Resource Centre meeting a wide range of people’s needs.

It was the wish of former clients, staff and endorsed by ECC, that the fund continue the original aims by helping people with mental health problems gain employment in the future.   The assets were transferred to us in 2003 to establish the Coombewood Amenity Fund and grants are awarded to fund training, improve educational or development skills and initiatives that can offer more individual support or confidence building.

Ian and Alison Twinley moved to Crix in 2007.  Set in over 50 acres of gardens and surrounding parkland, they spent the next few years renovating the house and stables to bring the buildings back to their former glory.

As much as they enjoy life at Crix, Ian and Alison accept that they are only the current custodians of this beautiful Georgian building.  They have always wanted others, particularly local charities, to benefit from all that the house and grounds has to offer.

Each year, numerous events, including drinks receptions and concerts are held at Crix and it is also the venue for the annual Essex Dog Day.  Thousands of pounds have been raised for local charities, but Ian is quick to point out that behind these activities is a fundraising committee and a whole host of volunteers which creates a great sense of community.

Ian, who is Chairman of the John Grose car dealership group in Suffolk and Chairman of the Essex Audi Group, supports and works with many charities, using his business background to help them think more strategically about their financial sustainability.  He knows that, for many small voluntary organisations being able tap into grants regularly is really important and can help them to plan and maintain their services.

Daphne Lilian Burley was born in 1926 in South Kensington.  The family later moved to Colchester where Daphne attended the County High School for Girls.  Sadly, her plans to attend Six Form College were cut short following the death of her father and instead, she applied for a job in the Colchester Public Library, where, over the next 42 years, she would qualify as a librarian, become Chief Assistant and develop the library’s recorded music collection.  In 1952 she married Fredrick Woodward who worked as a local government officer.

After her retirement in 1984 and Fred’s death in 1988, Daphne’s involvement with the Lion Walk Church led to her becoming a qualified and valued lay preacher.  She was very artistic and used her talents to raise funds for various local charities, including St Helena Hospice and Home-Start.  Her interest in local history also saw her qualify as a town guide.

A bequest from her good friend, Celia Allen, who she had met through Home-Start, prompted Daphne to set up a trust to help struggling families.  The Fund in her name now supports Home-Start organisations in Essex, allowing them to offer families, with at least one child under 5 and under stress from issues including post-natal depression, isolation and bereavement, the opportunity of taking a holiday. Such opportunities can create precious memories, strengthen bonds and help families to return feeling refreshed.

Dennis and Kathleen Smith were keen gardeners and their garden in Warren Road, Leigh-on-Sea was quite a showpiece. They were both avid conservationists long before it became as prominent as it is today and they were great supporters of many charitable causes.

Dennis was a chartered surveyor with a local firm called James Abbot Dennis Smith & Partners and he was also a member of The Rotary Club of Leigh-on-Sea. Jim Bates was a Solicitor and a fellow Rotarian. He first met Dennis in 1952 and they became close friends. It was a friendship that would lasted their whole lives.

When it came to making their Wills and as they didn’t have children or close family, Dennis and Kathleen asked Jim for advice. It was then that they decided to set up a Charitable Trust.

Following Dennis and Kathleen’s death, Jim was their executor and set up the Trust in 1982 in accordance with their wishes. Jim remained a trustee until 2010 when ill health led him to retire and he appointed his wife Diane and a close friend, Noel Kelleway to continue as trustees. Noel, who sadly died in March 2020, was an Accountant and well-known in Southend and Leigh-on-Sea for his tireless work and support for local charities and causes.

When the RHS Garden Hyde Hall was opened various donations from the Trust were given for specific projects to recognise Dennis and Kathleen’s passion and interest in all things horticultural.

In 2011 Noel suggested to Jim and Diane that the Fund be transferred to us. We could undertake all the administration, but they could retain the privilege of making decisions on the distribution of funds each year.

We continue to work Diane, keeping alive the memories of Dennis, Kathleen, Jim and Noel, who were all involved with the Trust and continuing to support their local community forever.

Derrick and Margery Bailey were both born and bred in Essex and attended schools in Brentwood.  They married in 1954 and lived in Ingatestone and Langford before moving to Goldhanger in 1975, their home for 37 years.

Derrick spent 38 years working in the insurance world travelling extensively in the USA to assess agricultural insurance for the underwriting of cotton plantations, vineyards and citrus fruits.

After graduating from University, Margery worked in personnel management, but finally for Maldon District Council as an advisor establishing the concept of pre-schools and play groups.  In the 70’s Margery served as a Rural District Councillor, but then became increasingly involved in local organisations and committees including helping with Meals on Wheels.

Derrick and Margery had three children; Stephen, Sarah and Juliet, and seven grandchildren.  They were both supporters of ECF since it began in 1996 and so, when Margery sadly died in 2010, Derrick felt it was the right time to establish a Fund in the name of the family.  In April 2015, Derrick also sadly died, but their fund continues and we awards grants annually in their name, supporting local pre-schools and early years activities in Essex.

Diana Marks was born on 18 May 1927 and lived in South Woodford.  She attended boarding school in Kent and then went to horticultural college.  Diana had a great artistic talent so when she finished college she attended St Martin’s School of Art in London for three years followed by the Frobel teacher training college.

In 1954 she married Jack Tinson and moved to Colchester where she taught Maths at Great Tey Primary School until leaving to have her daughter, Penny. Diana was always involved in helping others, such as funding a number of young students to help them through college, sending vitamins to poor communities overseas, volunteering as a counsellor with the Samaritans and setting up a cancer support group.  In 1984 she bought premises in Colchester and established The Trinity Centre, which offered a range of complementary therapies, medicines and nutrition advice to clients.

Diana established a charitable trust with her husband Jack called the Chiron Trust, following the sale of the family business, Trebor, through which they supported many charitable activities. When the management of the Trust became increasingly difficult, they transferred it to ECF.  Diana died in 2012, but the Fund continues to support the work of charities and voluntary organisations addressing issues that she always had an interest in.

We are helping them to give immediate support to families and charities providing vital care and support to children with mental or physical disabilities.

Since they started working with us, they have awarded £110,000 in grants locally. “This is a great partnership for us and makes perfect sense. It’s important for us to invest in our local community and ECF has the expertise we need to help us achieve our corporate charitable aims and ensure that the money we give away is used in the most effective and efficient way.” Michael Wright, Operations Director

The Duet Fund was established in 2012 by the Reverend Christopher Courtauld (1934 – 2014).  The fund enables young people, particularly those who are disadvantaged to gain personal development through the challenge and adventure of life at sea on a sailing vessel.

Duet is a fine example of a gaff-rigged yawl retaining the features of an Edwardian classic yacht and celebrated her 100th year in 2012.  She is managed by the Cirdan Sailing Trust who celebrated her centenary year by sailing around the UK with young people as crew.  Duet remains in the ownership of the Courtauld family who came over from France as Huguenot refugees in the 17th Century, originally setting up as silversmiths in London and as textile manufacturers in Essex.

Now, the firm has over 250 colleagues, working in offices across East Anglia. Support for local charities and engagement with their community has always been a strong part of their ethos and we are looking forward to working with the Ellisons team to help them build on what they have already achieved.

“We are committed to supporting the local community through the work that we do, our chosen providers and other engagements. We are delighted to be working with ECF to establish our new charitable Foundation. We care for our clients, our communities and our colleagues and we feel that ECF complements our core values, offering exciting prospects for our fundraising activities in the future.” Tim Logan, Senior Partner

Essex & Suffolk Water views its charitable giving with the same long-term approach as its corporate values and strategy.  In 2003, they established a community fund with us to give support to a wide range of local projects and organisations now and in the future.

We present applications, meeting their criteria for support, to an employee committee who review, discuss and agree the applications they wish the company to support.

“Water is one of the most important commodities in our lives, and although our main function is as a business, we are very aware of the essential service we offer to our customers. We are working with ECF because they can help us support offer us a range of support to help us with our community strategy.  Our endowed fund will be here long after other funds have been exhausted, so like our reservoirs, an endowed fund is a real legacy that will benefit our communities forever.”

We are pleased to work with the trustees of the Essex & Southend Sports Trust (EASST) to award grants, on a match funded basis to voluntary organisations and individuals to improve sports facilities and equipment, help talented youngsters in Essex develop their sporting potential and encourage disabled people to compete in sport at the highest levels.

EASST was founded in 2002 by businessman, entrepreneur and sports enthusiast, Peter Butler and together with his lifelong friend, Joe, they have encouraged sports to flourish at a grassroots level.

Peter, who lives in Chelmsford with his wife, Linley, was born in the Southend area and played football for Old Southendians for nearly 40 years.  He remains a Southend United and Essex County Cricket enthusiast today.

Peter said, “I am immensely proud of being from Essex and I want to see more and more of our young people participating in sport and having access to quality facilities and equipment“.

Two local consultant cardiologists, Dr Gerald Clesham and Dr Thomas Keeble, along with charity specialist Fred Heddell, set up the fund to bring major improvements to the lives of Essex heart patients and their families. Money donated to Essex Heart Fund will only be spent in Essex, on community services and support groups, on the development of new hospital-based clinical services and to support local cardiovascular education and research.

Dr Clesham, who has been a consultant in Essex for 20 years, is president of the Chelmsford and District Cardiac Support Group said: “The Essex Heart Fund will have its own identity and we are pleased to be working with Essex Community Foundation as our umbrella organisation to provide all the relevant charity governance, which enables us to concentrate on the areas we want to support.”

The RCCE is well known for helping villages carry out parish plans and develop projects to improve key facilities such as affordable housing, village halls and community transport. It also runs the annual Essex Village of the Year competition.

The RCCE joined forces with us to create the Essex Rural Fund. Nick Shuttleworth, RCCE’s Executive Director, said, “Many Essex villages present a picture of tranquillity which masks the poor access to services and isolation experienced by many rural people today. We wanted to develop the Essex Rural Fund to help local groups find their own answers to these problems”.

The Essex Young Musicians Trust started life in June 1984 as The Friends of the Essex Youth Orchestra and in 1995 changed its name to EYMT.  For many years, funds were raised by a group of Essex Youth Orchestra parents in the Chelmsford area.  However, it was felt by those involved in the group at the time that more should be done to help those young musicians in the county who were denied the opportunity of taking advantage of the facilities available, on the grounds of cost.

EYMT raised money through events, donations, subscriptions and sponsorship to provide Full Fee Bursaries, Tour Bursaries and occasional Discretionary Awards and “Top Ups” for young musicians in Essex who showed that they had the ability and/or the potential to follow a musical career. These awards enabled young people to take advantage of an outstanding musical education, through the tuition given and experience gained, as members of the Essex Youth Orchestras.

Reflecting on 30 years of EYMT, Judith Anderson-Fowle, a former trustee said: “It has been very busy, rewarding and occasionally exhausting! At its new home in ECF, the Trust will continue to support the talented young musicians of Essex, in perpetuity.”

In 2011 we were approached by Trustees of The Phoenix Agency, which had been operating in Southend from 1992, as a mental health charity.

Changes in the organisation resulted in its staff being transferred over to a new provider. The Trustees decided the best way forward was to close the Phoenix Agency and use the remaining assets to set up an endowed fund with us.

The established Firebird Fund supports those with mental ill-health in Southend and South East Essex and is a lasting beneficial reminder of the hard work of The Phoenix agency.

On leaving school, Gary joined the Army.  It was during his time with the Armed Forces that he learned about planning, command, strategic and tactical organisation.   When he left the Army in 1986 he returned to South Essex and worked freelance in a variety of industries including petrochemical, pharmaceutical, event management and construction.

In the early 1990s he joined the United Nations High Commission for Refugees as part of the team that set up humanitarian aid and logistics in war-torn former Yugoslavia. On his return from Former Yugoslavia, Gary joined forces with Mark Dobson to form Wilson James Ltd, specialising in logistics for large or complex projects, and security for blue chip organisations.

Wilson James Ltd is now regarded as an industry leader, employing over 2,000 people nationwide.  The company, with its headquarters in Southend, has a strong ethos of providing training and development opportunities for its staff, something which Gary is very keen on.  “

He said: “Our business has always had a strong sense of family and community.  Its success has allowed me to invest further in our community and for some time I had been considering the idea of establishing a charitable fund so that I could give something back.  When I talked to ECF, I knew the time was right to make that investment for the future”.

The George Courtauld Educational Charity was transferred to us in 2017 and continues to support young people under the age of 21 who live, or whose parents live, in Braintree District.

George was born in Pebmarsh in 1830.  After being educated at University College London, he became a partner in the firm of Samuel Courtauld & Co, a textile manufacturing company that had been established by his grandfather in 1798.  George was very much a member of the local community, holding appointments such as Justice of the Peace and High Sheriff of Essex in 1896. In December 1878, he was elected as the Liberal MP for Maldon, a position that he held until 1885.  He was married three times and had 13 children.

“I am delighted that the trustees have chosen to transfer my great grandfather’s Trust into the safe hands of ECF so that his legacy can continue to benefit young people in Braintree.”  George Courtauld DL (Great Grandson)

Carole was a long serving Trustee of the Foundation and both she and her husband Alan continue to make an enormous contribution to our success. They established their named fund with us in 2008 and support voluntary and community organisations working on some of the county’s tougher issues such as substance misuse.

She was a member of the dance troupe for four years, culminating in its 1952 tour of South Africa. When she returned to Essex, Gwendy started work for the Colchester Lathe Company where she stayed for 31 years. After her husband Colin died in 1983, she resumed her love of performing and made appearances as an extra on many well-known TV series, including Hi-De-Hi and Lovejoy.

Gwendy is fondly remembered by all who knew her as a warm and exuberant personality, the life and soul of any gathering, and as someone who enjoyed her nearly 90 years to the full.
She was involved in many local community activities and we were delighted to receive a legacy from her. We look forward to keeping her memory alive through the Fund established in her name.

“Gwendy was such a wonderful lady who was full of enthusiasm for life. Dancing and performing were her passion, and she was always keen to be involved in local activities whether it was through the church or the croquet club.

“She had no children or close family to leave her estate to, so when I raised the idea of setting up a Fund in her name with ECF and leaving a legacy, Gwendy was so pleased that she could help people after she died, and that she would be remembered for years to come.”
Fiona Ashworth, Thompson Smith and Puxon

The Harwich Haven Authority was created by act of Parliament in 1863 to safeguard the estuary and preserve 150 square miles of the Haven With around 40% of the country’s container traffic travelling through this deep natural estuary, the port makes a significant contribution to the UK’s economic growth.


As a trust port, with no shareholders, the Authority’s income is generated from pilotage and conservancy services that it delivers to ships visiting the Haven ports.  Operating surpluses are reinvested back into the organisation for the benefit of its stakeholders; employees, customers, residents, businesses and local community groups.

In 2018, the Authority established charitable funds with community foundations in both Essex and Suffolk to support voluntary activity around the Harwich Haven.   The fund in Essex benefits local people living in Harwich and Dovercourt.

“As one of Harwich’s major employers we are very much at the heart of the community.  We are, however, keen to make our community giving strategy more cohesive to benefit as many groups and initiatives as we can.  Drawing on the knowledge and experience of ECF will help us to maximise our giving programme to our stakeholders in the Haven.” Neil Glendinning, Chief Executive

The Mayflower Legacy Fund has been set up by Ivan Henderson, who has devoted almost three decades to public service in Harwich.

The fund has been named after the Mayflower which was registered in Harwich and, 400 years ago, was sailed from England to America.

“I wanted to celebrate the anniversary of Master Christopher Jones’ sea voyage aboard the Mayflower and create something that will support local charities and will last beyond the anniversary year,” said Ivan.

“I feel very fortunate to have been able to launch the Mayflower Legacy Fund and I am delighted that my allocation of £10,000 from Essex County Council and further donations to the fund will be match-funded through the Proceeds of Crime Matched Funding Scheme, which is managed by ECF with support from Essex Police.  This means that for every £2 donated, £1 will be added.  If gift aid can be claimed this is matched as well, which means the original donation is nearly doubled.

“The fund will have a link to the ongoing maritime history of Harwich and, importantly, will build up over time and create a legacy that will support and benefit local people for years to come.

“There are so many local organisations who have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and they really need extra support. A lot of children and young people will be facing difficult issues and the fund will help them and enable them in turn to become involved and make a positive contribution to their community.”

Ivan, a former MP for Harwich, is a district and town councillor, as well as being a county councillor for the area. He was due to become Mayor of Harwich in May in 2020, but, because of the pandemic, this was postponed until May 2021.

Ivan has lived in Harwich for all of his life and worked at the docks for 20 years. He has to date completed 28 years public service, is now a transport consultant and is prominent in promoting tourism in Harwich.

He said: “I am looking forward to becoming Mayor of Harwich for the first time and, once I take office, all my Mayoral fundraising will go into the Mayflower Legacy Fund. I am hoping to encourage businesses and individuals to regularly contribute and have already had support committed from Milsom Hotels and Harwich Haven Authority.

“By doing this together we can build a financial resource for local charities and voluntary groups working in Harwich and Dovercourt to tap into and which will provide ongoing support, particularly for organisations that are contributing to community safety and those working with children and young people.”

It will be a fitting occasion to mark Ivan’s vision to help create a positive future for young people and support local charities, while honouring the remarkable history of Harwich.


For more information and to make a donation to the fund visit Ivan’s JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/harwichmayflower400legacyfund

Hew trained at the Writtle Institute of Agriculture before taking over the tenancy of Heath Place Farm from his father in 1937, on his marriage to Molly (nee Payne) who was an active partner in the family farming business. During the war he became a member of the War Agricultural Advisory Committee.  He was a fervent believer in the concept of the family farm unit providing a stable rural structure.

Off-farm, Hew was a Justice of the Peace in Thurrock for 34 years, and chaired or was a member of organisations and societies as diverse as the Apple and Pear Development Council, the Nature Conservancy, the Oxford Farming Conference, Thurrock Marriage Guidance Council, Orsett Congregational Church and Thurrock Rotary Club.

Hew was a writer and broadcaster too, and was noted for his wit, charm and humanity, as well as his ability to spark off debates with highly pertinent comments or questions. Hew Watt was appointed an OBE for services to agriculture.

We have managed the High Sheriff’s Fund since 1997.  Successive High Sheriffs have held fundraising events during their year of office to raise money for the Fund and this, together with support from the Proceeds of Crime Matched Funding Scheme set up with us by Essex Police, has helped the Fund to grow quickly.

The Fund provides for an annual grants programme which charities and voluntary organisations can apply to for support.  Each year a panel of judges, chaired by the current High Sheriff and including past and future High Sheriffs, the Chief Constable, Chief Fire Officer and Chair of Essex County Council, consider all the applications for grants.

A wide range of voluntary groups and projects have received support over the years, including garden maintenance schemes for elderly residents to reduce incidence of burglary, anti-social behaviour reduction initiatives and diversionary activities for young people as well as schemes supporting victims of rape, modern slavery, trafficking and domestic violence.

To discuss an application email us on grants@essexcf.org.uk.

For more information about the role and history of High Sheriffs click here.

The couple, who live in Mundon, near Maldon, established the Hollis Family Fund with us in December 2019.

Sandra, now retired, has had a successful two-stage career. She grew up in North Wales and, after graduating from Durham University in 1978 with a degree in modern languages, she joined Reuters Ltd.

Over the next 20 years she took on strategic business development and marketing roles, including responsibility for global relationships with the world’s largest banks and brokers.

The second stage of her career, after gaining a masters degree in marketing, saw her in senior marketing and development roles in the academic world, at the University of East London and at Anglia Ruskin University, where she became Pro Vice-Chancellor.

Sandra joined ECF as a trustee in November 2017, so is fully aware of the positive impact the organisation makes by channelling grants from the funds it manages to support voluntary and community groups in Essex.

“Myself and my husband Bill got to know about ECF through some friends,” said Sandra. “I thought that my background and experience could be of help and I became involved with ECF as a trustee.

“Having lived in Essex since 1988 Bill and I wanted to give something back and decided to start a fund with ECF. We are at the beginning of our journey with this and our intention is to grow and develop the fund over time and leave a legacy here in Essex.

“One of the themes we are interested in supporting is community safety and our fund has already had the benefit of some match-funding. We have been able to create our fund with full confidence in ECF who make it so easy to get started.”

Sandra and Bill, who had his own international trading business, first met in London.  On moving to Essex, their first home was in Thurrock where Sandra says they were given a very warm welcome by kind, generous and hospitable people.

“Over the past 30 years we have enjoyed getting to know this great County”, said Sandra. “It has so much to offer and we are still uncovering places, history and things we didn’t know about local communities.

“Being a trustee at ECF has additionally given me an insight into local issues and the wide range of support that local charities give to people who are in need.  We will be looking at the various areas we want to support over the coming years.”

The fund allows Objective IT, a local Software Development and Data Analytics company, and its staff to give back to the community where they live and work.

The fund aims to support Chelmsford projects which help fellow citizens. The name Honalee is a personal tribute to Cath’s father, Jerry Owen, a successful businessman, as well as a musician, writer and artist, who was a great advocate of Objective IT. The company is now run by Cath’s eldest daughter, Lara Fox.  A family business, the personal name brings together the family values Objective IT wishes to promote. Born and bred in Chelmsford, Lara is keen to use the fund to make a positive impact locally and as an active member of the Essex business community, she is convinced that “giving back” is an important aspect of a good business ethos.

The Hutton Charity was originally set up in 1977 in memory of Dr Patrick John Hutton and his wife Anne Elizabeth, who both tragically died aged 43 and 40 respectively on 3 March 1974 in the Paris Air Disaster.

Dr and Mrs Hutton were both scientists who worked at Harwell in Oxfordshire, which was once the HQ of the UK civil nuclear research programme. When he died, Dr Hutton was a Principal Scientific Officer at the UK Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE).

Patrick Hutton was born on 18 January 1931. He lived with his family in Chelmsford and attended the King Edward VI Grammar School (KEGS). He was an A Class student who excelled in maths, physics and chemistry and he was also a Sergeant in the school Cadet Corps.  Patrick left KEGS in 1949.  In 1951 he commenced his studies for a degree in Physics at Exeter College, Oxford.  This was followed by a DPhil on ‘The Growth of Droplets’ which was completed in 1959.

The surviving Trustees wanted to ensure the future of the Charity and after contacting the Charity Commission, were advised to get in touch with us.  The Charity was transferred to our management in 2008 and continues to give support to medical care and research within hospitals across Essex.

Jack followed his two brothers into the Royal Navy at the age of 16 and was trained in engineering. He loved the life but was invalided out of the navy in 1950 following a severe head injury.

Several members of Jack’s family moved to Watford in search of employment after the war and this is where Jack met and married his first wife, Thelma, in 1952. There they had two children, Christine and Stephen.  Jack became a Labour Councillor for Knutsford Ward, Watford, and worked as an engineer at Smiths Engineering and later at Odhams Printers.

Throughout his working life he was elected to represent his fellow workers, becoming a “Father of the Chapel” at Odhams, one of the largest employers in Watford.

Jack married his second wife Pat in 1973 and in 1974 he joined Equity, the actors’ union, as one of their national representatives. Pat grew up in Hove with her sister, Sheila, and her parents. She went to Homerton College, Cambridge, and then spent two years teaching science at St. Mary’s Grammar School in Pinner, NW London.

In July 1966, Pat set off across Europe and Asia with one of the first companies to offer adventure travel, Penn Overland. This was the start of four years of wonderful travel in Europe and Asia, interspersed with periods of teaching in Australian Secondary Schools to replenish the empty coffers.  She returned to the UK in June 1970 and found work teaching Science and Maths at Hampstead Comprehensive School in NW London.  Jack and Pat met the following summer and a year later purchased a small terraced house in Watford.  Pat later took up the post of Headteacher at Westcliff High School for Girls and they relocated to Hadleigh in Essex.

In retirement, Jack continued with many activities connected with Equity and his hobbies included sculpting and turning in wood, reading plays with a group of friends, listening to classical music and cooking. Pat decided to set up the Fund in Jack’s memory when he passed away.

Jean Davey (nee Usher) was born at Great Bradfords Farm in Braintree in 1927.  She spent many of her childhood years there and, later in life, returned to the farmhouse to share it with her husband Peter.  Jean’s parents were dairy farmers and in 1948 went into business with the Magnus family from Chelmsford to set up the dairy company Magnus & Usher Limited.

Jean worked for the company from the 50s until the business was sold to Dairy Crest in the late 1980.  She also worked with her husband running the Braintree division of the business known as Usher & Sons Limited.  Jean met her husband Peter while working at Courtaulds in Bocking and took over the running of the family business when her parents retired.  Jean and Peter were excellent ballroom dancers and ran dance classes for the milkmen they employed in the small social club that belonged to the business.

Sadly, Jean’s dancing was curtailed by the onset of multiple sclerosis whilst she was in her 20s and she lived with the illness for over 50 years.  One of Jean’s other passions was her dogs and Jean and Peter made loving homes for many different dogs during their married life.

Jean and Peter had a bungalow built in the gardens of Great Bradfords Farm and made that their permanent home.  Peter was by this time in poor health and died very soon afterwards.  Jean lived in the bungalow until her death in November 2012.

Following the building of the bungalow, Jean and Peter decided that they wished to gift the old farmhouse and adjoining land to Abbeyfields for a Sheltered housing complex.  After extensive refurbishment and building work, this was opened in 2007 and now provides 34 units of assisted sheltered housing.  This was one of the many generous bequests made by Jean and Peter during their lifetime.

They were a very devoted couple and despite being very private, they were extremely generous to family, friends and both local and national charities.  When Jean sadly passed away in 2012 she kindly divided her residual estate between 12 different charities.  Most were national organisations, but she was also interested in supporting local charities and by leaving a bequest to us, voluntary an

Following the sale of the family business, Trebor, in 1989, John and Wenna Marks set up their own family charity, The Mulberry Trust, through which they support many charitable activities.  However, they were well aware that there are far more charitable needs than they can keep track of and established the John and Wenna Marks Charitable Fund with us to support their charitable giving in Essex.

John lived in Essex all his life and was educated at Oundle. He completed his National Service in the Royal Engineers where, he said “I reached the dizzy heights of second lieutenant!”. He then went on to Cambridge to study Law.  In 1957 John married Morwenna Simpson, who came from the West Country, and they have four sons.  John sadly died in 2012.

The Kay Jenkins Trust was established to commemorate two 19th century rectors of St Mary’s Church in Great Leighs: the Reverend Clarke Jenkins who came to Great Leighs in 1823 and the Reverend William Kay who became rector in 1866.

During his time at Great Leighs, Rev Kay restored the chancel, installed the pulpit and rebuilt the rectory, and in 1882 he built alms houses on Boreham Road. The sale of these alms houses in 1974, combined with legacies from other family members, formed the Kay Jenkins Trust which was transferred to us in 2016 and gives support in the Parishes of Great and Little Leighs.  We work with a panel of residents to discuss and agree grant applications.

Julia Abel Smith, a former Trustee of the Trust said:  “Managing a Trust is a significant responsibility as you are required to ensure appropriate financial management and distribute grants in accordance with the original objectives.  By transferring the Trust to ECF, we no longer have the legal and financial responsibility, but we can still enjoy being involved in the grantmaking.”

The Charities of Lord Rich and John Smith were combined with the Kay Jenkins Trust in 2018 after they were transferred to our management by the Great and Little Leighs and Little Waltham Parochial Church Council.

The two charities were left as bequests to the local community in 1554 and 1726 respectively.

1st Baron Rich (1496/97 – 12 June 1567) was Lord Chancellor during the reign of King Edward V1 of England from 1547 until 1552.  He founded Felsted School and associated alms houses in 1564. He was a beneficiary of the suppression of the monasteries, which included acquiring Leez (Leighs) Priory and about one hundred manors in Essex.

Lord Rich’s charity was established to provide “one barrel of white herrings and half a barrel of red herrings” to be distributed on Sundays, during Lent, among poor families in the parish of Little Leighs.

John Smith’s charity was to provide “good wheaten bread, quarterly on the Sunday after Feast days” for the poor people in Little Leighs and old Saling.

Following agreement by the trustees, the two charities were combined with the Kay Jenkins Trust.  In this way, the Lord Rich and John Smith charities will continue to support local people in need, in line with original wishes of the donors.

The objects of the Trust were to support people with a history of mental illness by providing permanent, temporary or periodic care and accommodation to aid their recovery. Over the years the Trust’s activities extended well beyond Essex to reach as far as Cornwall.

In recent times, the practical assistance tended, in the main, to be provided by other charities and organisations. The Trustees decided that it would better serve the objects of the Trust to pass over their substantial property assets to those organisations close the Trust’s operational activities and transfer the shell of the Trust to another charity. Mindful of the Trust’s volunteer roots and small beginnings, it was also thought appropriate to set up a permanent fund to provide grants to smaller organisations in the locality.  The Trustees felt that ECF was perfectly placed to provide the relevant expertise and administration.

When Link-ed, the company set up by Mike Williamson, closed in 2012, his fellow directors decided to use the remaining assets to create a charitable fund in his memory.  The fund supports organisations working with young people in the areas of education, skills and employment throughout Essex.

The Little Braxted Education and Community Trust was set up in 2012. The monies for the Trust came from the sale of a Victorian school room and house in Little Braxted.

“I was listening to a talk at one of the Foundation’s events about how they can take over the management of Trust Funds.  This interested me because I had recently become a Trustee of Little Braxted Education and Community Trust, which was planning the use the proceeds from the sale of the old village schoolhouse in Little Braxted to produce an income so it could make local grants.  

“My fellow trustees and I liked the idea of being involved with a Trust which benefited our local community, but we liked ECF’s approach to investment. On our own, we would have found it very hard to produce a decent income to fund the grants and manage the fund to ensure that it benefited future generations.  I was therefore delighted when I heard that while ECF could deal with the day-to- day management of the Trust for us, we could still have the enjoyment of being involved in the distribution of funds.  It was a win, win solution for us. 

“The process of transferring the Trust was straightforward and since then, we continue to enjoy working with ECF to distribute grants to support local activities in and around Little Braxted.”

Longfield Solar Farm is a proposed new solar energy farm between Terling and Chelmsford. It is being progressed by joint partners EDF Renewables and Padero Solar.

They are working with us at Essex Community Foundation (ECF) because of our knowledge of the local voluntary sector in Essex and our expertise in managing funding programmes on behalf of a range of donors.

All applications to the Fund will be assessed by the ECF grants team. The simple online form can be found here.

Malcolm and Beryl married in 1948 and lived in Buckhurst Hill until 1956 when they moved to Shenfield. Malcolm worked in London as a Chartered Secretary to a firm of Solicitors whilst Beryl worked for Brentwood Council, firstly in the Treasurers Department, then as assistant to the Parks and Cemeteries Manager until she retired in the early 1970’s.

After Malcolm died in 2005 and Beryl become too ill to look after herself, she moved to Bognor Regis to be near the rest of her family. Both Malcolm and Beryl were avid golfers and were Founder Members of the Warley Golf Club, where Malcolm’s ashes are scattered.  Thanks to their generous bequest, we can ensure that their memory lives on in Essex.

Now, having retired aged 60, he is embarking on a new phase in his life, helping people to have better lives, using what he has learned and what he has earned through experience and dedicated work.

Establishing a family fund will help Atul and his family to have a positive and enduring impact, both in the county of Essex and internationally.

“I have been very lucky to have had a successful and financially rewarding career,” said Atul, who lives in Shenfield.

“We came here to the UK from Uganda in 1972 months before president Idi Amin expelled Asians from the country. We arrived with nothing, when I was 10 years old. Luckily, I had a sister already studying here and she helped us to settle down. We needed to work for everything we had and I feel fortunate to have been able to build up my career.

“Knowing that I had enough money to live comfortably I wanted to give to good causes, but didn’t know the best way of doing that.

“I had given to some causes on an ad-hoc basis, but wanted something that would endure, where you could see the results of the support you are giving. I didn’t want to set up my own charity and have the burden of all the necessary administration and governance that involves.

“It was my financial adviser Dan Haylett who introduced me to Essex Community Foundation. Setting up a family fund with them has been ideal, as they take on the running of it and do it so well. I can help charities meet their objectives, in a hands-on way too, and my family will be involved in deciding which charities we support.

“I have been very struck by a question Dan poses to people who want to give. He asks them, ‘Wouldn’t you prefer to give your money away with a warm heart rather than a cold hand?’ In other words, he recommends giving while you are able to, in your lifetime.

Atul and his wife Carole, a former IT professional in the City, along with daughters Krishni, Georgie and Grace will be working with ECF to give grants to charities in Essex dealing with children’s causes, education, minority communities, refugees and asylum seekers, environmental issues and domestic abuse. The Fund will also make designated donations to chosen charities working internationally.

Marion was born on 6 August 1866 and died on 14 January 1966, just short of her 100th birthday.  She and was one of the seven daughters of George Courtauld of Gosfield: part of the wealthy, but radical, family who had factories and farms in Essex and later, throughout the world.

The sisters were a formidable force in the progressive world of female emancipation. Between them they founded – or helped found – organisations such as the Women’s Suffragette Movement, the Allotment Holders Association and the Women’s Farm & Garden Union; additionally one served throughout the First World War as a doctor, being awarded both the Croix de Guerre and the White Eagle of Serbia; another was one of the earliest female farmers and founded a college which eventually gave birth to the Women’s Land Army.

Ruth’s life was more sedentary than those of most of her sisters, but she was a great influence in the background, and having the fortune to be extremely well off, her philanthropy, although generally unrecognised, was of enormous benefit to the people of Essex.

In appearance, she was small and alert, with very bright blue eyes; in later years she wore her snow-white hair cut short. Even in her last year her mind was sharp, humorous, considerate, but cynical (perhaps not surprising for someone who lived for 100 years); and she was always interested in what was happening with family, friends and the community as a whole.

She never married, but her influence lives on, through her goodness, her kindness and her generosity and the fund in her name supports educational and cultural opportunities for young people from Braintree.

The initial aim of RESCU’s fundraising was to build a respite care centre, which would have been called Maypole House. But when it was realised that this could not be achieved RESCU took the decision to close the charity and put the money to use in a way that would honour their original objectives and build on all they had achieved.

Grants awarded from The Maypole House Charitable Fund will support the provision of respite services for children and adults with disabilities and their families and carers.

Jill Elms, a trustee with RESCU said: “We are very pleased that we have been able to establish the Maypole House Charitable Fund with ECF.  A lot of hard work went into our original fundraising and we are very grateful for all the support we received.

“It was not easy to have to make the decision that building a respite care centre was no longer feasible or sustainable, but working with ECF means that we can stay true to the spirit of our earlier aims and still support voluntary organisations giving respite to people who need it most, now and in the future.”

Mersea Homes is a third-generation construction and development company run by Stuart Cock.  The business was started in 1947 by Stuart’s grandfather and in 1967 Stuart’s father, Trevor, took over and laid the foundations of the successful family business that Stuart runs today.

Family values are important to Mersea Homes and in the time that Stuart has been Managing Director, he has worked hard not to let the standards of the company drop and it continues to thrive.   By combining the delivery of high-quality schemes with affordable housing and community infrastructure and a long-term view regarding development opportunities in the region means that they can maintain their long-standing work force, build developments that they are proud of and ones that people want to live in.  It is this mantra that was the catalyst for them to formalise their charitable giving and establish their fund with us in 2012.

“Being a local family-run business, we are committed to supporting charities and community projects close to home.  We are pleased to join forces with ECF so that we can gain from their knowledge and expertise which will help us to ensure that the funding we give will be doing the best job possible”.

Michael Pratley played an active role in the community and charitable work and had an innate sense of social justice.  His wife Rhiannadd has a professional background in adult literacy.

Sadly, Mike died in 2008 after developing a brain tumour, but before he died, he and Rhiannedd and their sons, Euros and Hywel, established a fund in Mike’s name through which they could support local charities with a preference towards those promoting learning and education.

“Mike believed that everyone deserved a second chance in life.”  Rhiannedd Pratley

Funding is helping organisations to address and reduce health inequalities, especially for people with mental health problems.

Grants totalling £185,000 were made available under the programme, to support either revenue costs, projects or capital costs.

Gerald Milsom discovered Le Talbooth in 1952 when it was just a simple tearoom with a superb location by the river Stour.  The business, now run by Gerald’s son Paul and his wife Geraldine, includes Le Talbooth, Milsoms restaurant in Dedham,  The Pier in Harwich and Kesgrave Hall in Suffolk. With a reputation for providing top quality food and service, Milsom Hotels are viewed as some of the best places to eat, drink and stay in the Stour Valley.

Gerald sadly died in 2005. He was a larger than life character and was a great supporter of charitable activity. Paul and Geraldine are carrying on his legacy through the Milsom Charitable Fund supporting voluntary and community organisations in Essex, with a preference for supporting projects in Harwich.

Jonathan and Margaret (Miff) Minter live in Boxted near Colchester.  The Estate was bought by Jonny’s grandfather, Sir Frederick Minter KCVO, in 1926 and Jonny inherited it from his father.

After a successful career in London as a Fund Manager, including lots of international travel, Jonny moved to his family home in rural Essex in 2006.  This provided him with the opportunity for a second career and a lifestyle change.  He and Miff have worked hard over the following years to restore the house, the barns and grounds and ensure the Estate is a productive farm and a beacon for conservation. The farm has been in Higher Level Stewardship since 2010 and the Estate has won several awards for its conservation work.

Jonny was introduced to us in 2011.  He became a Trustee the following year and was then our Chairman until he retired from the Board in 2018.  Their family named fund reflects Jonny and Miff’s interests, and supports young people through an educational bias, and projects and organisations supporting voluntary activity relating to farming, wildlife and the sea.

Jonny and Miff are always willing to host events at their home and on the Estate.   Organised metal detecting events are a regular feature, and these are attended by metal detectorists from across the world.  Artefacts from every Century, dating back as far as the Bronze Age are often found, including gold coins and jewellery.  Any monies or donations raised from these events are added to the Minter Family Fund, helping to increase the amount available to support for local charities.

“ECF has become one of the joys of my life.  All I had to do was sign a fund agreement and hand over the money.  They present us with applications that meet the criteria we set for our fund and we decide which ones to support.  The beauty is that they undertake all the administration and financial management which is often the costly and less enjoyable part of setting up a charitable fund.

 “I very much hope that our children will continue to be involved with our fund in the future, but if not, we know that it will be our legacy to Essex, managed by ECF, and grants will continue to be awarded in line with our original wishes, forever.”  Jonny Minter DL

Born in Guernsey (Channel Islands), Nicki Alvey moved to Dulwich (London, England) when she was four, with her recently single Mother.

After secondary schooling in Bexhill-on-Sea (East Sussex) and central London, and eager to start work, Nicki took a business qualification at a London Polytechnic.

A career in a variety of marketing and senior management roles in both the private/commercial and not-for-profit sectors, included Nicki working for the trade body for social landlords, where she met her husband Chris Bazlinton. They got married in 1995 and bought a house together in the outskirts of Bishops Stortford. Having moved from Wimbledon in London, Nicki embraced rural life and became an active member of the local community and a Parish Councillor in 1998 (until 2008).

In 2002, Nicki broadened her social endeavours when she was appointed a magistrate for North Essex. Sitting in Chelmsford, Nicki continues to volunteer for the magistracy. Unable to have any children of her own, and sadly losing one of her three Bazlinton step-children in a tragic pedestrian crossing rail accident (Elsenham 2005), Nicki decided to establish a fund in her joint maiden (Alvey) and married (Bazlinton) names in her lifetime. Wanting to support vulnerable members of the wider Essex community, Nicki decided that ECF fitted perfectly with her own giving objectives and is happy that her Fund will continue to do so in perpetuity.

Simon Hall and Nicki Bolton got together after they both lost their spouses to cancer. Nicki had always come to Frinton on family holidays and has strong Essex connections. Simon married into the county and has lived in Essex for over 25 years. Both have been involved as trustees and volunteers in supporting local charities and community work for many years with a particular focus on homelessness and social exclusion.

Simon and Nicki live in North Essex near Colchester. Simon was High Sheriff of Essex in 2017/18 and is one of our trustees and chairman of our Grants Committee, so he is very aware of the varied needs in the county and voluntary organisations that are tackling local issues. He is a patron of Open Road, and a Council member of the University of Essex.

Nicki lived in London until recently where she set up and managed a homeless lunch facility. She is also a trustee of a private charity that has supported causes close to her heart including Cancer Research and Outpatient support, and education and literacy. More recently she has acted as an ambassador of the Country Food Trust in Essex, helping them during the pandemic by delivering food to local charities which enabled them to provide meals for homeless, vulnerable and elderly people.

The fund that Nicki and Simon have set up with us, brings together their combined interests in supporting their local community in a direct and tangible way, and as it benefited from our POCA matched funding scheme, the grants awarded from the fund will have a community safety focus, recognising how homelessness and social exclusion contribute to these issues. They plan to grow their fund with proceeds from the sale of their accumulated clutter of many years!

The Pioneer Fund has been set up to support the work of The Pioneer Sailing Trust based in Brightlingsea – ‘developing young people through practical experience’.

Using Pioneer, the 1864 deep sea Essex fishing smack, various other boats and their boatyard Harkers Yard; they work with over 1000 young people every year across a range of activities from a sail aboard Pioneer to a 4 year marine boatbuilding apprenticeship.

Development of the Harkers Yard rowing gig as a learning tool for the marine apprenticeship has led to the creation of many rowing clubs around the Essex coast and creation of a vibrant coastal rowing scene.

In the future the fund will help to develop pathways to work in predominantly the maritime sector through apprenticeships and training programs, at the same time preserving Pioneer as a unique part of Essex’s maritime heritage.

Rupert Marks, Chairman of the Trust says, “Everyone at Pioneer is delighted about the creation of the fund and the fantastic opportunities it will bring working with ECF.”

Val and Kathy were introduced to us by Rhiannedd Pratley, a past trustee of ECF and a fundholder.

Val said, “It started over a cup of tea really.  Rhiannedd had just returned from a visit to the Chelmsford Young Offenders Institute.  We started talking about the issues facing young people and the way they are treated by the criminal justice system.  She told us how she had spoken with a young lad who was in the Youth Offenders Institute for the fifth time for non-payment of bills; he had lived his life in care and simply didn’t know how to manage money.  This rang true with us as we employ young people and see how chaotic their lives can be.

“We always wanted to give something back but we didn’t know how so we decided to learn more about ECF.  It was fascinating, our eyes were opened to a whole new world, one that we wanted to be a part of and one where we knew we could make a difference in.  We started our family fund and ECF has introduced us to other charities and their work helping local people.  It is infectious and we encourage everyone to get involved.  You won’t regret it.”

Aron Priest left school without qualifications, took an apprenticeship as a printer and went on to become a self-made millionaire after selling his pioneering online printing business.  In 2018 he was made a Freeman of the City of London to mark his outstanding 30-year contribution to the printing industry.

A cycling accident led to one of the greatest challenges of his life, dealing with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Now Aron’s experiences and determination to help others have led to the latest step in his remarkable life; setting up the Priest Foundation to help people with mental health problems so they can access the counselling they need.

From an early age Aron, who lives in Rayleigh showed his entrepreneurial and hard-working nature. He grew up in Hullbridge and attended The Park School in Rayleigh, leaving in 1988.

He said: “I had various jobs while I was at school, including paper boy, milkman and greengrocer. I had a decision to make about my future when I left school, as my grades really were not great, a D in pottery was my highest score.

“I chose to go into printing, as my Grandad was a printer and so was my Dad. I had a look through the Yellow Pages listings and rang all the printing companies from A onwards. I got to D and I managed to get myself an interview with a company called Dellprint.

“I got the job, but the wage was only £50 a week, so I went home spoke to my Dad. I was on £90 a week as a greengrocer at the time, but my Dad immediately told me to go with the printing apprenticeship. So, in 1988 at the age of 16, I started my five-year apprenticeship. When I finished, I was still on £50 a week, so I moved on soon afterwards.

“I had a burning desire to work for myself and in 2000 I opened up a company called ACP Print. I met my business partner, Andy Smith, shortly after that and we joined forces, trading as Solopress.

“We moved online in 2005 which propelled us into a new stratosphere. We were a great team and before long we had 100 staff and achieved a 30 percent growth year on year. It was never our intention to sell the business, but a company made an offer to buy the firm in 2015. The deal didn’t come to fruition, but the offer helped us to realise we had something tangible to sell.

“So, in 2017 we negotiated a deal with a large group called Online Printers. This allowed me to stay on if I chose to and I am now in a new role, as an active adviser to the company. When we sold, we had 350 employees and we were turning over £31 million, the timing couldn’t have been better.

“I wanted to give something to give back to the industry, so I give tours at the great Stationers Hall in London which gives people an insight into the history of print. I am also volunteering in schools to help mentor young people who are on the cusp of taking their GCSEs, to let them know that if you are not academic there are other options, such as apprenticeships.

“My involvement with ECF and my motivation to help others facing mental health problems came about because of my own experiences. In 2014 I had an accident on my road bike during a race called the Tour of Dengie. Afterwards I was diagnosed PTSD and I had no idea what that was.

“I just I knew I wasn’t myself for a very long time. I struggled being around lots of people and felt very depressed, something I had never believed in before. Fortunately, I had private health insurance to get the support I needed, and I was lucky enough to see a therapist for the next year. With the support of my family and exercise I got myself back on track and I will never forget the people who helped me.

“I realised there are many people out there suffering in silence with their mental health, so in 2019 I decided I wanted to give something back and started the Priest Foundation. I set up the fund with ECF because they do all the administration for the charity, which allows me, my family and friends to concentrate on fundraising.

There are around 10,000 voluntary and community organisations working across the 1,400 square miles of Essex, so knowing where to start giving support can be challenging.  Our experience means we can make valuable and insightful contributions to discussions about how charitable funds can effect immediate change, as well as strengthen communities for the future.

We are pleased to work with the following public sector organisations in Essex, managing endowed funds on their behalf and trusts that have been transferred to our care.

Essex County Council

Essex County Fire & Rescue Service

Essex Police

Harlow District Council

Office of the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for Essex


Through its passionate team engagement across multiple fundraising events, Rickard Luckin’s active approach is what helps grow their charitable fund year-on-year through regular donations. The whole team are invited to support the Rickard Luckin fund and are able to get involved in the decision-making discussions, choosing which voluntary organisations will benefit each year.

“As a team we’ve always enjoyed organising fundraising events and supporting local causes. Working with ECF has helped us to be more effective with the money we give. The Foundation handles all the grant applications and help us to find organisations that will really benefit from our support.”

Roger and Jean married in 1959 and their first home was in Gidea Park, Essex, where their three sons were born.   After 13 years they moved to Ingatestone, then Hatfield Peverel and they now live in Stock.

Roger and his brother Duncan were insurance brokers at Lloyds.   The business thrived and was eventually sold to Hambros at which time the two brothers moved over to Underwriting at Lloyds.

Jean has always volunteered her time to help local and national charities including the Samaritans and The Children’s Society and both Jean and Roger are involved with their local church.

“We established our charitable fund because we have been supporters of the Foundation since it started and have watched it go from strength to strength.   We have always lived in Essex and supported local charities and we wanted to ensure that our charitable giving would continue forever.”

The team at RSM in Chelmsford set up their corporate named fund with us in 2008. Several other RSM offices around the country have also established funds with their local community foundation.

They encourage support for local communities through some significant initiatives – a payroll giving scheme, enabling employees to donate to charities in a tax efficient way and a funds-matching policy in which they encourage people to raise money for charity by matching the amount in a donation from the firm.

Our relationship with employees is central to our corporate responsibility approach. We wanted our staff to be engaged and enable them to have some fun whilst creating something which would have a lasting effect and support the smaller, less well known charities in our community. Working with the foundation was the perfect solution.

Payroll giving is a quick, easy, secure and tax-efficient way for staff to give regularly to the causes they want to support. Many RSM staff support our corporate named fund through our payroll giving scheme as it provides a seamless way for them to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they operate.

RSM is one of the UK’s largest independent firms of accountants and business advisers with 35 offices in the UK. It is also part of RSM International and has coverage in more than 120 countries worldwide.

Saffron Building Society was established in 1849 by Rev’d John Martin who was Minister of the Hill Street Baptist Church and Manager of the local gas company!  From such humble beginnings, the mutual Society has successfully grown to manage assets of over £900 million.

As part of its commitment to its Members and the community and recognising its long history in Essex and Hertfordshire, Saffron set up their charitable fund with us.

“Our Members and our community are at the heart of everything we do.  Our promise to Members is to ‘do good stuff in your community now and in the future’ and we actively encourage our staff to support charities and volunteer their time.  Establishing our fund with ECF will enable us to continue supporting local voluntary and community organisations, year on year.”  Colin Field, CEO

Simon explains, “The willow tree (Salix) can be a symbol of hope, healing and new beginnings, so is perfect as a name for this new Trust. It also helps that we grow many different varieties of willow on our farm at Rivenhall in the Blackwater Valley! With both our families being involved in farming in Essex for many decades our roots are firmly placed
in Essex.”

“During my year as High Sheriff of Essex in 2021/22 we witnessed at first hand the excellent and inspiring work that charities and volunteers carry out throughout the county. I believe there are some 10,000 voluntary groups in Essex who are the lifeblood of local communities, working tirelessly to give vulnerable people confidence, a sense of purpose and dignity, and hope for a brighter future, quite often literally saving lives.

“We wanted to support charities and projects that contribute to community safety in particular, and so our Fund has received matched funding from the Proceeds of Crime Scheme, which is also managed by ECF. This gave a significant boost to our Fund and means we will be able to award even more grants to local charities. Sometimes a small amount of money is just as important as a larger sum and can make a huge difference to an organisation.

“Emma and I are looking forward to seeing the Salix Trust grow and being able to support worthwhile causes within Essex under the guidance of ECF, knowing that the grants will help people across the county and give them hope for a safer and better future.”

After the War, Ron and Iris moved to North London and Ron began a career in the Civil Service working for the Department of the Environment.

During his distinguished career, he held a variety of senior posts and spent time in Malaysia and Singapore, where he was responsible for the decommissioning of military bases. He retired as Assistant Secretary in 1972 and was awarded a CBE in 1973.

Ron and Iris had two children and their son, who has lived in Essex since 1988 says he has “grown to appreciate its vibrancy, coastline and countryside”. The Salter McKinlay Charitable Fund has been established with ECF in memory of Ron and Iris and the aim of the fund is to help young people to learn new skills, build confidence or gain qualifications.

Florence was to be allowed to live in the bungalow until her death and then it was to be left “to the Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints Debden, never to be sold, and to be let at 25 shillings per week or sixty five pounds per annum to good church people only”.

Emily Searle died in 1959 and her daughter Florence lived in the house until her death in 2004. A High Court order in 2005 allowed the property to be sold with the majority of the proceeds going to the Parochial Church Council (PCC). The PCC decided to establish a fund with us, to be known as The Searle Trust, for the benefit of the whole parish of Debden.

The Fund was set up by local people to become the focus of local charitable giving and a unique financial resource local charities and groups could tap into year-on-year for support.

The Fund has steadily grown thanks to donations and local support. Groups are invited to apply for grants and these are discussed and considered with a panel of local residents who help us to make decisions.

If you live in Southend-on-Sea and want to support your local charities, you can make a one-off donation to the Fund or you can give regularly. You can also leave a legacy with your own specific wishes if necessary and we are always pleased to work with trustees of local trusts, either to partner with them to award grants or to take over the administration, leaving you to simply enjoy making decisions about what to support.

Please contact us at any time and we will be pleased to speak with you about your ideas to support local charities in Southend.

Jeremy and his sister, Julianne and brother Oliver, were born before the outbreak of war, but his two other brothers, Dan and Humphrey, arrived during WWII, the latter making his appearance during a doodle bug raid in 1945.  Sadly, Jeremy’s brother, Oliver, died in 1940, aged just two.

Jeremy’s grandfather farmed at Doggetts in Rochford and this became the family home when his grandparents died.  In those days the farm had two dairy herds and grew potatoes, sugar beet and cereals. The cows were sold in the mid 60’s when the farm shifted its focus towards arable crops. Together with his two brothers, Jeremy took over the 1,600 acre farm in 1980 when his father retired.  Jeremy himself retired in 1995 and Humphrey and Dan continue to run the farm.

Jeremy has a daughter and two grandsons. In 2010, he married Carolyn, who grew up in Thorpe Bay before moving to Rochford.   The farm and its history inspired Jeremy to set up the family named fund to help the community that has supported him and his family for generations.

As Joan and Robin discovered more about the work undertaken by us they decided to set up the Squirrel Fund to support local charities.

Robin said: “Our fund is small, but we hope that under ECF’s management it will grow and some of our good fortune can be passed on to others.  We are delighted that our daughter, Gaye Orford, has joined us in setting up the fund, which will fulfil our desire to help local charities whose existence would otherwise be unknown to us.

“As a family we always enjoyed watching the squirrels play in our garden, so we felt the ‘Squirrel Fund’ would evoke happy memories for us.”

The Stour Valley Environment Fund was established in October 2011 by the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Stour Valley Project.  The area involved includes landscapes which inspired ohn Constable and many other famous artists.

The Fund supports projects on both the Essex and Suffolk sides of the river Stour.  Grants are awarded to charities and voluntary groups working to enhance the environment in the Stour Valley through schemes that include improving access and awareness for local residents and visitors, as well as practical and conservation work.

The Stour Valley Environment Fund provides the opportunity for individuals and businesses to support an area cherished by all those who live in, work and visit it.

Keith and Margaret Taylor have lived in Essex all their lives and in Little Baddow for over 30 years.  They met as teenagers in dancing and amateur dramatics and married in 1965.

Keith worked in construction and oil and gas industries for most of his career.  In 1984 he set up his own business providing IT consultancy and construction project management and in 2000 established CAE Group in Chelmsford providing a full repair service to the insurance industry.  Margaret worked in finance for 20 years and after taking early retirement in 1998, she joined Keith in the business.

Involvement with local community organisations has always been a part of their lives.  Keith joined Round Table at the age of 18 and Margaret joined Ladies Circle after their marriage.  They have also supported many fundraising initiatives for local charities, including the Redbridge Housing Association, a small residential home which gives 24-hour care and nursing for residents, and where Keith’s sister Lyndy lives.

Teledyne e2v develop technology that enables a range of applications including the diagnosis and treatment of illness, life science research and Space exploration. Headquartered in Chelmsford, the company celebrated its 60th birthday in 2007. As part of the birthday celebrations, they committed to long-term support for local charities by establishing the Teledyne e2v Foundation.T

he charitable fund is a key part of the overall charitable activities of the company, which includes support for charities local to, and affecting, its employees in all of its global facilities, and encouragement for employees to become involved in local fundraising activities by match funding against their individual efforts.

Thomas Christopher Gepp was born in 1919. He grew up in Essex, spending his childhood at Hill House in Hatfield Peverel. He was educated at Sunningdale, Eton College and at New College, Oxford, where he read law.

The Second World War interrupted his studies and at nineteen years of age, he volunteered to join the Essex Yeomanry. Time was spent training in England before being involved in the landing on Gold Beach on D Day, 6th June 1944. The Essex Yeomanry was attached to 8th Armoured Brigade, part of 30 Corps. Tom was a Battery Captain throughout the Campaign, finishing up in Bremen. He was de-mobilised in 1946, after which he immediately set about taking his solicitor’s exams. Having passed these, he joined the family firm of Gepp and Sons in Chelmsford. Tom was the sixth generation of his family to be involved in the firm. He served as Under Sherriff for 25 years retiring 1988.

Evelyn Phillips Castle was born in 1917 in Suffolk. She was educated at Benenden School in Kent. At the start of the Second World War, she joined the F.A.N.Ys (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry), spending time in Colchester, driving Staff Cars and Ambulances. Later she transferred to the W.R.A.C. (Women’s Royal Army Corp) where she was involved in training drivers. She ended her service with the WRACs in Keil, Germany.

Although Tom and Evelyn both started their War Service in Colchester and ended it in Keil, it wasn’t until a few years later that they finally met. Tom and Evelyn married in 1951 and had three daughters. They lived in Margaret Roding, moving to Saffron Walden in 1995. Evelyn died in 1996 and Tom in 2011.

Joy Harvey was born on 6 August 1935. Her family had been farmers in Essex for generations and Joy’s family lived in Elmstead.  As well as arable crops they kept cattle, poultry and pigs.

As Joy grew up she became involved in all aspects of farming life, including running the farm shop and selling Turkeys at Christmas, some of which were sold to Spitalfields Market in London.  Joy liked farming, but when she went to school, she developed a love of dance, a passion which would continue throughout her life.

After leaving St Mary’s School for Girls in Colchester, Joy spent the next four years at a college in Hindhead, Sussex which specialised in teaching dance.  After she graduated, Joy returned home where she opened a dance studio in Clacton and she also taught classes in Brightlingsea, Dovercourt, Elmstead and Wivenhoe and keep-fit in Colchester.

Theodorus Tinneveld was born in Holland where his family ran a smallholding.  In his early twenties Theo would come to England on a regular basis to improve his English. It was on one such visit in 1962 that he boarded a train at Harwich and sat down next to Joy who was travelling home after teaching a dance class.

Two years’ later they were married at St Peter’s Church in Colchester. After the wedding they settled in Elmstead and ran Keelars Farm together. They were always interested in developing new ways of working and in the late sixties they became the first farm to commercially grow and sell Discovery Apples.

As well as running the farm, Theo developed his interest in Stocks and Shares and became a Member of Lloyds of London. Joy continued to manage her dance studio and classes, offered a riding stable for children of all abilities and was an active member of the local WI where she was Chairman for a period of time.

Theo and Joy spent 48 happy years together until Theo died in 2014. Their fund supports voluntary and community groups which are providing activities and help to children and adults of all ages and abilities, in and around the areas where Joy and Theo lived and worked.

William lived and worked in Essex all his life and his wife, June, worked alongside him.  In 1980, from their home in South Woodham Ferrers, they built a successful disposable supplies company called DCS Ltd which distributes catering disposables, food packaging and hygiene products across the UK.

All of William and June’s children have been involved in the company. Their daughter, Jane, worked with her parents until she married and had her own family. Their sons, Paul and James, then joined and were encouraged to learn all aspects of the business.

Since William’s death from cancer in 2012, Paul and James have run the business with fellow director, Gary Connolly. William was a generous man who believed in giving something back. He supported various charities and always wanted to help people less fortunate than himself.

Paul describes his dad as, “a character that no one would forget, but everyone noticed when he entered the room”.

Jo’s contrasting experiences of being the youngest daughter in a family with a privileged heritage and having her own struggles with cancer and two marriage breakups have given her great insight and an inbuilt empathy with people from all backgrounds.

Her Fund with us helps tackle issues that she sees as crucial in society, but many find too difficult to confront.

Recent grants from Jo’s Fund with ECF have supported projects that are providing training for companies around domestic violence, supporting women working in the sex industry in Southend, supporting victims of rape and abuse and helping children whose parents have an alcohol or drug addiction.

In 2015, Jo was part of a Domestic Abuse Project and a ground-breaking partnership between ECF, two Essex Hospitals and Basildon, Colchester and Tendring Women’s Refuges.  The pilot scheme involved specialist Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs) being placed in accident and emergency and maternity departments at Basildon and Colchester hospitals.  They offered women immediate and ongoing support, and trained staff at the hospitals to recognise and deal with patients who had suffered domestic abuse.

ECF provided a grant and harnessed additional financial support from other sources, including the AIM Foundation, Fowler Smith and Jones Charitable Trusts and The Mulberry Trust towards the overall cost of the scheme.  Jo was part of the committee that was set up to monitor progress of this project which is still in operation and is now delivered by Changing Pathways based in Basildon.

Jo said, “Having a fund with ECF is something I value very much. They can see what sort of person you are and can help you realise what is possible, linking up with your own interests and focussing on issues that are important to you.

Read the full story here.

William was born in 1905 in Ingatestone. On leaving school, he became a builder and worked in partnership with his brother, Arthur.  Over time, William developed an interest and passion for farming and around 1940 he bought The Orchards, a farm which, as its name suggests, had an extensive number of fruit trees.  When the war started, many of the men who worked on the farm were called up to join the war effort.  To keep the farm running and harvest the fruit, members of the Women’s Land Army (WLA) were sent to help William.  Among them was a young woman called Gladys Cooke.

Gladys was born on 2 November 1919 in Stratford. She had three sisters and one brother and her father worked on the railway.  Just before WWII the family moved to Laindon to enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside. Before she joined the WLA in 1942, Gladys worked as a Court dressmaker in London.  She was billeted in Writtle and sent to work at The Orchards, where she remained until January 1946.  During this time prisoners of war were also sent to work on the farm and William and Gladys kept in touch with many of them after the war ended. Life on the farm suited Gladys, and over time romance blossomed between her and William.

They were married on 5 April 1947 and spent the next 26 years running a successful agricultural farm and fruit business, supplying produce to retailers across the UK.  After Britain joined the Common Market in 1973, fruit farming declined, and William and Gladys decided to retire. They spent many happy times together, touring abroad in their car and on cruise holidays that took them around the world.  William loved cars – particularly Jaguars.  His first car in 1951 was followed by a further 26 models!

The couple were married for 50 years until William’s death in 1997. Gladys passed away in 2014 at the age of 95. With no children of their own to inherit their estate, they left instructions that a charitable foundation should be set up to support the elderly and disabled, particularly those from Writtle and Chelmsford, where they had spent much of their lives.

After considering many options, the executors decided to set up a charitable fund with us.  In this way they could meet the wishes of William and Gladys and give support, in perpetuity, to local people in need. William and Gladys were known for their concern about the welfare of others.  It is fitting that the fund in their memory will continue their caring legacy.

William bequeathed a charitable fund to help those in need of medical support in his home district of Braintree and this was transferred to our management in 2008.

As a Baronet, county councillor and High Sheriff, he appeared to be an austere and reserved man, but he showed many acts of kindness.

During the Great Depression, he hired a large gang of workers to widen the road up Sloe Hill in Halstead, completely unnecessary, but giving employment.  He also paid for, among many other things, the building of the William Julien Courtauld Hospital in Braintree, Braintree Town Hall and a large part of the County Hall in Chelmsford.

Later in life, William had tuberculosis, which caused him to use very dark glasses. According to his great nephew George Courtauld, these alarmed those brought before him in the Magistrates Courts, and he was known throughout the criminal fraternity as ‘Black-eyed Bill’.

“My gratitude and admiration for the work of Essex Community Foundation has steadily increased over the years, and I am particularly impressed by the Foundation’s ability to combine compassion with efficiency” George Courtauld, OBE DL

Wind energy is the world’s fastest growing renewable energy source; a trend that is expected to continue as technology costs fall and concerns around energy security and environmental issues rise.

We are pleased manage several funds on their behalf.  In all cases, we are working with residents to agree local priorities and consider applications for funding from voluntary and community groups.

Bradwell Wind Farm Community Fund was created in 2013 and provides grants to support a broad range of issues and charitable projects that benefit people living in Bradwell-on-Sea and Tillingham.

Earls Hall Farm Community Benefit Fund was established in 2014 to support communities surrounding the wind farm development in Clacton and St Osyth (especially Row Heath, St Osyth Heath, St Osyth Village), Bockings Elm Ward and the area of Little Clacton west of the A133 (Meadow View Park)

Turncole Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund supports projects in the parishes of Southminster and Burnham-on-Crouch that enhance the quality of life for local residents, contribute to vibrant healthy, successful and sustainable communities, promote community spirit and encourage community activity.

The Middlewick Farm Community Benefit and The Scholarship Fund provide grants to support voluntary and community activity and individuals within a 10-mile radius of the Middlewick wind farm.   The Scholarship Fund awards educational grants to students living near the wind farm, with a preference for applicants studying environmental or construction related subjects.

Galloper Wind Farm Community Fund was launched in March 2018 and supports charitable, educational and environmental activities in the Harwich area.  The Offshore Wind Farm is located approximately 30km off the coast of Suffolk, with the operations and maintenance activity being carried out from Harwich International Port.

“Galloper Wind Farm has been successfully operating in Harwich since 2018. We decided to form this ongoing partnership with Essex Community Foundation to further our engagement with the community where we live and work. This is embedded in our team and corporate values and it is a joy to witness how the grants given from our Fund are benefiting local people. We also get to experience this first-hand through the time we spend with local schools, community groups and at organised events to promote the benefits of Renewable Energy”  Sean Chenery, General Manager, Galloper Wind Farm