Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Building for the future in Colchester

2nd September 2019

A new charitable fund aimed at helping people in Colchester has been launched by a family with long-standing personal and business roots in the town.

The Collier Family Fund will be managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and its launch is a milestone in the history of the Colliers, whose close ties with Colchester date back more than 200 years.

The family-based business, Collier & Catchpole, an independent builders' merchant, is still thriving and the newly launched Collier Family Fund will give grants to charities and community groups working in the Colchester area.

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

“I know that Roy would have been delighted by the fact 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 was 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.

“After Roy died in 1998, I did think about setting up a charity independently, but then I was at an event at Colchester Castle and found out about 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. Our first round of grants will be distributed soon.  There are so many wonderful charities and organisations that need help, but at the moment I am particularly keen to help people who are homeless and need some help to get themselves back on track.”

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 continued to own 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, who was from Stanway, 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.

For more information about ECF, please call us on 01245 355947.

Grants available for women and girls projects

2nd September 2019

Voluntary and community organisations that support women and girls are invited to apply to the Tampon Tax Community Fund for a grant.  

The Fund, which is managed locally by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), was set up by the Government in 2018 and allocates money generated from the VAT on sanitary products to projects that improve the lives of women and girls.

This is the second time that UK Community Foundations has been selected by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to distribute the largest share of Tampon Tax funding. 

To date, the fund has awarded £85,000 to 13 local voluntary groups. Among the organisations to benefit were Basildon-based charity Changing Pathways which received £10,000 to support women that have experienced domestic violence. Active Life For a Healthier You also received £9,900 to run wellbeing and exercise workshops for women in Southend.

Other funded projects include a peer support group for new mothers and women only counselling groups for those with mental health problems in the Tendring district.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said: “Grants from this fund are tackling serious issues that affect many women and girls, including period poverty, domestic and sexual abuse and long-term unemployment. We would encourage local community and voluntary groups to apply for funding in this latest round. Our grants team is available to talk through ideas and help with the application process”.

Grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 are available and successful applications must meet one of the three priority areas: building skills and confidence, improving physical or mental health and creating social networks.

Priority will be given to grassroots projects, organisations working with women or girls facing multiple challenges, user-led organisations and sustainable projects providing long term solutions.

The deadline for applications to be submitted to ECF is 5pm on 11 October 2019. For an application form, click here.

Call us: ECF will be holding a Phone-In Funding Surgery on 24 September 2019 to speak with organisations who may wish to apply to this Fund. To take part, please call ECF between 10am and 12noon on 01245 356018. There is no need to book a slot in advance.

Pirates land on quay at Burnham

19th August 2019

Thousands of people travelled to Burnham-on-Crouch over the bank holiday weekend to enjoy the sunshine and activities at the annual Burnham Quay Day.

The pirate-themed day included free activities and events for all ages.  Stalls offering crafts entertainment and food were available alongside paddle-boarding demonstrations, children’s rides, fancy-dress competitions and much more.  Live music covering all genres was also played throughout the day.

Local Town Councillor for Tourism, Fiona Clegg, said: “It was fantastic to see so many people enjoying the Quay Day.  Events like this bring communities together and, importantly, support local tourism and businesses by highlighting what the town has to offer. 

“We are so incredibly grateful to Essex Community Foundation who awarded us a grant of £900 from the Turncole Wind Farm Community Fund to help provide the children’s entertainment and arrange a WW1 flypast. 

“This was the best Quay Day yet and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved for making the day such a resounding success.  We are already excited for next year!”

ECF supports a wide range of community and voluntary activities across Essex. For more information, please call 01245 356018.

Young Halstead archer shoots for success

5th August 2019

A 15-year-old talented archer that lives in Halstead has received a grant of £2,460 to help pursue her dream of competing in the Olympics.

Imogen Newby, who attends Hedingham Secondary School, has been training in since she was eight years old and has received this funding boost to continue competing in the sport that she loves.

“Archery is a huge passion of mine and I can’t imagine my life without it” said Imogen.  “I train for 3 hours a week with my coach and travel to the Archery GB Training Academy in Shropshire every two months. I am fortunate enough to qualify for competitions across the UK and get to compete against my peers.

“My parents have to pay for every competition, lesson and test that I do. This grant will help us to cover the costs of my training and upcoming competitions, which includes travel and entry fees. My dream is to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

The grant was jointly awarded from the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund and the Young Sports Fund, which are both managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), and are dedicated to supporting young people where finance is a barrier to them achieving their sporting ambitions.

Imogen’s coach, Tony Ferguson, said: “I have coached Imogen for the last five years and she is a talented archer who is driven to be the best she can be. She is currently ranked as one of the best in her age group in Great Britain and this funding will to help her to progress and to buy the high-quality equipment she needs for competitions”.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said: “We are pleased to have been able to support Imogen and wish her every success in the future. ECF has a small number of funds that are dedicated to supporting individuals to reach their full potential, including grants for education, sports, music and theatrical performance. If you need financial support to pursue your dreams, I encourage you to call the grants team on 01245 356018”.

As well as supporting individuals, the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund will also consider grants to support clubs and facilities which are widening the opportunity for local people to get active and be involved in sports.

Donations to the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund to help local sporting talent and improve sports facilities in Essex can be sent to Essex Community Foundation, 121 New London Road, Chelmsford, CM2 0QT or call Jo Macaulay on 01245 355947.

Community grants available in Maldon

5th August 2019

Charities and voluntary organisations in the Dengie, Southminster or Burnham-on-Crouch are being encouraged to apply for grants from the Tuncole Wind Farm and Middlewick Farm community benefit funds.

The funds, which are both managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF), were set up to support charitable projects and activities in communities close to the wind farm developments. 

ECF manages the annual distribution of grants and works with panels of local people to consider applications and award funding.

Grants are available for projects that aim to enhance the lives of residents and encourage community activity. Since the funds were established in 2016, grants totalling £230,000 have been distributed.

Projects previously supported include:

  • Dengie Project Trust: £3,900 to run a befriending and support service for elderly people living on the Dengie peninsular.
  • Southminster Memorial Hall: £7,000 to replace chairs, tables and crockery at a well-used rural village hall.
  • Maldon Community Voluntary Services: £29,000 to employ a community engagement coordinator, over two years.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive at ECF, said: “The panel members draw on their community knowledge to help us ensure that funding is channelled to where it is needed most. I encourage anyone that has a project in mind that will help to improve the lives of local people, and the area in which they live, to get in touch with the Foundation’s grants team.”

For more information about how to apply for a grant, please call us on 01245 356018. The deadline to apply is Friday 16 August.

Grants available for recreational activities in Harlow

24th July 2019

Voluntary and community organisations working in Harlow are being encouraged to apply for grants from the Harlow Recreation Trust. 

Grants of up to £10,000 are available for projects and activities that support the development of recreational skills, knowledge and talent for the benefit of people living in Harlow. 

The Trust, which is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), has awarded grants totalling £330,000 since it was established with ECF in 2010. ECF assesses all applications to the Trust and works with a panel of local people who share their local knowledge and expertise to help make decisions on which applications to support. 

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said: “The grants awarded from this Trust help build recreational skills and confidence.  Over the past 9 years, a wide range of projects have benefited from support, including horticultural therapy sessions, sports clubs and a weekly group for young carers.

“The grants team at ECF are available to discuss ideas and funding needs. Grants will generally be for one year, but for exceptional projects the panel may consider awarding funds for more than one year.”

Plant Pots and Wellies were among the organisations to have been awarded funding previously. A grant of £5,000 enabled them to buy tools and equipment to set up a new horticultural therapy project in Harlow for people with additional needs and disabilities.

The Offshoot Foundation also recently received a grant of £3,225 from the Harlow Recreation Trust to provide film workshops to young people during the Summer holidays.

Paul Press, from The Offshoot Foundation, said: “Our workshops help young people to learn hands-on skills in filmmaking and editing. They also develop leadership and teamwork skills and increase their aspirations for future careers.

“We believe that everyone should have access to the media arts and know that a creative career is an option for them, which is why the first workshop will be based around music videos.”

To discuss your funding needs and how to apply, please call the grants team on 01245 356018.  The deadline for submitting applications is 5pm on 6 September 2019.

Helping everyone to enjoy the Summer holidays

23rd July 2019

Braintree District Mencap Society has been awarded a grant of £6,300 to run a full programme of activities for children with a learning disability over the summer holidays. 

The grant, administered by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), was made possible by the generosity of the Bartella Charitable Fund and the Britvic Community Fund.

The funding will enable Braintree Mencap to provide children and young adults aged between 5 to 19 years old activities help to gain experiences in the community and provide their families with some respite care up to three times per week.

Yvette Wetton, Chief Executive Officer at Braintree Mencap said “We are so delighted to be able to deliver this important service for families. This funding will enable us to support families to have a great summer break enjoying both supported family outings and play scheme sessions.”

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of Essex Community Foundation, said “Everyone should have the opportunity to have fun with their friends during the school holidays, so we are pleased to support this programme of activities. Having the team from Braintree Mencap on hand will help to ensure that parents and siblings also receive much-needed respite and enjoy time together as a family.”

If you are a family who might be able to benefit from this or other Braintree Mencap family services contact Sara Suckling at Braintree Mencap on 01376 326302 or email her at playscheme@braintreemencap.org.uk.

For more information about ECF, please call us on 01245 356018.

Four Harwich community groups awarded grants

4th July 2019

Four Harwich community groups providing initiatives for local young people have been awarded a total of £10,245 from the community fund provided by Galloper Offshore Wind Farm.

The four groups are:

  • Harwich Festival of the Arts Trust: £5,135 with the funds going towards the cost of a new part-time administrator who will develop cultural activities in Harwich Festival’s new Centre.
  • London Bus Theatre Company: £3,635 to support the production of a feature film and drama project for 300 young people from the most deprived areas of Harwich and Dovercourt.
  • Harwich Shanty Festival: £975 to run shanty workshops with young children and adults with additional needs.
  • Harwich Amateur Boxing Club: £500 to help with running costs for an amateur boxing club in Harwich.

More than £5,000 was awarded to Harwich Festival of the Arts Trust to employ a part-time the administrator who will ensure that the full potential of the new centre is realised and the existing year-round community activities are developed and expanded.

General Manager of the Trust, Michael Offord said: “We are delighted to welcome Sian Allpress as the Harwich Festival administrator. She has a vital role to play in developing the Harwich Festival as a year-round organisation, particularly as we embark upon the exciting task of developing the new Harwich Arts and Heritage Centre.”

The London Bus Theatre Company is already underway with its initiatives that include drama workshops in local primary and secondary schools on alcohol and anti-social behavior, film production with young people who will develop the script and deliver the full project from shoots to cinema marketing, and a monthly drama club at Harwich and Dovercourt High School.

Project Manager Kathy Austen said that: "The funding will help engage more young people from Harwich into the project and will make a real difference to their lives by boosting their confidence and self-esteem, improving transferable life skills and reducing isolation”.

The first workshop session for the Harwich Shanty Festival will be with primary school children and timed to tie in with the 75th Anniversary of D-Day this year. A D-Day veteran and regular shanty performer will run the workshops. He was involved with the Harwich Tugs during WW2 and will also broaden the children’s awareness of local history.

Pam Fitzgerald, Festival Director said: “We are proud of Harwich’s maritime history and enjoy fostering a sense of community pride by celebrating our heritage. The grant from the Galloper Community Fund will enable us to run three very special and very different workshops during the lead up to our Festival in October”.

Harwich Amateur Boxing Club is a local club for amateur boxers with sessions starting for those as young as five and aiming to help attendees gain confidence, fitness, self-discipline and respect.

Martin Webb, Head Coach said: “We at the club are delighted to receive the recent cash injection that will help our volunteer-led club remain sustainable, and hopefully see many more members go on to learn the sport of amateur boxing”.

Managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF) on behalf of Galloper Offshore Wind Farm, the Galloper Community Fund will award around £10,000 each year until 2022 to support charitable, educational and environmental activities in and around Harwich. This second round of grants means the fund has now awarded more than £20,000 to help local organisations and initiatives.

Galloper, a 353MW offshore wind farm sited approximately 30km of the Suffolk coast, is operated out of Harwich International Port where a state-of-the-art operations and maintenance base is now under construction. 

Galloper Operations & Maintenance Manager, Sean Chenery, said: “Our team of 60 will work out of Harwich International Port for the lifetime of the wind farm and many also live within the Tendring District so we believe it is important to play an active role in the local community. Our fund is just one way we can support worthwhile local organisations and initiatives.”

Callum gets a second chance to pursue his sporting dreams

17th June 2019

At the age of 15 Callum Turner had a heart transplant which saved his life and gave him the chance to take up sport again.

Now, four years later, having become a table tennis ace, he is all set to represent Great Britain at the World Transplant Games being held in Newcastle this August.

Callum, 19, who lives in Rochford, has been helped to achieve his sporting dream with grants totalling £400 from the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

He received £200 from the Ajvir Singh Sandhu Leadership Fund and £200 from the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund, which are among the funds managed by ECF.

Callum said: “I am so grateful for these generous grants which are going towards my expenses to compete in the World Transplant Games. 

“I have been poorly since birth, but always had a great passion for sport, particularly football.  Being told I had to stop playing for my local team at the age of 11 due to my heart problems was devastating.  Although I was unable to take part, my love of sport never stopped. 

“My health deteriorated during my early teens resulting in me being added to the urgent heart transplant list in March 2015.  I received my gift of life at Great Ormond Street Hospital four weeks later from a total stranger to whom I will be forever thankful.

“After the rollercoaster post-transplant world, I was able to complete my Level 1 and 2 BTEC in Active Sports and Leisure at Southend College.  I am currently in my first year of the Level 3 course. 

“During my breaks between lessons at college I found playing table tennis a way to pass the time and do something that I enjoyed, and I became quite good at it. 

“As my health was getting better, I decided to enrol for the British Transplant Games in Birmingham last year.  I competed in badminton, football and table tennis.

“I was not expecting much, just happy to be taking part and totally inspired by all the other transplant recipients at the games.  To my surprise, I won Gold in the table tennis, which meant that I received an automatic place in the Transplant World Games this year.  I am so pleased and honoured to represent Team Great Britain. 

“Since the games in Birmingham I have joined my local table tennis club and am training and playing games against local clubs. 

“I am really looking forward to competing in the British and World Transplant Games this year and continue to promote organ donation wherever I can.

“I have another year left on my BTEC Level 3 Sports course, after which I would really like to go into a coaching role with young children.  I will also be playing in the Summer Table Tennis League and hope to get my ranking up.

Callum’s mum Donna Turner said: “The grant has really helped Callum fulfil his dream to compete and enjoy the sport he loves. He is very lucky to have received such great support.”

For more information about the grants ECF has avaliable to support individuals like Callum, please call the grants team on 01245 356018. 

Improving health and wellbeing in Colchester and Tendring

17th June 2019

A new funding programme has launched to support voluntary and community organisations in North East Essex working to improve health and wellbeing.

The 'Realising Ambitions' Funding Programme has been set up with Essex Community Foundation (ECF) by the Suffolk & North East Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) to support its plan of integrating local health, care and voluntary services.

ECF is working with the STP to distribute grants to community and voluntary organisations in Colchester and Tendring that are having a direct impact on health and wellbeing.

The two areas that have been identified as health priorities are:

  • Improving mental health and reducing suicide
  • Reducing the burden of deprivation

There are three levels of funding available; micro-grants of up to £1,000 for grassroots organisations, small grants of up to £10,000 and strategic grants of over £10,000 and up to £70,000.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said: “Empowering communities with resources to tackle the issues impacting local people, is at the heart of what we do. This new initiative brings together public sector partners with the voluntary sector and vital funding so that we can improve health and well-being in our local communities."

For more information and to apply, click here. Applications must be submitted by 9 August 2019.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your work in advance of you starting an application. Please call us on 01245 356018.

Engaging young people in social action

5th June 2019

Local charities or voluntary organisations that provide young people with the opportunity to build skills, grow their confidence and contribute to their community can now apply for funding to support their work.

Grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 are available from the #iwill Fund for projects that engage young people aged 10-20, or up to 25 for disabled young people, in activities such as campaigning, fundraising or volunteering.

The #iwill Fund is a joint £40 million investment from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and The National Lottery Community Fund.

Essex Community Foundation, in conjunction with the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (OPFCC), are acting as match-funders and awarding the grants locally.

Projects that received funding in the last round include:
 
  • Yellow Door (Canvey Island): £5,000 to enable young volunteers to plan and run a “Bridging the Gap” inter-generational project held once a week in the café.
  • Essex Youthbuild: £4,900 for young people undertaking construction skills training to select, plan and work on community building projects as a way of giving back and gaining valuable experience.
  • PARC: £5,000 to run a mentoring project in a charity outlet shop in Braintree for young people with additional needs and disabilities, giving them retail experience and building life skills. (Pictured right)

Emma Frearson, PARC Charity Outlet Manager, said: “The funding boost has enabled us to mentor a group of young adults that have disabilities to experience what it is like to have a retail job. The time spend in our Braintree shop helps them to grow their confidence, understand the responsibility of being an employee and develop skills they may use for possible future employment. Their invaluable contributions not only provide a resource for the community, but it gives them the opportunity to interact with others and gain life skills that will give them the ability to be a more active member of the community.”

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of Essex Community Foundation, said, “Young people have enormous potential to make a positive change in their communities. We delighted to have secured further funding to continue this programme, thanks to the match-funding provided by the OPFCC. We are particularly keen to hear from organisations that are encouraging young people to learn about their local community, improve their understanding of local issues and interact with people of different ages and cultures.”

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst said, “We are proud to be continuing our relationship with Essex Community Foundation on the #iwill Fund for a third year.  We have seen encouraging case studies from the projects supported to date, demonstrating the value of investing in young people and empowering them to make a difference in their local communities.”

For more information and to apply, please click here.

All potential applicants are encouraged to call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018 in advance of submission. The deadline is 5pm on 26 July 2019.

Record Number of Essex Voluntary Groups receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services

3rd June 2019

Nine voluntary groups from across the county who work in the community have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The nine groups are:

Beacon House Ministries – established in Colchester 22 years ago to help the homeless and those less fortunate.
Essex Search and Rescue – 74 highly trained volunteers who respond to calls from the police to search for vulnerable missing persons 365 days a year.
Footprints Community Group – have been working in Rochford for 12 years providing activities for young people to make a positive impact on their lives.
Grant A Smile – provides free house cleaning and emotional support for families living with serious or terminal illness.
Havering and Brentwood Bereavement Service – have been in existence for over 30 years and provide counselling support to young people, adults, and families.
Hearing Help Essex – alleviates isolation and loneliness for thousands of people who suffer hearing loss across the county.
SOS Rape Crisis – established in Southend in 2011 and provides sexual advisory services to young people and adults.
Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome – more than 150 volunteers have transformed a semi-derelict World War 1 aerodrome into an amazing historical attraction.
Teen Talk, Harwich – started 22 years ago and provides early intervention and emotional support to 11 to 25 year olds with complex and vulnerable lives.

The nine groups from Essex are amongst 281 charities, social enterprises, and volunteer-led groups to receive the prestigious award this year across the UK. The number of awarded groups have increased again this year, demonstrating the continuous expansion and value of the voluntary sector in today’s society.

This award is given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise exceptional service within their communities. The recipients of the award are announced each year on 2 June - the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. 

Representatives of the nine winning groups in Essex attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this years Award.

The nine Essex winners will receive the Award from Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, later this summer.

Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, said: “The announcement of nine winners of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, the highest national award for voluntary groups, across Essex is a wonderful tribute to the outstanding work of the voluntary sector. Only one other county in the UK had more winners than Essex which speaks volumes for the excellence of volunteering in our county and the increasing importance of the work of volunteers for community wellbeing. I am delighted that nine extremely deserving groups, who are providing a wide range of services to our communities have been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen. I look forward to presenting the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services to each of the groups over the coming months and to be able to celebrate their success with their volunteers and many who receive their excellent service”.

Any group doing volunteer work that provides a social, economic or environmental service to the local community can be nominated for the award. Each group is assessed on the benefit it brings to the local community and its standing within that community.

To nominate a group for an Award next year, click here

Provide awards vital grants to local charities

29th May 2019

Action for Family Carers and The Dengie D-Caf are among 14 Essex charities and voluntary organisations to receive vital funding for their work from the Provide Foundation.

Grants totalling £93,989 have been awarded from the fund established by Provide and managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF). 

Set up in 2012, the Provide Foundation gives support to voluntary and community organisations that are delivering projects which improve the health and well-being of local people.

Action for Family Carers, based in Maldon and working across Essex, received the top award of £20,000 towards their work supporting people of all ages, who take care of a family member or loved one.

James Clarke, Chief Executive, said, “We are thrilled to have been awarded this significant funding boost which will enable us to expand our work with GPs, helping to connect us with people who would benefit from the services we offer.

“Caring can be a hugely rewarding experience, but without the right information and support it can be tough. By educating all members of staff in GP surgeries to recognise someone as potentially being a carer, we can reach out to even more people.”

The Dengie D-Caf were also recognised and received £10,000 to help provide a community nurse for Mid-Essex, particularly for the rural Dengie peninsular.

Provide is a community interest company (CIC) which delivers a wide range of community health services across Essex and in Cambridgeshire (including Peterborough), Suffolk and Norfolk as well as the London borough of Waltham Forest.

Derrick Louis, Chairman of Provide said: “At Provide, supporting local charities and voluntary organisations is an enormous part of our ethos as a community interest company (CIC).

Our partnership with Essex Community Foundation means that we can effectively invest funds into voluntary organisations in the most efficient and effective way and we are committed to awarding grants year on year to support the voluntary sector in Essex.”

To view a full list of grant awards from this latest round of funding, click here.

For more information about ECF and how to apply for a grant, please call 01245 356018.

Bringing together different generations

29th May 2019

Around 140 of the Foundation's supporters, donors and fundholders gathered at Layer Marney Tower to hear about our latest work and listen to guest speakers from the voluntary sector.

We are very grateful to our Nick and Sheila Charrington for once again allowing us to hold our event in this beautiful venue.

Guests heard from two voluntary organisations about the different ways in which they are bringing people together of different ages and helping them to connect with their communities. Our guest speakers were Dementia Adventure and Maldon Up, introduced by Vivienne Wiggins, chief executive of Beacon House Ministries.

Vivienne Wiggins is a Trustee of ECF and chief executive of Beacon House Ministries, an organisation in Colchester that provides support to people who are homeless. Through her work, Vivienne has seen the positive impact of reaching out to connect with people.

Dementia Adventure are a charity dedicated to supporting people with dementia and their families, to live better lives, connect with nature and their community, and to retain a sense of adventure. A grant of £20,000 has enabled them to run a series of ‘Thinking Differently about Dementia’ training workshops for unpaid carers, giving them the tools and information to improve quality of life for both themselves and the person they care for. Watch a video of Anne, who is a client of DA who cares for both of her parents below: 

 

Maldon Up, run by All Saints Primary School PTA, is an intergenerational community project that brings together school children with members of a local care home for mutual benefit. A grant of £3,600 has helped to connect children with older people and given them the opportunity to learn about different generations and form valuable friendships.

 

 

To view photos from the event, please click here.

If you would like to have an inital discussion about how ECF can work with you to fulfil your charitable aims and wishes, please call Perry Norton or Jo Macaulay on 01245 355947. They will be happy to help. 

Zumbathon to raise funds for local charities

16th May 2019

A dance party with a difference is being held by Nicki Alvey to celebrate her 60th birthday and she is asking people to join her to have fun and raise money for some serious causes.

Nicki, who lives in Bishops Stortford, is holding a “Zumbathon” to mark her special birthday and to help vulnerable people in Essex.

She set up the Nicki Alvey Bazlinton Trust with the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation, (ECF) in 2015 to give grants to local charities and voluntary organisations tackling issues close to her heart.

The causes she wants to help includes support for victims of abuse, young women who want to gain an education or become more independent and activities which help older women who are isolated.

The two-hour dance session will be held on Saturday 22 June 2019 from 2pm to 4pm at 1Life Mountfitchet Romeera Leisure Centre Gym, Forest Hall Road, Stansted Mountfitchet, CM24 8TZ.

Three Zumba instructors, Isamar Martins, Paula Zumba (Lady P Zumba) and Petra Alexandra Slaba will lead the way for the 120-minute dance party.

Nicki Alvey said: “I am so proud that the first grant awarded from my fund with ECF was to the charity Southend Vineyard to support ‘The Promise Project’.

“This is a community-based drop-in service for women and girls who are being exploited through prostitution.  The scheme offers a safe place where they can have a warm meal and receive support, including making appointments at sexual health clinics, referrals to counselling and other recovery treatments for drug and alcohol abuse.

“The Zumbathon fundraiser is a fun way that people can come together to raise money for serious issues. By working with ECF, I know that every penny will go towards helping the most pressing issues in communities across the county.”

This event is for all levels of fitness and everyone is invited to take part. For more information and to donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nicki-alvey-bazlinton.

Teledyne e2v keeps support for local charities moving

2nd May 2019

Excitement is in the air at the Tabor Centre in Braintree following the good news that funding has been given for a new wheelchair-accessible vehicle to transport people with disabilities to and from the centre.

The grant of £1,885 for the new vehicle has come from a fund set up by the Chelmsford-based global manufacturer Teledyne e2v with the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Anthea Cooper, CEO of the Tabor Centre, which provides day care and activities for adults of all ages with physical disabilities, said : “We are delighted that we have been able to order the new 17-seater vehicle which has a tail lift, making it suitable for people who can't transfer out of their wheelchairs.

“Having reliable transport is such an invaluable part of the work we do.  Most of our members can't access public transport, as they are either in wheelchairs or have severe mobility problems. This means that they have to be picked up and taken home by our specially adapted vehicles. We also provide transport for days out and for our members who have to attend hospital appointments.

“The two vehicles we have been using are about seven years old. They were becoming very unreliable and we were facing ever-increasing repair bills. Having a new vehicle means that we can continue to bring our members in to the centre in a comfortable way. Their day starts as soon as they get on board and there is always a very happy atmosphere.

“The centre has moved on and developed so much with the support that ECF has given us over the years. We are so grateful for the latest grant they have been able to give us which came from the Teledyne e2v Foundation.”

Other recent grants from the firm's charitable fund with ECF include £3,500 to help provide extra facilities for a newly-built scout hut, which acts as a community hub on the Melbourne Estate in Chelmsford and £3,000 to support and extend a befriending scheme run by Age Concern Colchester to combat social isolation suffered by older people, who often have nobody left in their lives.

Jon Kemp, chairperson of Teledyne e2v’s charities committee, said: “We are passionate about giving back to our community and we have chosen to be strategic in our approach to charitable giving by setting up the endowed Teledyne e2v Foundation with ECF in 2006.

By working with ECF we are introduced to a wide range of local voluntary and community organisations that we otherwise would not know about. Applications are assessed by ECF and a shortlist is presented to our charities committee, made up of members of staff, so they can be involved in the decision-making process.

“It is a very rewarding partnership and we are often able to see at first hand the positive results that our grant making has had by visiting the charities and organisations who have received funding.

“We are committed to growing our fund with ECF so that each year we can build on what we have already achieved and award more grants to help local people.”

Since 2006, the Teledyne e2v Foundation has awarded grants to local charities totalling over £77,000.

Teledyne e2v is one of the largest private employers in Essex with around 850 highly skilled staff in Chelmsford as well as operations around the world. They develop technology that enables a range of applications including the diagnosis and treatment of illness, life science research and Space exploration.
 
For more information about Teledyne e2v, visit www.teledyne-e2v.com.

If you are a community or voluntary organisation in Essex and would like to discuss your funding needs, please call the ECF team on 01245 356018.

New funding initiative to improve health and wellbeing

18th April 2019

The ‘Realising Ambition’ initiative has awarded a £2 million contract to Essex and Suffolk Community Foundations.

The initiative brings together primary care, social services and the voluntary sector to improve health services identified by the three local alliances (East Suffolk, West Suffolk and North East Essex).

Between them, they have set measurable ‘place level’ ambitions to make a difference to the things that really matter to people at a very local level which, in turn, supports the vision for the wider system. Improving mental health, reducing suicides, tackling obesity, improving end of life care and combating loneliness are key priorities for the Integrated Care System (ICS).

Dr John Hague, Mental Health Lead for the Suffolk and North East Essex Shadow ICS and GP in Ipswich, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity which will bring health, care, volunteers and the public together to bring about real improvements for local people and communities. We have been working with the community foundations and voluntary sector in setting up social prescribing – a scheme which links patients needing GP or primary care with sources of support within the community. With ‘Realising Ambition’, we will be building on this way of working and expanding it to include other priorities for our system.”

ICS leaders say that the distribution of the money across the three areas – Ipswich and East Suffolk, North East Essex and West Suffolk – will be based on a number of factors, including local levels of deprivation.

ICS Programme Director, Susannah Howard, said: “We know that making a difference to complex population outcomes is very difficult. We are therefore asking leaders within each of the three main areas to determine their local priorities. This would involve working closely with local people and communities, clinicians, support groups and stakeholders to determine what these should be. Voluntary and community organisations will then be invited by the Suffolk and Essex Community Foundation’s to submit proposals for projects where they believe a broader contribution could be made towards achieving the system’s higher ambitions.”

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of Essex Community Foundation, said: “Empowering communities with resources to tackle the issues impacting local people, is at the heart of what we do. This new initiative brings together public sector partners with the voluntary sector and vital funding so that we can improve health and well-being in our local communities."

Essex Community Foundation will be launching the new funding initiative in May and grants will be awarded in North East Essex. We encourage you to follow Essex Community Foundation on Twitter @Essex_CF or on Facebook @EssexFoundation to keep up-to-date on the launch.

Building a brighter future for local people

15th April 2019

A double-decker “sleep bus” to help take homeless people off the streets, a chance for disadvantaged young people to take to the sea in sailing boats and an allotment project supporting socially isolated youngsters are among the initiatives receiving vital backing in the latest round of grants from the Mersea Homes Charitable Fund.

The fund, set up by the property development firm in 2010 with the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF), has to date distributed grants totalling almost £30,000 to support local voluntary and community organisations in Essex.

Stuart Cock, managing director of Mersea Homes, said: "Being a local family run business we are committed to supporting charities and community projects close to home.

“Our business is about housing, so we have a particular interest in the issue of homelessness.  We wanted to do something to help keep people off the streets and have just given £2,000 from our fund towards a new 'sleep bus' project.”

Vic Flores, Project Manager of Colchester Rough Sleepers Group, said: “In light of the significant increase in rough sleeping on the streets of North Essex in 2018, Colchester Rough Sleepers Group was formed to work with, and as an additional resource, to existing agencies and voluntary groups that provide support and intervention.”

“Our first project was to renovate a double-decker bus into temporary housing. Work is nearly complete thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers and support from funders. Once up and running it will feature sleeping ‘pods’ for 8 guests, a bathroom with a shower, cooking facilities and a lounge area. Guests will be fully supported with a view to moving them into permanent housing and sustainable employment.”

Stuart Cock continued, “Another recent grant of £3,000 from our fund will support the Sea Change Sailing Trust, based in Maldon, to help run a residential sailing course for disadvantaged young people from mid-Essex.

“Living in Mersea we know as a family what great benefits sailing can bring for young people. It gives youngsters the opportunity to test themselves, work as a team and gain confidence. The life skills they learn through the course will help the disadvantaged young people at home, at school and in the wider community.

“We have also been able to support the 'Go Green' allotment project run by Colchester and Tendring Youth Enquiry Service, with a grant of £2,000.

“The allotment scheme is for young people who have faced many difficulties in their lives, and it gives them the positive experiences that come with being outdoors and producing their own fruit and vegetables.

“We are very pleased to be working so effectively with Essex Community Foundation to ensure that the funding we give goes to the causes we see as a priority and the grants distributed through our fund make such a difference in the area where we work.”

Organisations in need of funding are encouraged to call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018.

County Council supports local charities

10th April 2019

An organisation that supports young carers, a horticultural project for people with mental health issues and a youth club were among 20 local voluntary organisations to receive a grant at the Essex Fund Awards.

Grants totalling £93,237 were presented from the fund at a ceremony held at the Chelmsford City Racecourse and hosted by Councillor John Jowers, Chairman of Essex County Council. 

The Essex Fund, which is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation, awards grants to voluntary organisations that support carers, the environment, community resource and young people; including activities which explore culture and heritage. 

At the presentation event, Cllr Jowers praised the impact voluntary organisations make across the County.  He said, “One of the most satisfying areas of my role is to visit many charities and community organisations. Meeting the outstanding individuals who help to improve the lives of others less fortunate or those working to make their own communities a better place, is a privilege.

“The impact that their work has on the lives of local people, of all ages, is immeasurable and I am so pleased that the grants awarded will help to further their work.”

Rachel Tufnell, fundraiser at the North Avenue Youth Centre, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded £5,000 which will enable us to continue our work empowering young people from the Melbourne Estate, in Chelmsford, to reach their full potential in life. Through the wide range of activities we run and support provided by staff and volunteers, we aim to combat the educational, social and economic disadvantages that they face.

Together We Grow received a grant of £6,000 to create a welfare hub at a community garden for people with mental health issues. Wayne Setford, founder, said: “We run sessions 12 months of the year at our beautiful off the grid gardens in Colchester. This funding boost means we can establish an inviting and warm space for our service users to access well-being and education activities including crafts and cooking.”

Kool Carers has been awarded £5,000 to provide support to young people aged 8 – 18 in Basildon that care for a family member. Rachel Tungate, founder, said: "This grant is going to allow those young carers who wish to, the opportunity to speak in a safe and familiar environment with a qualified counsellor. This will help to maintain and enhance the emotional well-being of our young carers and provide them with resilience strategies, so that they have the opportunity to flourish and meet their full potential within their own lives." 

For organisations in need of funding to support their work, please call the Essex Community Foundation grants team on 01245 356018. 

For a full list of awards, click here.

To view more photos from the event, click here.

New High Sheriff of Essex appointed

9th April 2019

Architectural historian Dr James Bettley is rolling up his sleeves to take a hands-on approach as he becomes the new High Sheriff of Essex.

James, 61, is determined to make a difference to the county he loves during his year of office and will raise money for the High Sheriffs' Fund, which is run by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The fund supports voluntary and community organisations and projects that help prevent crime and make Essex a safer place and gives recognition and grants, through the High Sheriffs' Awards, to people working towards these aims.

His fundraising initiatives will include taking part in sponsored litter-picking sessions to help raise awareness of and tackle the menace of litter and fly-tipping.

James, who took up the role of High Sheriff of Essex on 8 April, said: “The office of High Sheriff is the oldest secular office in England after the Crown, and it is a great honour for me to be able to add my name to those of my predecessors in the county of Essex.

“I believe passionately in public service and the rule of law, two values that underpin our society and which the High Sheriff supports and promotes.

“I look forward to meeting those organisations and individuals in Essex who embody these values, without which our communities simply could not function.

“Through my experience as a magistrate I am particularly interested in the rehabilitation of offenders, and during my year in office I want to focus particularly on women who are caught up in the criminal justice system.

“It is clear that women suffer disproportionately by being sent to prison and are generally more likely than men to respond well to community penalties.

“But the facilities to manage them in the community have to be in place, and I want to support those that already exist and, if possible, make them more widely available across the county.

“My work and interests have given me a profound knowledge and love of Essex and have taken me to every single town and village in the county.

“In the coming months I hope to revisit as many of these places as I can, but this time, seeing rather more of the people who live in them.”

Originally from Kent, James has lived in Great Totham since 1991 with his wife Lucy, who was brought up in Ingatestone and is manager of Citizens Advice in Maldon. The couple have three children.

In his work as an architectural historian James has produced a long list of publications including new editions of the Pevsner Architectural Guides for Essex, Suffolk and Hertfordshire.

He has also contributed to successive volumes of the Victoria County History of Essex.  He received his PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 1999 and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Before he decided he had spent enough time commuting to London, he worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Design Museum and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Since 2014 he has also been part-time Librarian of Chevening House, Kent, traditionally the country residence of the Foreign Secretary.

James is particularly interested in church buildings and was chairman of the Friends of Essex Churches Trust from 2012 to 2017, having previously led their study days for over ten years.

James was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1996, originally sitting in Witham but now in Chelmsford and Colchester.  He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Essex in 2013.

In his spare time James enjoys walking. He has walked the Essex Way from Epping to Harwich and has covered most of the county’s coastline and riverbanks.

Now he has set his sights on covering many more miles in Essex and helping to make the county a safer and cleaner place.

For more details about the High Sheriff and to read his blog, visit: www.highsheriffofessex.com. You can also follow him throughout his year on Twitter @Essex_HS.

Helping students to expand their horizons

2nd April 2019

Students who attend the Ormiston Rivers Academy in Burnham-on-Crouch have the chance to push personal boundaries, gain new skills and enhance their CVs and University applications by taking part in the world’s leading youth achievement award - The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

A grant of £4,392 has been awarded to the Academy from the Turncole Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund, to buy equipment including tents, walking boots, rucksacks and compasses.

The Fund is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and has awarded grants totalling £84,700 since it was set up in 2016 to support social, environmental and educational projects in Southminster and Burnham-on-Crouch.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a youth programme founded in 1956 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. It is has now expanded to 144 nations, giving students a taste of an expedition and adventure.

Jay Freeman, Manager of DofE at Ormiston Rivers Academy, said: “We champion all of our students to be involved and engaged in the local community. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is an invaluable opportunity for those in Year 10 and above to volunteer, build skills and undertake expeditions. This grant will help us to ensure that any student that wants to take part and earn the Award, is able to.

He added, “Alongside the brilliant DofE team who make this possible, we have also taken the innovative approach of getting parents involved. They will be trained and lead on classroom-based activities and expeditions.”

Caroline Taylor, chief executive at ECF, said: “We are very pleased to work with Aviva Investors, owner of Turncole Wind Farm, to support local projects that will benefit people living and working near the wind farm. This grant will enable even more young people to take part in DofE and expand their horizons; many of whom would otherwise miss out on such an opportunity.”

ECF has funding available to support individuals, charities and voluntary organisations in the Maldon district and are holding a Phone-In Funding Surgery on Thursday 11 April from 10am to 12 noon to speak with potential grant applicants. To take part, call us on 01245 356018.There is no need to book a slot. 

Protecting vulnerable people in the County

29th March 2019

Around 90 guests gathered at Ingatestone Hall for the Foundation's annual Spring Reception. Two local charities spoke about their work supporting vulnerable people.

This was an opportunity to bring together our supporters, donors and Fundholders to hear about ECF's latest work and listen to guest speakers from the voluntary sector. We are very grateful to our President Lord Petre for once again allowing us to hold our event in his lovely home.

The theme of the evening was supporting vulnerable people in the County. Our guest speakers were BATIAS and Southend Vineyard, introduced by BJ Harrington, Chief Constable of Essex Police and vice president of ECF.

BJ Harrington explained the unique landscape of policing in the County, highlighting the vital role that local charities and voluntary organisations play in helping to keep people in our communities safe.

BATIAS is an advocacy service that supports people with learning difficulties, helping them to live as independently as possible. They explained their work in the community which includes running workshops on how to keep safe. These group sessions are an opportunity to learn about personal safety, hate crime and how to report it and making attendees aware that criminals may try to take advantage of them. A grant of £5,000 from ECF is enabling them to run these sessions regularly in Southend.

Southend Vineyard has been supporting vulnerable people through a variety of services for over 23 years and it continues to adapt to reflect changing local needs. Based on the Queensway Estate, their work includes a foodbank, a free community café, support groups and a furniture restoration project. A grant of £8,000 is helping to fund a community worker who provides support to residents on the Estate as it is redeveloped.  Many residents are on low incomes and struggle to understand how the changes will affect them.

To view photos from the event, please click here

If you would like to have an inital discussion about how ECF can work with you to fulfil your charitable aims and wishes, please call Perry Norton or Jo Macaulay on 01245 355947, who will be happy to help.

Grants for Harwich community projects

20th March 2019

Harwich-based voluntary and community organisations are being encouraged to apply for grants from offshore wind farm Galloper’s community fund to support their worthwhile local projects and activities.

The £50,000 Galloper Community Fund was established in 2018 to support communities around the location of the project’s operations & maintenance base in Harwich International Port, Essex. Each year until 2022, £10,000 will be awarded to assist local charitable, educational and environmental initiatives.

Galloper Operations & Maintenance Manager, Sean Chenery said: “We are based in Harwich, with our team of 60 working from the port, and we see the Fund as one of the ways we can support our local area by facilitating worthwhile community initiatives that otherwise may not have had the funding to go ahead.”

The fund is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), an independent charitable trust that works alongside a panel comprising local residents to consider the applications received and then award grants.

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive ECF said: “The panel is particularly interested in applications that seek to enhance the quality of life for local people, contribute to vibrant, healthy and sustainable communities and encourage positive community activity.”

“This fund is a wonderful resource to support the local community, so if you are involved with a community group or charity that is working in Harwich, we would encourage you to get in touch with ECF and tell us about your work."

To date, the Fund has awarded grants totalling £10,000 to support four organisations:

  • We are Music, which runs the rock school in Harwich, received £2,000 to help them keep student fees down.
  • CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse), received £3,000 to provide specialist one-to-one support for young people.
  • Tendring CVS was awarded £2,500 to recruit a part time co-ordinator of a new health and wellbeing centre in the town.
  • The Ark Family Resource Centre is using their grant of £2,500 to run a mental health project supporting vulnerable families and children.

If you are a group or individuals that would like to discuss this funding opportunity, please call Essex Community Foundation on 01245 356018. A member of our grants team will be happy to help. The deadline for applications is Tuesday 30 April 2019.

Supporting rural communities in Essex

15th March 2019

The way of life in rural areas of Essex has changed dramatically in recent years and people of all ages have been affected by cuts in services, lack of facilities and social isolation.

Improving the lives of those living in these parts of the county has been a major challenge, but grants given by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) have helped residents make a real difference in their communities.

ECF has supported a wide range of projects in rural Essex, including transport schemes, community shops and pubs, community agents, mobile pre-schools, outreach advice schemes and village hall improvement projects.

Many of the grants given to Essex-based charities and community groups from the 150 funds currently managed by ECF are helping to make life better for people in rural areas. 

The Essex Rural Fund was set up with ECF in 2009 by The Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE).  To date, a total of £86,000 has been awarded from the fund to support rural projects.

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 decided to join forces with Essex Community Foundation to create the Essex Rural Fund to help local groups find their own answers to these problems".

Bradwell-on-Sea community shop is among the rural initiatives given financial support from the Essex Rural Fund and other funds managed by ECF.

Brian Main, chairman of Bradwell-on-Sea Community Shop Association said: “The grants have underpinned the entire shop refurbishment project to the benefit of the whole village, visitors and tourists. We are so grateful to ECF for their continuing support.”

The shop stocks a wide range of goods and provides post office services as well as a “coffee and chat” room where local crafts can be displayed. Access has been improved at the shop and a small outdoor seating area has been created.  The latest grant from ECF for the shop has been spent on a new storage building to replace a dilapidated leaky shed.

The Essex Rural Fund was also involved in providing a grant of £7,000 to the Citizens Advice Bureau in Uttlesford.  The money enabled them to employ a specialist adviser to help people with disabilities to access benefits and includes a home visiting service for people who are unable to travel to the CAB’s offices.  The demand for this service is increasing each year and it is hoped that it can be expanded across Essex.

Another grant, awarded from ECF’s Acorn Fund, is ensuring that local food is not going to waste by helping a community fridge project in Halstead to get off the ground.

A grant of £900 paid for a fridge where residents, local supermarkets and restaurants can leave surplus food which can be picked up by anyone in the community, free of charge.

The idea behind the scheme is to tackle the problem of food waste and the fridge is proving to be a very popular addition to the town.  A team of volunteers monitor the fridge and keep it clean.

Sarah Greatorex, a trustee for Halstead Community Fridge Trust which runs the project said: “We were so grateful for the grant from ECF, as we didn't have the money to buy a fridge to start the project.  It is being used by the whole community, not just by people who are struggling financially or are homeless.” 

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “The focus of our work is to improve the lives of people in Essex and we are delighted that the grants we have been able to award through various funds we manage, including the Essex Rural Fund, are helping to achieve this aim.

“People in rural areas in our county have shown great resilience and resourcefulness and through our grantmaking we will continue to give them vital support.”

If you currently help to run, or have an idea for, a community project in a rural area, please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018 to discuss your funding needs. We are happy to help. 

Essex man runs Marathon in memory of his brother

8th March 2019

Memories of his inspirational brother are motivating Andy Elms every step of the way in his training for the 2019 London Marathon, to raise funds for two special causes.

The Maypole House Charitable Fund, run by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity’s Critical Care Unit Fund, are to benefit from Andy's fundraising efforts in memory of his brother Tim, who died aged 33 in January last year.

Andy, 38, a finance manager for a media company, said: “Tim was a truly special and unique person, with an infectious personality.

“He faced many challenges over his lifetime, being diagnosed with hydrocephalus and later severe epilepsy, and had to cope with all the complications these conditions brought.

“He loved people and people loved him. Tim had that rarest of qualities that people would meet him just the once and they would remember him and for all the right reasons.”

Andy, a father of two who lives in Berkshire, admits he is not a natural runner, but is being spurred on to raise as much money as possible in memory of Tim, whose family home was in Great Dunmow.

“I am running for two really great causes, Maypole House Charitable Fund and The Critical Care Unit at Colchester Hospital,” said Andy.

“The Maypole House Charitable Fund helps provide respite services for children and adults with disabilities and their families and carers.

“The fund was set up with ECF following the transfer of money raised in Uttlesford, covering Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow and surrounding areas, by a charity called ResCU (Respite Care in Uttlesford).

“ResCU’s initial aim 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 the decision was taken to close the charity and create the fund, enabling the money raised to be used as intended, offering ongoing much-needed support to families.          

“This charity is particularly personal to me as my family were actively involved in running ResCU for over 20 years and in that time, much was achieved in setting up services including a shared care scheme.

“The Critical Care Unit at Colchester Hospital is where Tim spent his last few weeks. The care he received there really was exceptional and was the NHS at its absolute best. It would mean the world to me to be able to donate much needed funds to the unit, for them to continue the great work they do and to say thank you to them for everything they did for Tim.”

Donations in recognition of Andy's efforts will be collected by Essex Community Foundation and split equally between the two charities.

The Maypole House Charitable Fund has to date awarded grants totalling £81,000 through ECF, including support for a holiday scheme, playschemes and clubs for disabled young people across Essex.

Andy’s training is going well, and he recently completed the Thorpe & Egham and Hampton Court Half Marathons. 

“I was pleased to complete these courses in reasonable times, but the thought of running double that distance is still very daunting.  I am determined to do it and when I cross that finish line, all the early morning training runs and pain will have been so worth it!

“The very kind generosity that people have shown so far in supporting me and donating towards these two very special causes is heartwarming and is the thing that is keeping me going.”

Andy hopes to exceed his fundraising target of £2,000 and welcomes donations to his
Virgin Money Giving page - https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/running4Tim

Donations can also be made by contacting Essex Community Foundation on 01245 355947.

Update:

Andy Elms ran the Marathon in 4 hours and 58 minutes and at the time of writing he has raised £6,000. 

Andy described what the event was like: "It’s hard to describe the atmosphere, it was like nothing I have experienced before, the amount of people that come out to support all the runners and line the streets throughout the whole route was just incredible, cheering you on and keeping you going especially when I was really struggling. I also got chatting to someone on the start-line and we ran together for most of the race which was a great distraction from what we were actually doing and we kept pushing each other along, so big shout out to ‘Mr May’!"

High Sheriff of Essex recognises local charities

8th March 2019

Local charities and voluntary organisations that make a major contribution to community safety and crime prevention received thanks and recognition at the prestigious High Sheriffs’ Awards. 

An organisation that provides online safety workshops for young people in schools across Essex, a personal safety scheme for older people in Tendring, training courses to help identify victims of domestic abuse in West Essex and a project to deter drug and alcohol abuse on Canvey Island are among those to receive awards.

Around 200 guests attended this year’s ceremony held at Hylands House in Chelmsford, where trophies, certificates and grants totalling £32,500 were presented by the outgoing High Sheriff of Essex, Bryan Burrough.

The grants came from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which was established to give credit to community initiatives that address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour, and is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Yellow Door Youth Hub were delighted to win the coveted High Sheriffs’ Shield to recognise their work supporting vulnerable young people on Canvey Island. They also received a grant of £2,000 from the High Sheriffs’ Fund to help them to employ a drug and alcohol misuse worker.

Alex Dobinson, Manager of the Youth Hub, said: “We are honoured to receive this recognition from the High Sheriff. The services we offer for 11-25-year olds includes advice, information, and counselling as well as practical support such as food parcels and group activities and outreach and educational workshops. Our aim is to enable the young people to develop the knowledge, life skills and confidence needed to make informed choices and to manage their sometimes very challenging life circumstances.”

Bryan Burrough, the 838th High Sheriff of Essex, has travelled to all areas of the county during his year of office. As well as meeting many voluntary organisations, he visited the Courts and spent time with Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service. 

Bryan said, “It has been a privilege to undertake this role and I have learnt a lot during the past 12 months. During my visits to local charities and community organisations, I came to realise that many are small and are running with limited resources, powered by the sheer determination of its people, who are often volunteers.

“I hope I have, in some small way, helped to raise the profile of these organisations and their tireless work to improve the lives of local people and make Essex a safer place.

He added, “The Awards ceremony provides a wonderful opportunity for us to come together to recognise and applaud them, which they thoroughly deserve”.

Since the Fund came under ECF’s management in 1997 it has distributed grants totalling over half a million pounds.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said, “We are delighted to manage the High Sheriffs’ Fund. By working with successive High Sheriffs’, we channel funding to the voluntary organisations that contribute to community safety at a local level.”

In addition to the grants awarded from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, ECF was able to leverage a further £115,600 from other funds under its management to support voluntary organisations whose work is also contributing to community safety in Essex. 

The High Sheriffs’ Award Scheme recognises community initiatives which address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour. The office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year. The High Sheriff receives no expenses and the role comes at no cost to the public purse

To view photos of the event, click here.

To read a full list of all grants awarded, click here.

We are hiring: Grants Officer

5th March 2019

Are you a motivated team player who is highly organised, able to manage your own workload and enjoy working in a busy team?  If so, this is an exciting opportunity to join Essex Community Foundation (ECF) as a full time Grants Officer.

Each year ECF, one of the largest independent grantmakers in the county, awards around £3 million of grants from 150 charitable funds under its management. This funding supports voluntary and community organisations working to improve the lives of local people.

Responsibilities of a Grants Officer include advising potential grant applicants from the voluntary and community sector, assessing and evaluating funding applications and preparing reports. Clear and effective communications skills are essential. Travel around the county is required so access to a car is necessary.

Thank you for your interest. The deadline to apply for this position has passed. Please keep an eye on our website for future employment opportunities.  

Colne Housing grant helps people with dementia

22nd February 2019

A social enterprise says a grant from a local housing association has helped them provide much-needed support to people with dementia.

The Bridge Project, which supports disadvantaged people in the local community, runs a café and other activities from its Gainsborough Street premises in Sudbury, with every Monday 11am-3pm set aside for ‘Decaf’, a free drop-in group for people with dementia and their carers.

A £4,600 grant provided by Colne Housing’s Colne Community Builders Fund, which supports charities in Essex and Suffolk that make a difference to communities, was used to provide training for volunteers, create marketing materials for its activities, and buy puzzles and games to help keep people’s minds active. Colne provides affordable homes in Suffolk and Essex and their Community Builders Fund is administered by Essex Community Foundation.

Bridge Project Service Manager Becky Nicholson said: “As a charity, we rely on grants to help us provide invaluable services, so we’re extremely grateful to Colne Housing. The café makes such a difference to people with dementia and their families as it gives them a friendly space where they can socialise and meet others in the same situation.”

Its main café is open Tuesday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm plus it also has a dementia-friendly pop up café which runs regularly at St Peter’s Church on Market Hill between 10am and 2pm.

Sarah Cawley, who co-ordinates the Colne Community Grant fund, said:  “Colne is an organisation which is all about enabling people to live independently and encouraging communities to thrive and, since launching our fund four years ago, we have now awarded more than £40,000 to local charities and voluntary projects which support people to lead independent lives.”

Other organisations to receive grants from Colne in the past year include:

  • We Walk The Line, a social enterprise café at Firstsite in Colchester, for the salary of a mentor to support disadvantaged people get into employment
  • Mid and North East Essex Mind for a pilot course of Mindfulness sessions as part of ongoing support for a group of people with mental health problems who have completed counselling
  • Sailship Training and Learning for Life to support and expand a project providing horticultural and retail training for people with learning difficulties in the Tendring District

For further information about The Bridge Project and Decaf, please visit www.thebridgeproject.co.uk or call 01787 313691

Applications to the Fund can be made by charities and community organisations in areas where Colne Housing operates - Babergh, Braintree, Chelmsford, Colchester, Maldon, Tendring and Uttlesford.  For more information on how to apply, please call Essex Community Foundation on 01245 356018. 

Ewan enjoys the sweet taste of success

5th February 2019

A teenage barista who learned his coffee-making trade through a social enterprise training programme in Colchester has been rewarded with a job – with the training organisation itself.

Ewan Gordon, 19, from Ardleigh, so impressed his mentors at We Walk The Line, a not-for-profit café based at Firstsite, that he was given a part-time job at the end of the six week course, securing further work with Firstsite itself.

The opportunity came about after We Walk The Line received a £3,000 grant from Colne Housing’s Colne Community Builders Fund, which supports charities in Essex and Suffolk that make a difference to communities. The grant was used towards funding a mentor for Ewan and others referred to the service.

Ewan, who attended Kingswode Hoe School in Colchester before undertaking catering qualifications at Chelmsford College, said: “I was thrilled to be offered a job here. I absolutely love it and the training programme has given me so much more confidence. I have a smile on my face every time I come to work.”

We Walk The Line was established in London as a Community Interest Company (CIC) by Mat Corbett and Kieron Tilley in order to give opportunities to disadvantaged young people. The organisation provides coaching and mentoring to enhance their customer service and communication skills, while helping them set up their own coffee cart businesses.

The scheme came to Colchester after former Mayor Cllr Julie Young saw it in action and thought it would be a great addition to the town.

Mentor Sarah Roberts works with the barista trainees twice a week, coaching them through the ‘Wake Up and Smell the Coffee’ programme, helping them set goals to step into the working world. This includes developing interview skills, CV building and job searching.

She explained: “It’s so great when you see the people you’re working with really grow in confidence and develop new skills, such as team-working. We’ve got lots of success stories, like Ewan’s, where we’ve seen people really come out of their shells and develop their self-esteem.”

Matt Beales, Manager of the service in Colchester, added: “At the same time, the community benefits from the wide choice of coffees, refreshments and cakes served in the foyer at Firstsite in a commercially successful café.”

Sarah Cawley, of Colne Housing, said: “We Walk the Line is exactly the sort of organisation we’re so pleased to help through our Colne Community Builders Fund.

“Colne is an organisation which is all about enabling people to live independently and encouraging communities to thrive and, since launching our fund four years ago, we have now awarded more than £40,000 to local charities and voluntary projects which support people to lead independent lives.”

Other organisations to receive grants from Colne in the past year include:

Mid and North East Essex Mind for a pilot course of Mindfulness sessions as part of ongoing support for a group of people with mental health problems who have completed counselling.
Sailship Training and Learning for Life to support and expand a project providing horticultural and retail training for people with learning difficulties in the Tendring District.
The Bridge Project to support the expansion of The DeCaf Project which improves social inclusion for those with dementia and their carers in Sudbury.

Applications to the Fund can be made by charities and community organisations in areas where Colne Housing operates - Babergh, Braintree, Chelmsford, Colchester, Maldon, Tendring and Uttlesford. For more information, call Essex Community Foundation on 01245 356018.

Community backs local festival

5th February 2019

A popular community festival for all ages is returning to Maldon in June for the 12th year running, thanks to a grant of £4,000.  

The funding has been awarded from the Middlewick Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund and the Bradwell B Fund, both of which are managed by the local independent trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The Maldon Festival of Arts includes theatre performances and a wide range of music appealing to all ages and tastes.  Alongside the festival a series of educational workshops are also run in local primary schools. These sessions introduce children to different instruments and styles of performance, helping to broaden their musical experiences and increase their participation in the event. 

Colin Baldy, Artistic Director, said: “The festival is a wonderful event that brings together people from the Maldon District and beyond, to enjoy a range of music, art and theatre performances.  Many of the activities and shows are free so everyone has the opportunity to enjoy what is on offer”.

He added, “A record number of people attended last year and I encourage everyone to consider getting involved and join the celebration”.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said: “We are delighted to support this project. It is a brilliant example of local people working together for the benefit of the wider community.”

The festival, running from 22 June to 6 July 2019, will also feature centrally in Maldon District Council’s Sense of Place initiative. For more information visit: www.maldonfestival.org.uk

If you are a local community organisation in need of funding, please call the grants team on 01245 356018.

New Year windfall for life-changing charities

30th January 2019

Braintree District Mencap and Braintree Rethink Carers Support Group are among six invaluable local charities to benefit from grants totalling £135,000.

The money has been awarded from Braintree District and Greenfields Community Fund, set up by Braintree District Council and Greenfields Community Housing and managed by Essex Community Foundation.

Grants are awarded from the Fund annually to support the work of local voluntary organisations and charities over a number of years, who are working to improve the lives of people living in the district.

Organisations to have been awarded a funding boost in this latest round are:

  • Home-Start Essex: £39,000 to expand a wellbeing programme that engages vulnerable families in social and physical activities to promote mental and physical health.
  • InterAct: £26,300 for workshops in Braintree schools aimed at raising the career aspirations of young people with learning disabilities and/or additional needs.
  • Braintree Rethink Carers Support Group: £15,000 to continue an art support group for people with mental health issues.
  • Braintree District Mencap Society: £13,426 to run a life skills programme for young adults with learning difficulties. 
  • Essex Boys’ and Girls’ Club: £30,000 towards an early intervention programme for 13-14-year olds aimed at increasing their ability to deal with life’s problems and become more resilient.
  • Carers FIRST: £12,074 to deliver a programme that promotes emotional and physical wellbeing for people that are caring for a loved one.

Yvette Wetton, chief executive of Braintree District Mencap Society, said: “Our life skills classes cover important topics including nutrition, budgeting, healthy relationships and how to keep safe both in the home and when out and about. Developing these skills will help people with a learning disability to increase their confidence and abilities and, for some, be an important part of enabling them to live more independently.”

Braintree Rethink Carers Support Group offers a non-judgmental, safe space for those with mental health issues and their carers to come together and create art. The £15,000 awarded will cover their rent costs and enable them to take members on trips.

Katrina Whittaker, who runs the group, said: “Having a friendly environment where our members can come on a regular basis and feel safe with people who understand them is so important.  They produce some amazing pieces of work and get a real boost from the outings, which include visits to art galleries and the seaside. Many of our members would never dream of taking these trips alone and it really opens up their world. We are so grateful for the funding boost”.

Councillor Wendy Schmitt, Deputy Leader at Braintree District Council and Panel Member, said: “Braintree District Council is proud to be a part of this fund which is significantly contributing to the wellbeing and aspirations of local people. It is great that organisations can apply to receive funding over a number of years, as this enables them to plan and develop their services.”

Sandra Crosby, Greenfields’ Housing Director and panel member, said: “We know how vital these local causes are to so many of our residents, which is why we are very pleased to support them. I would encourage any group that is in need of funding to contact ECF.”

Local charities and voluntary organisations are invited to contact the ECF grants team on 01245 356018 to talk about their work and potential funding needs. 

ECF appoints new Head of Development

21st January 2019

Essex Community Foundation (ECF) is pleased to welcome Perry Norton as its new Head of Development.

Perry will be responsible for introducing the Foundation’s work to a wide audience of individuals, companies and professional advisers.  He will increase awareness of ECF, the benefits of local philanthropy and highlight how donors can channel their charitable giving through ECF to support charities, voluntary organisations and the causes that are important to them.

Perry joins ECF from the Lord’s Taverners, the London-based youth cricket and disability sports charity, where he headed up the Corporate Fundraising team for the last 5 years. Before this, Perry was Business Development Manager at Essex Cricket.

“I am delighted to have joined ECF at this next stage of its development.” said Perry.  “I am passionate about Essex and local issues.  I am looking forward to working with the team, sharing the Foundation’s work and encouraging more people to get involved with this amazing organisation.”

ECF currently manages 150 named charitable funds on behalf of individuals, families, companies and public agencies and has awarded more than £34 million in charitable grants since its inception in 1996.

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive at ECF said, “Perry has joined ECF at a very exciting time as the trustees adopt a new five-year business plan, within which we will seek to increase the Foundation’s endowment by a further £15 million. “

If you would like to get in touch with Perry, please call 01245 355947 or e-mail perry@essexcf.org.uk.

Local charities receive £85,000 boost from Tampon Tax

16th January 2019

Thirteen local charities working with some of the most vulnerable women and girls in Essex have received a much-needed funding boost from the Tampon Tax Community Fund.

The Fund, which was set up by the Government with money raised through the levy on sanitary products, is managed locally by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF). 

Grants totalling £85,000 have been awarded to local voluntary and community organisations to help them develop or expand their work with women of all ages, focussing on preventative services for those at risk of crisis. 

Projects receiving support in this first round of grants are aimed at helping women and girls to improve their health and wellbeing, create and develop social networks and get into or back to work.

Among the organisations to receive funding are:

  • Parents 1st: £7,800 to run a ‘pregnancy pals’ project in Basildon that provides vulnerable pregnant women with a volunteer for support.
  • Open Road: £5,800 to help women on probation from prison across Essex to rebuild their lives and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.
  • Ark Family Resource Centre: £6,194 to expand their support service for women and families in Harwich that have experienced domestic abuse.
  • Home-Start Essex: £5,381 to expand a peer support group for mothers in Harlow. (pictured, right)
  • Southend Vineyard: £8,336 towards the salary of an outreach worker to help women exit the sex industry.

Southend Vineyard will use their grant of £8,336 to employ an outreach worker for ‘The Promise Project’.  This community-based scheme runs a drop-in service for women and girls who are being exploited through prostitution, providing a safe place where they can have a warm meal and receive support.

Rob Carvosso, the Project Manager, said: “Southend Vineyard has been working with the local community for over 23 years.  During the drop-in, we offer a range of support including making appointments at sexual health clinics, referrals to counselling and other recovery treatments for drug and alcohol abuse.”

Home-Start Essex was awarded £5,381 to expand a peer support group for mothers in Harlow focussed on improving their mental and physical wellbeing. Nic O’Brien, chief executive, said: “We offer a range of activities including art therapy, sessions on mindfulness, information about healthy eating and importantly, group discussions on any issues they are facing.

“We also provide a crèche where the children can play, allowing the mothers time to focus on their own wellbeing and forge valuable friendships.”

Parents 1st received £7,800 to continue their ‘pregnancy pals’ project for vulnerable women in Basildon. This includes exercise classes to promote a healthy lifestyle and pairing women with volunteers for support during pregnancy, labour and the first few months of their baby’s life.

Celia Suppiah, chief executive of the charity, said: “It can be incredibly daunting to have a baby when you don't have a support system. The women we help, due to a range of circumstances, may feel isolated and unsure of where to turn to for help. Having just one person in their corner that they can talk to, makes a huge difference to their emotional and physical wellbeing.

“Our peer support scheme builds positive, trusting relationships where women can feel valued and listened to, rather than judged for their circumstance.”

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said: “The grants awarded from the Tampon Tax Community Fund will enable these 13 voluntary organisations to expand and increase the support they offer to some of the most marginalised and vulnerable women and girls who are living in communities across Essex.

“We know there are many other local charities offering support to women and girls and we would encourage them to contact us if they have are in need of funding.”

For more information, pleaser call the grants team on 01245 355947.

To join the conversation on Twitter, visit #TamponTax.

Support our Surviving Winter Appeal

10th January 2019

The Surviving Winter Appeal has re-launched to help people who struggle to stay warm and healthy at this time of the year.

The Appeal was first launched by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) in 2011. The initial aim was to give those who received winter fuel payments they did not need, the chance to donate it and help elderly and vulnerable people to cope.

It is now open to anyone who wishes to support vulnerable people during the colder months. Local businesses are also encouraged to donate.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “For many elderly and vulnerable people the harsh winter weather can make life extremely difficult. They are at risk if they try to get out and about and many are left trapped in their own home.

"Donations to our Surviving Winter Appeal will support the dedicated volunteers who check on them, provide free transport to doctor’s surgeries and cook warm meals. The Appeal also gives grants to the organisations helping homeless people who would otherwise have to sleep on the street.

“This support is more important now than ever, as data released by the Office for National Statistics reveal that excess winter deaths in England and Wales are the highest they have been since 1976.

“On a national scale, 50,100 excess deaths were recorded in England and Wales last winter, when there was a prolonged spell of extreme cold. This is around 45% more than those that occurred in 2016-17 and double the total in 2015-16.

“Over the past three years, the average number of excess winter deaths in Essex was 1,253.

“The Surviving Winter Appeal is a lifeline for those who are most at risk. We hope that the generous residents of Essex will give their support to this year's Appeal to help prevent people becoming victims of the harsh winter months. The more donations we receive, the more people we can help”.

Thanks to donations in previous years, the Foundation has been able to award grants totalling £69,000 to support the work of local voluntary organisations.

Grants distributed include:

  • Witham Town Luncheon Club: £1,000 to cook warm, nutritious meals for elderly people that overwise might not leave their homes. (Pictured right)
  • Beacon House Ministries: £750 to help the Colchester-based charity to support homeless people during the cold winter months.
  • Tendring Eldercare: £1,000 to provide winter food and clothing packs to elderly people.

How to donate

Cheque – Please make it payable to 'Essex Community Foundation' and post it to 121 New London Road, Chelmsford, CM2 0QT.

Bank Transfer – If you call 01245 355947 a member of the ECF team will be happy to pass on the bank details.

Online – You can donate online via our Just Giving page.

Please don't forget to Gift Aid your donation. The Gift Aid form can be accessed here.

Read our new Annual Review

17th December 2018

We are delighted to share our latest annual review, grants supplement and financial statements with you. To read them, click here

As well as inspiring stories about some of the voluntary organisations and people who support their local community, we also highlight our very first fund – the Acorn Fund – through which anyone can give, with donations of any size. 

If you have any questions about the work of ECF, please call us on 01245 355947. We are happy to help.

Community bands together to help foodbank after break in

13th December 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you would like to discuss how ECF can help your company to support local community activity please call Steven Mackenzie on 01245 355947.

Extra support for families in Tendring

6th December 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To apply for a grant, click here

Annual General Meeting 2018

23rd November 2018

More than 180 people gathered for Essex Community Foundation’s annual general meeting at Braxted Park Estate.

Guests included the Lord-Lieutenant, the High Sheriff, members of the Foundation, supporters, fundholders and community and business leaders. To view photos from the event, click here.

We are very grateful to Braxted Park Estate, CCLA Investment and Handelsbanken for supporting the event.

During the evening we said a fond farewell to our Chairman of the last five years, Jonathan Minter DL, under whose leadership the Foundation’s endowed funds have grown to £43 million. Having served his full eight year term as Trustee, Jonathan handed the reigns over to our next Chairman, Nicholas Alston CBE DL.

We are delighted to welcome Nick, who has extensive experience in partnership working and a deep understanding of the voluntary and community sector and the issues that they tackle through their work. Read more about Nick.

Over the past 22 years, ECF has built a strong track record and distribute around £3 million in grants annually.

Whilst we acknowledge our achievements, we know there is still so much more to do. During a speech at our AGM, Nicholas Alston CBE DL said: "In the next five years, we aim to award a further £15 million in grants to support the work of local charities and voluntary organisations.

"To maximise the difference this funding will make, we will work closely with communities to understand current and developing issues. Having discussed where we want the Foundation to be in 10 years time, myself and fellow Trustees are working on a new five year strategic plan to set out how we will get there. 

At the core of ECF’s work is the passion to bring together people to improve the areas in which we live and build healthier and more resilient communities. Your support is vital in helping us to do this."

After the formalities, we showed two inspiring and heartwarming videos of local charities that have received grant funding from ECF. You can watch these below:

 

 
If you have any questions about the work of Essex Community Foundation, please contact us on 01245 355947. We are happy to help. 

Nationwide partners with Community Foundation’s to tackle housing issues

31st October 2018

Nationwide Building Society has partnered with Community Foundation's in the East of England to tackle housing issues at a local level.

Grants of between £10,000 and £50,000, over one or two years, are available for projects that support vulnerable people with their housing needs. 

Applicants could, for example, advise vulnerable people who are at risk of homelessness or help to meet the housing needs of women who have experienced domestic abuse. 

We can support costs of staff for project delivery, capacity building, small scale capital costs, activities and building or refurbishment works where it is essential for project delivery. 

Essex Community Foundation (ECF) is leading on the programme in the East of England, working with neighbouring community foundations in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

How to apply

Eligible applicants must be a UK registered charity, Community Land Trust or housing
co-operative. To read the full criteria and guidelines: click here.

If you are considering making an application for a grant, we encourage you to call us first on 01245 356018. A member of the ECF grants team will be happy to speak with you. 

Funding available to improve local health and well being

24th October 2018

- Please note that this funding opportunity has now closed. For further information please call the friendly grants team on 01245 356018 -

Grants of up to £5,000 are available to support charitable projects that help to improve the health and well being of people living in Essex, Southend and Thurrock. 

Provide delivers a wide range of community health services across Essex and in Cambridgeshire (including Peterborough), Suffolk and Norfolk as well as the London borough of Waltham Forest.

This Fund was set up with ECF in 2012 and awards grants annually to support the many voluntary and community organisations whose work complements their own.

Your application must demonstrate one of the following areas of work:

  • To help keep people out of hospital
  • To help people leave hospital more quickly
  • To help people stay healthy in their community
  • To improve health and wellbeing in the community
  • To maximise use of technology which will improve the way your service users access your services

How to apply:

We encourage you to read the criteria in advance of submitting an application. To access this, click here.

If you have any questions, please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018. We are happy to help. 

Chelmsford supports its cultural community

4th October 2018

A grant of £8,000 has given a vital boost to a project that helps women who do not have English as their first language to integrate into their communities.

The grant has been given by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) so that free drop-in English language sessions, run entirely by volunteers, can continue to run three times a week.

The cross-cultural group ‘English for Women’, meets at the Chelmsford YMCA, on Victoria Road, and has classes to suit all abilities, including a beginners’ group for those who speak very little to no English.

Volunteers also offer a supervised play area for children, so that the women can focus on learning.

The project first began in 2015 to help three women from Afghanistan. It now teaches over 100 women from more than 30 nationalities.

Most members are from Chelmsford, but some travel from Witham, Brentwood, Billericay, Maldon and Braintree to take part.

One woman who has benefitted from the group sessions said: “I have learnt a lot of new words and that has given me more confidence. I also learnt a lot about British culture, history and law.

“I had a problem with my health and thanks to this class, I was able to explain what my problem was to my doctor”.

Susannah Owen, leader of the project, said: “Over the last few years I have seen these classes help so many women to improve their English and forge invaluable friendships.

“Learning to speak English not only helps the women to feel more confident, it also makes a considerable impact on their families' lives, helping them to integrate with the local community and be less isolated.

“Having the ability to have simple, yet important conversations with their children’s teachers and doctors is hugely empowering. Everyone should be able to participate in their community and access local services free of concern that they won’t be understood.”

English for Women welcomes all women of any culture, religion or nationality. The sessions run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday mornings during school term-time.

Can you help?

More volunteers are needed for the project. If you are a fluent in English, with a clear accent and are able to commit to one morning a week during term-time, please e-mail: admin@englishforwomen.org.

(Pictured: A group of volunteers)

Teledyne e2v provides long-term support for local charities

28th September 2018

A passionate pledge to give back to their community is being achieved by the Chelmsford-based global manufacturer Teledyne e2v, through their charitable fund.

Teledyne e2v is one of the largest private employers in Essex with around 850 highly skilled staff in Chelmsford as well as operations around the world. They develop technology that enables a range of applications including the diagnosis and treatment of illness, life science research and Space exploration.

The fund, which is run on behalf of the company by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF), has over the past year, distributed more than £8,000 to charities and community groups in the county.

Grants awarded include £2,800 for the charity InterAct, based at Moulsham Mill, which helps young people with learning disabilities.

Anita Goldsmith, chief executive of InterAct, said: “We are delighted to receive funding from the Teledyne e2v Foundation, through ECF, for our Aspire Centre in Chelmsford.

“This is a community venue providing a unique resource to young people with additional needs, learning disabilities, autism and emotional difficulties. The centre is a base for our activities and it incorporates the Aspire Garden. Every week the centre is used for our Friday evening COZ Club, a gardening group, Circles of Support project and our over 19s project.

“We use the centre to engage with young people, communicate with them about their lives, aims and ambitions for the future, increasing their confidence, independence and personal safety. The project improves community safety by engaging young people, reducing stigma and providing support.

“This grant is a great boost for the centre and will mean we can improve our equipment and expand activities.”

Other grants awarded by ECF over the past year from the Teledyne e2v Foundation include:

• £3,000 for We Walk the Line, based in Colchester. The funding will go towards the salary of a mentor to help disadvantaged people into employment at a social enterprise café at the Firstsite gallery in the town.

• £1,252 to Braintree Rethink Carers Support to fund an art club for people with mental health difficulties and a social club for their carers.

• £1,790 for an all-weather adventure cycleway and woodland haven being developed by Broomfield Village Hall Charity.

Jon Kemp, chairperson of Teledyne e2v’s charities committee (pictured second from right), said: “We are passionate about giving back to our community and we have chosen to be strategic in our approach to charitable giving by setting up the Teledyne e2v Foundation, with ECF, in 2006. 

“By working with ECF we are introduced to a wide range of local voluntary and community organisations that we otherwise would not know about. Applications are assessed by ECF and a shortlist is presented to our charities committee which is made up of members of staff, so they can be involved in the decision-making process.

“It is a very rewarding partnership and we are often able to see at first hand the positive results that our grant making has had by visiting the charities and organisations who have received funding.”

Since 2006, the Teledyne e2v Foundation has awarded grants totalling almost £67,000.

For more information about Teledyne e2v, visit www.teledyne-e2v.com

Setting up a Fund with ECF

Essex Community Foundation offers a professional, flexible, personalised service to help you achieve your charitable objectives. We work with:

  • Individuals
  • Companies
  • Charitable trusts
  • Public agencies

To discuss how ECF can help you whatever your level of giving or area of interest, please call Steven Mackenzie on 01245 355947.

ECF announces next Chairman

6th September 2018

Essex Community Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Nicholas Alston CBE DL as its next Chair of Trustees.

Jonathan Minter DL, the Foundation’s Chairman since 2013, will hand over the reins at ECF’s Annual General Meeting in November, having completed eight years on the Board, the maximum term that a Trustee can serve.

Nick, who joined ECF as a Trustee in 2017, was born and raised in Essex and lives in Chelmsford with his wife Philippa. In 2012, Nick was elected as the first Police and Crime Commissioner, a role which he says gave him an insight into the vital role of the voluntary sector across the Essex. 

Prior to this, Nick spent 30 years working in national defence and security for which he was appointed a CBE in 1997. He is also Chair of the Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust and a Trustee of the charity, Open Road.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said: “Nick has a deep understanding of the voluntary and community sector and the issues that they tackle through their work, as well as seeing the importance of partnership working and philanthropic giving. I am really looking forward to working with him and the Board of Trustees, to implement our new five-year strategic plan that builds on all that the Foundation has achieved to date.”

High Sheriff invites applications

6th September 2018

- Please note that the deadline date of 1 December has passed and we are no longer accepting applications for this round of funding. If you have any questions, please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018 -

Local charities and voluntary organisations are encouraged to apply for funding from the High Sheriff of Essex Awards Scheme.

Grants of up to £5,000 are available from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), and the money will be awarded to groups that are working to make their communities safer and better places in which to live.

Projects that have received grants previously include a handyman service for housebound and vulnerable people living in Epping Forest District, construction skills training in Chelmsford for disadvantaged teenagers and a mentoring programme in Clacton for boys who do not have a positive male role model in their lives.

The deadline date for applications is 1 December, so now is the time for organisations to apply for a grant to support their work.

Bryan Burrough, High Sheriff of Essex said: “I have had the privilege of visiting some amazing organisations that are doing great work and I am sure that there are many more groups working in local communities.  I would encourage them to apply to ECF for a grant as the High Sheriffs Awards provides a wonderful opportunity to thank them for the work they are doing and to sing their praises.”

An independent panel of judges, chaired by the High Sheriff and including past High Sheriffs, will review the applications and the awards will be presented by the High Sheriff at a ceremony to be held at Hylands House in March 2019.

The historic role of a High Sheriff is to promote law and order and it also now encompasses giving recognition and reward to those who help promote the safety and quality of life of all those that live in Essex.

Since it came under ECF’s management in 1997, the High Sheriff’s Fund has awarded 600 grants totalling nearly £500,000.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said, “The High Sheriffs’ Fund is a valuable financial resource for the Essex voluntary sector.  ECF is delighted to manage the Fund and work with successive High Sheriffs’, helping them to direct funds to where they are most needed and tackle important issues at a local level.” 

The closing date for grant applications for the High Sheriffs’ Fund is 1 December

Tampon Tax Community Fund

6th September 2018

- Please note that the deadline to apply for this funding has now passed. If you have any questions, please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018. They will be happy to help -

Essex-based voluntary and community organisations that are working to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls, are being invited to apply for grants from the Tampon Tax Community Fund.

The Fund, which is being managed locally by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF), was set up by the Government and receives money generated from the VAT on sanitary products. 

Grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 are available to support projects which will help women and girls have the best future possible.

Successful applicants will be required to show how they meet one of the three priority areas of the programme:

  • Helping women and girls to build skills and confidence
  • Improving their health and well-being
  • Building social networks

The deadline for applications to be received is Monday 5 November. 

ECF is delighted to be working in partnership with UK Community Foundations to deliver this national funding programme in Essex.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said: “We know there are many voluntary organisations in Essex that are helping women and girls to improve their lives through local initiatives. These could include, but are not limited to, helping them into employment, raising awareness of health issues or creating inclusive peer networks.


“Grants are available to support ongoing work, staff costs for specific projects or to expand or start a new initiative, so please contact our grants team today.”

How to apply

- Please note that the deadline to apply for this funding has now passed. If you have any questions, please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018. They will be happy to help -

Maldon District Phone-In Funding Surgery: 24 September

6th September 2018

Are you a voluntary or community organisation in the Maldon District and do you need funding?

If so, Essex Community Foundation will be holding a Phone-In Funding Surgery to help you identify if there is support available for your work and talk you through the process of applying for grants.

This phone-in event will be held on Monday 24 September from 10am to 12 noon.

ECF grant officers will be on hand to talk with you about your work and discuss your options. Please call them on 01245 356018.

If you cannot get through on the day, please leave a message with your name, the organisation you are calling from and a number that we can contact you on. We will return your call as soon as possible.

Funding available for Harlow community projects

31st August 2018

Harlow has been buzzing with activity over the past year, as local organisations and community groups reaped the benefit of grants awarded from two trusts dedicated to making the town a better place.

The Harlow Recreation Trust and the Harlow Education Trust, both run by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF), have distributed grants totalling almost £50,000 over the past 12 months.

Now a call is going out in Harlow for more organisations to apply for funding in the latest round of grants from the two trusts.  ECF assesses all the applications and then works with a panel of local people to consider and make decisions.  Where there is a greater number of applications than funds available, it is possible that ECF may be able to offer grants from other funds under its management.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “We know that the grants already awarded from these two trusts have made a great difference to community life in Harlow and now there is the opportunity for more voluntary organisations and local groups to benefit from the funds available.

“The Harlow Recreation Trust awards grants to support the development of recreational skills, knowledge and talent for the benefit of people living in Harlow. Funding will generally be for one year, but for exceptional projects the panel may consider awarding funds for more than one year.

“The Harlow Education Trust gives grants to support the development of skills, knowledge and talent of young people living in Harlow.”

Local organisations that have previously benefited from grants awarded from the two trusts include, the Livewire Trust, which received more than £8,000 from the Harlow Recreation Trust to expand free drama workshops for young people in Harlow.

Sam Ashford, from Livewire, said: “We believe that the arts should be available to everyone, as it is a fantastic way to build confidence, make friends, be creative, explore important issues and make our community a better place to live. We are delighted to be reaching out to more young people with a new programme of workshops, thanks to Essex Community Foundation and The Harlow Recreation Trust.”

Rainbow Services was awarded more than £5,000 from the Harlow Education Trust to extend a recycling workshop for youngsters in Harlow, aged 14 to 16, who are at risk of exclusion from school.

Action for Family Carers received £6,000 from the Harlow Recreation Trust to support a club for young carers in Harlow and Harlow Arts Council was awarded £1,500 towards the cost of The Art of the Garden Party Arts Festival this summer.

Harlow Steel Band was also given £3,000 to help with the cost of taking their music out into the community, performing for charities and organisations in the area.

Mandi Henderson, Treasurer for the Band said: “We were keen to have the opportunity to perform for charities and institutions at no cost to them. This brings the enjoyment of our music to those who might otherwise not be able to have access to it and enables our existing young band members to make a significant contribution to their community.

“It will also help us to recruit more young people who can become involved and benefit from the many positive things the band has to offer.”

ECF is now inviting applications for grants from the Harlow Education Trust and the Harlow Recreation Trust. Click here to applyThe deadline date for sending in applications is Friday 21 September. 

If you would like to discuss an application in advance of applying, call the ECF grants team now on 01245 356018.

Revitalising dormant and inactive Trusts

31st August 2018

A new initiative to revitalise dormant and inactive Trusts has been announced in the Government’s latest Civil Society Strategy, and it will provide a huge boost to local communities by distributing funds to good causes.

There are many charitable Trust funds in England and Wales that are inactive. Some Trusts, particularly those set up many years ago with generous bequests, are now financially quite small and may have outdated or restricted criteria. This can make them challenging for trustees to manage and to ensure they have a meaningful impact.

Collectively these Trusts total a significant amount which could make a huge difference to improving the lives of local people.

Having idenitified this substantial resource for good, The Office for Civil Society and the Charity Commission are working with UK Community Foundations to transfer up to £20 million of dormant and inactive Trusts to community foundations across the UK. Nationally, it is expected that the 'Revitalising Trusts' initiative will provide an extra £1 million in grant funding to local charities and voluntary groups every year.

The Charity Commission and the Office for Civil Society have chosen to work with community foundations, including Essex Community Foundation (ECF), based on their expertise and experience in supporting communities and their track record of distributing funds in the spirit of a Trust’s original objectives.

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Civil Society, said: "This initiative will make a real difference to people and communities across the country. By working with UK Community Foundations and the Charity Commission, we will honour the original aims of these now-inactive charitable trusts by redistributing funds to help those that need it most."

When transferring an exisiting Trust to ECF's management, trustees can stay involved as advisors if they wish, recommending future grants while handing over the legal and administrative responsibility of managing the Trust to the Foundation.

To discuss whether transferring a Trust may be of benefit, please contact Steven Mackenzie on 01245 355947 or e-mail steven@essexcf.org.uk for more information.

 

Examples of exisiting Trusts transferred to ECF:

The Kay Jenkins Trust:
This Trust supports voluntary groups and individuals who live in the Parishes of Great and Little Leighs who are struggling with financial difficulties. ECF works with a panel of local residents to discuss and agree applications.

The 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, Kay restored the chancel, installed the pulpit and rebuilt the rectory and in 1882 he built almshouses on Boreham Road.  The sale of these almshouses in 1974, combined with the legacies of other family members, formed the Kay Jenkins Trust.

Previous grant recipients include a lunch club for the elderly, financial support for vulnerable people to supplement their heating bills, travel costs to hospitals for treatments and educational support for families in need.

William Julien Courtauld Medical Fund
William Julien Courtauld, born in 1870, inherited his family’s ethic of sharing personal good fortune with the community. He bequeathed a charitable fund to help those in need of medical support in his home district of Braintree.

As a Baronet, county councillor and High Sheriff, he appeared to be an austere and reserved man, but his acts of generosity included building of the William Julien Courtauld Hospital in Braintree, Braintree Town Hall and a large part of County Hall in Chelmsford.

The William Julien Courtauld Medical Fund distributes grants to voluntary organisations needing medical equipment, such as hoists or wheelchairs.

One grant recipient, is the Tabor Centre in Braintree. The centre provides daytime care for severely disabled adults, away from their homes and in a social environment. Members take part in activities which help to maintain their independence and keep healthy, including educational and IT classes, drama and craft workshops and gym and relaxation sessions. A funding boost of £3,345 from William Julien Courtauld Medical Fund helped them to buy specially adapted Motor-Med exercise bikes. 

Harwich community groups awarded funding boost

30th July 2018

The first grants from the Galloper Community Fund have been awarded to four Harwich community groups who will receive a total of £10,000 from the offshore wind farm.

Four Harwich community groups supporting low income families and local young people have been awarded funding from the first application round of the Galloper Community Fund. The groups are:

  • We are Music, which runs the rock school in Harwich and received funds to help them keep student fees down.
  • CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse), which will use the funds to provide specialist one-to-one support for young people.
  • The Ark Family Resource Centre, using the grant towards projects to support families and children.
  • Tendring CVS, to help employ a part-time coordinator to launch a new health and well-being centre in Harwich.

Chris Scott of We are Music said: “The fees we charge our young musicians do not cover our operating costs but it is not practical or desirable to put them up. It’s always difficult to gain money to support our ongoing project so the grant from the Galloper Fund is great news as it will meet the shortfall for four months”.

Helen Parr, Director of CARA said: “We are delighted to have received this funding, which will help provide specialist one-to-one support for young people who have been victims of sexual violence or child sexual abuse, enabling them to work through their trauma and move forward with their lives. Young people will no longer need to travel to Colchester or Clacton to access our services as thanks to this grant we can now provide support in Harwich”.

Sally Johns Green, Centre Manager, The Ark Centre said: “The grant will enable us to continue our family and children support projects, our counselling service and help children with additional needs in our pre-school nursery. We support over 100 vulnerable families and individuals each year and receive very little funding, so this grant is particularly welcome”.

Managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF) on behalf of Galloper Offshore Wind Farm, the £50,000 fund was launched in March this year to support charitable, educational and environmental activities in and around Harwich.

ECF Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Taylor said: We are pleased to partner with Galloper for this fund and support the organisation in its ambition to contribute positively to the local community where it will have its long-term operations base.”

Since 1996 ECF has awarded more than £32 million in grants to help communities in Essex to take action and improve the lives of local people.

Galloper Operations & Maintenance Manager, Sean Chenery, said: “Our Operations & Maintenance facility will be run out of Harwich for the lifetime of the project and we aim to become a valued member of the neighbouring community. The fund is one way we can get involved, through the support of such worthwhile groups as those chosen for this first application round.”

Galloper Offshore Wind Farm is currently awaiting consent for the multi-million pound Operations & Maintenance base from Tendring District Council and the Marine Management Organisation. The Harwich base will be the hub for the wind farm’s operations and maintenance activity and will be home to a team of around 60 for the duration of the development’s expected 23-year operational lifetime.

Galloper is a 353MW offshore wind farm sited approximately 30km of the coast of Suffolk. Construction of the wind farm was completed earlier this year with all turbines generating by the end of March. The project is owned by innogy SE, Siemens Financial Services, Sumitomo Corporation and ESB and a consortium managed by Green Investment Group and Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets. innogy led the development and construction of Galloper Offshore Wind Farm and will operate the wind farm on behalf of the project partners.

Photo caption: We are Music band members Findlay Cox, Tom Marques and Findlay Graham, with Chris Scott from We are Music and Galloper’s Sean Chenery (second from right).

Life-changing fund re-opens for applications

30th July 2018

A charitable fund that has already channelled £215,000 into the Braintree District is calling on community organisations to apply for grants in the latest round.

The Braintree District and Greenfields Community Fund, set up by Braintree District Council and Greenfields Community Housing in 2016, provides local voluntary organisations and charities with the opportunity to apply for funding.

Grants are available to support organisations working in the Braintree District that either help to improve health and well-being, increase aspirations and opportunities, or develop skills through training.

The Fund is managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF), which has a strong track record of managing funds and channelling grants to support community activity in Essex.

Last year Braintree Foyer, which provides accommodation to people aged 18-35 who are either experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless, received a grant of £33,986 to help them employ a Support Manager.

Mark Watson, Projects Manager of Braintree Foyer, said: “Last year we supported 61 people, providing them with a safe place to live whilst they re-built their lives. Most of our residents come from chaotic backgrounds, many having suffered abuse, family breakdown or substance misuse. Before they come to us they may have also been sleeping on the street or sofa surfing at friends’ houses.

“As well as providing accommodation, we have also developed Braintree Discovery College to create learning opportunities for local people. We have an onsite gym and also run a music programme. All our work aims to help our young people develop a positive outlook, which is vital if they are to move on with their lives.

A panel made up of representatives from Braintree District Council and Greenfields review and agree all applications to the Fund annually. Other organisations to benefit from grants in previous years include Braintree Area Foodbank and Action for Family Carers.

Councillor Wendy Schmitt, Deputy Leader Braintree District Council, said: “As a council we are proud to be part of this fund which is making a real difference to the community. I would encourage local voluntary organisations across the Braintree District to make the most of this opportunity and apply for funding.”

Sandra Crosby, Greenfields’ Housing Director, urges local community organisations to apply for a grant: “We want to improve the lives of people living in the District in any way we can. We know that there are projects out there doing wonderful work, and we want to support and help them to grow.”

How to apply

Please note: this Fund can award grants for over £10,000 but under £40,000. This Fund can support your project for up to 3 years (i.e. £40,000 over 3 years not £40,000 each year for 3 years). To read the full guidelines, click here.

We strongly encourage you to speak with us ahead of applying. We are holding a Phone-In Funding Surgery on Thursday 12 July 10am to 12 noon to speak with potential applicants. Please call us, on the day, on 01245 356018.

The deadline is Friday 31st of August.

Making a mark on his community

13th July 2018

Community champion Bill Davidson's dream of transforming Parkeston began when he took on responsibility for opening and closing the area's park gates.

While he was carrying out the task Bill, 73, a parish councillor and chairman of Parkeston Residents and Welfare Park Association, started to think about how the park could be improved.
“It was in quite a bad state and first of all I set about picking up any litter,” he said.

“Then I took it a bit further and thought about other ways of making the park better. Parkeston was a small, forgotten village and there was a lot to do to make people feel more motivated and bring back community spirit.”

With the help of dedicated volunteers, local fundraising and grants from the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) Bill's dream has become a reality. The local community now has a park to be proud of and the jewel in the crown is a newly-opened Parkeston hub.

The hub, which will be used for a wide range of community activities, has been developed in Parkeston's former bowls club building in Hamilton Street.

Bill said: “The refurbishment is going really well, a lot of work has been carried out and we have lots of new equipment. The new fences are up, accessibility ramps are down, we have a store room, changing rooms and facilities for groups such as a dining club for elderly people.
“It really has been a fantastic community effort and I estimate we have had the help of around 500 volunteers, including people on the community payback scheme.”

Bill, who came to live in Parkeston seven years ago, has been a driving force behind the project and he is delighted that his original dream has come to fruition.

A football pitch has been created next-door on land donated by Tendring District Council and the weekly club that Bill instigated to give young people something positive and fun to do, is a great success.

“I like to be busy and didn't want to put my feet up during retirement. I wanted to be involved in the community and to keep active,” he said.

Residents in Parkeston and the surrounding area are now reaping the benefit and community spirit is thriving.

The hub is a focal point for the village and the park is a popular place where youngsters can have fun and people of all ages can use outdoor gym equipment. There are plans for an adult football team and paddle tennis next.

“It is great to see people becoming more active and to see village life getting back to what it should be,” said Bill. “People have come together and really have made a brilliant effort.

“We have had a lot of support, including the grants from Essex Community Foundation who have been such a help to us.”

With Parkeston going from strength to strength, Bill has been hailed as a community champion.

ECF manages 150 funds on behalf of individuals, families and businesses, helping to match their charitable wishes with the needs of the Essex voluntary sector. Among the Funds to support Parkeston Residents Association are Colne Community Builders and Milsom Charitable Fund.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “Bill's enthusiasm and dedication have been instrumental in making Parkeston a better place we are delighted to support and encourage such a worthwhile community project through our grant-making.”

If there is a project you would like to undertake to improve your community, please call the grants team on 01245 356018. We would be happy to discuss this with you. 

Budding tennis star shines at international competition

13th July 2018

An up-and-coming tennis star has been tipped for a bright future after impressing in an event which has helped the likes of Andy Murray to develop.

Shami Ndoro is currently ranked number one in the country for her age category. And the 10-year-old finished in fifth place in the 10-and-under girls category a the prestigious Smirkva Bowl.

The competition, which is held in Croatia, has attracted household names such as Murray, Dominic Thiem and Katie Swan over the years.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of Essex Community Foundation (ECF), which has helped Shami develop her talent, is full of praise for the youngster. She said: "We are delighted to have been able to support Shami so that she could compete in Croatita. We wish her continued success with her tennis and future compeitions. 

Shami, who attends the Southend-based Bournes Green Junior School, was able to compete in the Smirka Bowl thanks to a grant of £1,250 from ECF.

The grant was jointly funded from the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund and the Annabel and Gerald Malton Charitable Fund, which are dedicated to helping young people where finance is a barrier to them achieving their sporting ambitions.

The Smirkva Bowl is the world's biggest tennis event for those aged 10 and under. More than 110 girls competed in the event, which boasted competiors from 87 countries across six continents. 

Playing on a clay court for just the second time, Shami went head-to-head with a number of competitors, who are the top ranked players in their country.

In her first international event, Shami saw off Spain and Russia's best as well as the Romanian, Russian and Serbian number two players. 

Shami predominantly trains at the Batchwood Sports and Tennis Centre in St Albans - which is one of the best centres in the country - and she also trains at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre, where Southend Council have given her full use of the facilities free of charge.

Shami's coach, Mary Collins, said, "Shami is a huge talent who, with the right hard work and dedication, knows what she will achieve."

For more information about ECF and its grant funding for developing sporting individuals, please call the team on 01245 356018.

 

Credit to Southend Echo

Professional advisers compete in charity challenge

10th July 2018

The Fiducia Charity Challenge been hailed a success after the company invited seven corporate partners to take part in an evening of fun and games.

The event raised more than £2,000 to be split between Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and Suffolk Community Foundation.

Teams of six shed their business suits to show off their sporting prowess, with basketball and football challenges, before the action switched to team work and mental strength in the spaghetti tower.

The closely-fought contest ended with a competitive egg and spoon race and a space hopper relay.

Gordon Kearney, Managing Director of Fiducia, said: “As a company, we think it is very important to give something back and support local charities making such a difference in our community. The charity challenge has become a popular part of the calendar with a nice mix of fun and competition and we are delighted with how the evening went. We would like to thank all our sponsors and all the teams who helped raise a great sum of money for some very worthwhile local charities.”

The team from Ensors Accountants were crowned the 2018 champions, seeing off the challenge of local companies TSP Solicitors, Whittles, Goody Burnett, Palmer Solicitors, Marshall Hatchick and Prettys.

ECF works closely with professionals, such as solicitors and accountants, to spread the word about philanthropic opportunities for their client. By naming ECF as a beneficiary in your will, you can support a wide range of causes and, if you wish, identify specific charities to benefit from your estate. Choosing to channel your charitable giving through ECF means you can rest assured that your legacy will be managed efficiently and in line with your wishes.  

Establishing a named fund with ECF, either during your lifetime or as part of your will, is a simple process.We would be pleased to discuss this with you and your professional adviser.

To discuss this further, please call the ECF team on 01245 355947.

 

Funding available for youth projects

21st June 2018

Voluntary and community organisations working with young people in Essex are encouraged to apply for funding to support their work.

Grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 are available from the #iwill Fund for activities which give young people the opportunity to develop their character, build skills and engage them in the community.

Projects must benefit young people aged between 10 and 20, or up to 25 for disabled young people.

This funding programme is part of a national campaign by Big Lottery Fund, Step Up to Serve and the Government Office for Civil Society – with the goal of enabling more than 60% of 10-20 year-olds across the UK to participate in social action.

Essex Community Foundation, in conjunction with the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in Essex are acting as match-funders and awarding the grants locally.

Among the organisations to receive grants previously are Integration Support Services, who used their grant of £5,000 to launch a peer mentoring scheme in Harlow where 10 young volunteers, aged between 13 and 18, have been paired with young Asylum Seekers.

The group meet regularly to take part in a range of social activities including basketball tournaments, art sessions, field trips to the seaside, as well as having discussions on topics such as hate crime and bullying.

Mimoza Matoshi, Chief Executive of Integration Support Services, said: “The refugees and asylum seekers we work with have experienced lives unimaginable to most British people. Many of them have experienced trauma and have been forced to leave their homes.

“This peer-led project is an opportunity for young people who are relatively new to the area to meet with other young people, build on their language skills and make friends.”

Grants from the #iwill Fund can be awarded throughout the year and will support a wide range of projects, including, but not restricted to, skill training, anti-bullying, homelessness and to increase access to sports or the arts. 

If you are a local charity or voluntary organisation working with young people, call ECF now on 01245 356018.

To read the criteria, click here. There is also a seperate application form to complete. 

New beginnings for homeless charity

21st June 2018

An ex-soldier who suffered post-traumatic-stress, developed a drug addiction, became homeless and spent time in prison, has turned his life around with the help of the Chelmsford-based charity CHESS.

Napthali Burke, 37, who is known as Nap, says he is certain that CHESS saved his life and helped him to get on a positive path.

He is among the many people celebrating a milestone for CHESS, which has officially opened its new centre on New London Road, Chelmsford, bringing all its services under one roof.

The charity, which has been operating for 24 years, offers help and support to homeless by providing temporary accommodation, counselling and training.

Since 2001, CHESS has benefited from grants totalling nearly £90,000 awarded from the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Nap said: “When I left the Army I was a shadow of my former self and I developed what I now recognise as post-traumatic stress disorder. To avoid dealing with my emotions, I kept busy and was constantly out partying. Mixing with a bad crowd, sparked my addiction with drugs and alcohol. I was told to leave my family home and to fuel my addictions, I began to steal.”  

Nap never took more than he needed to fuel his addiction, so each time he was caught, he received a short-term prison sentence.  This meant that he was not eligible for support when he was released and as a consequence, each time he returned to living on the street.

“I eventually resigned myself to the fact that I was going to die” said Nap.  “I knew that if I had to stay on the street any longer, I would either be killed or kill myself, just to put an end to it".

Whilst serving his 19th and last sentence, this time in HM Prison Chelmsford, there was a job fair in the canteen. Nap only decided to go at the last moment, just as the stands were packing down to leave.

CHESS was there to recruit for Wingspan, their social enterprise that provides employment opportunities for ex-offenders, doing ground maintenance, minor building, painting, decorating and cleaning.

Rob Saggs, Executive Director of CHESS said, “When you speak with someone who has been homeless and are now on a positive path, all of them talk about one pivotal moment that changed their lives.

“This moment does not always come when they are offered help, but instead when they make a conscious choice to pursue change. As the job fair was ending, Nap suddenly realised that he didn’t want to miss the opportunity and almost demanded to be interviewed. It was his strength of character that is responsible for the positive path he is on now.

When Nap’s release date came about, CHESS met him at the prison gates, taking him to one of their temporary accommodations. Nap said: “Having the support of CHESS not only gave me somewhere to stay straight out of prison, but also gave me a job, which changed everything.”

Two years later, Nap is thriving thanks to the support he has received and the choices he continues to make. He is now in private accommodation, works for Wingspan and is studying two evenings a week to become a qualified electrician.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “We are pleased to support CHESS and their clients. Nap is just one example of the 113 people they gave accommodation to in the last year, and the countless more they have helped. We wish them well in their new premises and look forward to continuing our support of their vital work.”

Seeking panel members from Bradwell and Tillingham

21st June 2018

Do you live in the areas of Bradwell or Tillingham and would you like to make a difference in your local community?

If so, we are seeking two volunteers to join a panel of local people to work with us and consider all grant applications made to the Bradwell Wind Farm Community Fund.

The panel meets twice a year in Bradwell. To discuss this opportunity, please call Jill Curd on 01245 356018.

We are recruiting: Head of Development

19th June 2018

- Please note the deadline has now passed -

We are looking for a dynamic Head of Development, with passion and commitment to make a difference to the lives of local people in Essex by increasing philanthropic giving to support local charities and voluntary organisations. 

With responsibility for income generation, you will be responsible for devising and implementing a development strategy that will generate new business and new contacts.

You will have a strong track record of achievement gained at a management level in either fundraising, sales, marketing, finance or business development. In addition, you will have first class relationship-building and interpersonal skills, with the capability to be recognised as a trusted adviser across a range of sectors and communities. 

How to apply

To download the full Application Pack, click here.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Wednesday 27 June 2018. If you have any queries about the position, please call Caroline Taylor or Jo Macaulay on 01245 355947.

To submit your application, please email your CV, covering letter and personal statement based on the Job Description and Person Specification stating why you think you would be ideal for the position. Your statement must not exceed 4 sides of A4. 

Please email these documents to: recruitment@essexcf.org.uk

Alternatively, you can post your application to ECF, 121 New London Road, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 0QT.

Annual Charity Golf Day

15th June 2018

We were pleased to be back at Chelmsford Golf Club for our annual Charity Golf Day on Thursday 14th of June.

The event was once again kindly organised by Carole Golbourn and her husband Alan to raise awareness of ECF’s work in supporting local charities.

19 teams played Chelmsford’s immaculate course and the event raised over £6,000. These funds will enable us to support local voluntary and community organisations working across Essex, Southend and Thurrock.

This year’s winners were Sound Financial Planning, closely followed by Milsom Hotels and Beresfords. All three companies have named charitable funds with ECF. 

As well as individuals, other corporates taking part included, Birketts LLP, Birkett Long, Ellisons Solicitors, LB Group Ltd, Provide, Wilkin & Sons, Scrutton Bland, Sirgan Ltd and Thompson, Smith & Puxon.

To view photos from the day, click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Winners: Sound Financial – Matt Michael, Andy Hall, David Ellis, Paul Spires.

Grants available for Chelmsford charities

31st May 2018

Chelmsford based community groups, voluntary organisations and charities needing funds are being encouraged to apply for grants from Essex Community Foundation (ECF), the county's leading independent charitable trust.

Financial support, ranging from £250 up to £10,000, is on offer from ECF for organisations working to make life better for people in Essex.

Since ECF was funded 21 years ago it has awarded over £32 million in grants to a vast range of local community and voluntary organisations.

The Foundation manages 150 funds on behalf of families, individuals, companies and public agencies, helping to match their charitable wishes with the needs of the Essex voluntary sector. Each year, grants totalling around £2 million are distributed.

Applications for funding can be made throughout the year, but voluntary organisations and charities in Chelmsford may want to contact the Foundation now.

Fran Wright and Jill Curd, ECF grants officers, are available on 01245 356018 to discuss your work and answer any questions about this funding opportunity.

“We are always happy to hear about any funding needs and we are ready to give advice and help on how to make an application,” said Fran.

“We have made applying for a grant as easy as possible and it is not a drawn-out process. ECF offers funding for a wide range of projects and issues, so we can usually match a fund, or a combination of funds, to help meet local needs.”

Jill said: “We do also consider funding core costs which we know can be a challenge for charities and local organisations to find. We can also help with specific projects, so encourage anyone interested in applying for a grant to call us now.”

Recent grants awarded by ECF include £2,704 for Kids Inspire to run free lunch clubs during the school holidays for disadvantaged children, £5,000 to Contact the Elderly to host monthly tea parties for isolated and lonely older people and £4,410 to City of Chelmsford Mencap for a project providing work experience opportunities to people with a learning disability, helping them to develop new skills.

For more information, call the grants team on 01245 356018.

Essex Dog Day: 26th August 2018

18th May 2018

More local charities are set to benefit from the ever-popular Essex Dog Day taking place at Crix, Hatfield Peverel, on Sunday 26 August.

Preparations are well underway, and hopes are high that this year's event will be record-breaking in many ways, including the amount it raises for local community organisations.

Funds raised by the Essex Dog Day are managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and will help many local charities which are providing vital support to people in need.

Ian Twinley, owner of Crix and chairman of the organising committee said: “We are setting our sights on another extremely successful Essex Dog Day. The enthusiasm shown for the event is heart-warming and it is always very popular and well supported.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our visitors once again with their four-legged friends. There will be plenty for everyone of all ages to enjoy with spectacular displays, lots of food on offer and many stalls which don’t just cater for dogs, including designer fashion and jewellery.

“There will be a wide range of classes and competitions for every kind of dog from pedigree poodles to magnificent mongrels.

“The children’s arena, sponsored by New Hall School, will return with plenty of dog show classes and activities for those aged up to 15.

“In the main arena, the ever-popular Essex Police dogs and cars will be chasing ‘criminals’.  New this year, will be the Galloping Acrobats, with their daring riders jumping on and off charging horses and the Watermill Wolves, the wolf pack that has appeared in the Game of Thrones and many other films and TV shows.”

Local charities also benefit from money raised by the Dog Day.  Ian said, “Last year, thanks to everyone involved, we raised £65,747, which brings the grand total raised in seven years to £410,000.  This year we are aiming to take that total to half a million and so that we can support even more good causes.”

Since the Crix Charitable Fund was established by Ian in 2014, all proceeds from the Dog Day and other events held at Crix are channelled through the Fund, to support local charities.  The Fund is managed by ECF who works with the Essex Dog Day committee to award grants each year to voluntary and community groups working in Essex, Southend and Thurrock.

Ian is a prominent supporter of ECF.  He said, “People come to the Dog Day from all over Essex, so it is important that we reach out to voluntary organisations working across the County so that they can benefit from the money raised.  Working with ECF helps us to do this as they have in-depth knowledge of the charitable and voluntary sector in Essex and they know where the money will make the greatest impact.

“The next Essex Dog Day will be held on Sunday 26 August. We are keen to hear from anyone who would be interested in volunteering on the day – positions range from helping with parking to serving tea and cake. You will find out how to apply on the volunteer page on www.essexdogday.com.”.

For more information about ECF, call Jo Macaulay on 01245 355947.

Among the local charities to receive grants following last year’s event were:

  • Lambourne End Centre for Outdoor Learning: £3,000 to support a Food for Thought programme to aid the health and well-being of vulnerable and disadvantaged young people.
  • Cirdan Sailing Trust: £3,000 to buy a replacement dinghy for one of the vessels used to provide sail training opportunities for young people.
  • Witham Boys' and Girls' Brigade: £2,460 to assist with the running costs of a youth organisation providing a range of activities to engage young people in their community.
  • Wilderness Foundation UK: £1,550 support for the outdoor based TurnAround programme for vulnerable young people from mid and North Essex.
  • Talk Listen Care: £2,490 to provide counselling for vulnerable young people who are at risk of becoming NEET (not in employment, education or training) in Braintree.
  • Autism Anglia: £2,000 towards the salary of a welfare rights adviser working with autistic individuals and their families in Essex.
  • Braintree Youth Project Charity: £2,500 towards the running costs of a project supporting the development of young people through a range of activities.
  • Epping Forest Sportability Club: £3,000 to cover the coaching and running costs of a club providing sporting opportunities for young people with disabilities.

East of England Co-op tackles loneliness

18th May 2018

The East of England Co-op has awarded £70,000 to local charities and groups across the region in a bid to tackle loneliness.

Working in partnership with the Community Foundations in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, the East of England Co-op’s Tackling Loneliness Fund was promoted to local charities and organisations who bid for a share of the funding. 

Chris Matthews, Chair of the Membership and Community Engagement Committee who approved the funding, said: “The Co-op has a long and proud history of supporting communities and tackling the big issues that affect us all. Loneliness is a growing concern and we wanted to do something that would directly benefit lonely and isolated people living in the communities we serve.”

Twenty two applications were shortlisted by officers from the three Community Foundations and East of England Co-op which were approved by the MCE together with a further scheme, ‘Supporting Women and Activities Network (North Norfolk)’ and the Goodgym project in Norwich.

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive Officer at Essex Community Foundation, said, “In many ways we are more connected than ever before, but people still feel lonely and isolated.  The benefit of working in partnership with community foundations across the region is that we can reach small, local charities working in the heart of their communities. The grants awarded in Essex are helping to connect people and provide a wide range of activities for all ages, helping them to socialise, enjoy life, access help and support, feel valued and contribute to their community.”

Teen Talk (Harwich) provides emotional support for young people aged 11-25 years. Covering two main areas; one-to-one support and group activities they allow young people to access their service directly. Their drop-in service provides instant access to a support worker where young people can offload their worries and concerns and be provided with strategies to help them develop their skills to overcome or manage the difficulties they face day to day. 

Teen Talk (Harwich) are using their grant of £2,500 to run a series of ‘This is Me’ courses for groups of 14-16-year olds, who are struggling with self-esteem, identity and confidence.

Hayley Lovett, Chief Executive Officer at Teen Talk (Harwich), said, “This is an informal programme that allows young people to build better relationships and be more confident through creative activities. They identify their own strengths which they develop to empower them to be more resilient. Through the course, new friendships are formed, improving the young people’s confidence, helping them to improve communication, become more aware of their unique characteristics and raise their self-worth reducing the impact of loneliness.”

To date, three courses have been completed and 11 young people have taken part in the programme.

The projects who received funding in Essex are:

Beacon House Ministries: received £2,454 to support their welcome services for socially isolated homeless people, in Colchester.
Colchester Gateway Clubs: were awarded £2,500 to increase the hours of a support and advocacy manager for adults with learning disabilities.
Crossroads Care Tendring & Colchester: received £2,500 to help with the running costs of a young carers group in Tendring.
Jaywick Community Resources Centre Association: received £1,500 to support the costs of an elderly people's lunch club.
Teen Talk (Harwich): have been awarded of £2,500 to run a series of ‘This is Me’ courses for groups of 14-16-year olds, who are struggling with self-esteem, identity and confidence.
Tendring Community Transport: were awarded £2,500 to run a dial-a-ride service. This gives isolated people without their own form of transport the opportunity to use a minibus.

If you are a community or voluntary organisation that tackles loneliness, please call the grants team on 01245 356018. We are keen to discuss your work and potential funding opportunities. 

Our 2018 Spring Receptions

17th May 2018

We were delighted to welcome 200 invited guests to this year's Spring Receptions held at Ingatestone Hall and Layer Marney Tower.

These events are an opportunity for our supporters, donors and Fundholders to come together, hear about ECF's latest work and listen to guest speakers from the voluntary sector.

This year's speakers at Ingatestone Hall were, Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford vice president of ECF, and local community organisations Castle Point Association of Voluntary Services (CAVS) and Maldon Men’s Shed. 

Bishop Stephen spoke about the importance of communities reaching out to one another, highlighting that this can only happen by people working together to help those in need. 

CAVS explained their befriending scheme, which matches people who feel lonely and isolated with a volunteer companion. The scheme helps many elderly and vulnerable people, but is open to anyone over the age of 18. Jennifer Ferns, a volunteer befriender, explained how she got involved with the scheme and the unexpected impact it had on her life.

Maldon Men’s Shed described how their scheme brings men together for the benefit of their health and wellbeing. Members of the Shed network choose projects and work on them at their own pace in a social environment. This community space gives them the opportunity to make new friends, share skills and learn new ones which can make a huge difference to those who find themselves isolated.

Our Layer Marney speakers were Nick Alston CBE DL, ECF Fundholder and trustee, The MAZE Group and Your Living Room.

The MAZE Group explained their work with parents who have children with additional needs. Their informative training courses give families the tools to build more positive relationships, better communicate and improve behaviour.  Debbie shared her family’s experience and how MAZE has helped her to better understand her son, Tom, who was only formally diagnosed with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) at the age of 20.

Your Living Room spoke about the long-term support that they offer to people living with this widely misunderstood condition. Philip spoke about his personal experience of hoarding and how this service has helped him to change his life.

To view more photos from both events, click here.

Big support for Little Braxted

11th May 2018

People in Little Braxted and the surrounding area are being invited to apply for grants from a fund set up to help community projects and promote educational opportunities.

The Little Braxted Community and Educational Fund was established in 2007 with proceeds from the sale of the local Victorian schoolhouse.

In 2012 the fund was transferred to the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) to ensure that it would benefit future generations in the parish of Little Braxted and Wickham Bishops.  The area benefiting from the fund has recently been extended to neighbouring villages and the surrounding rural areas.

So far, the fund has awarded a total of £60,512 in grants and one of the first was a major allocation of £35,000 towards an extension of the Great Braxted Pavilion. 

Grants have also been given to Wickham Bishops Over 60’s Club, The Braxted Neighbourhood Watch Coffee Morning, Great Braxted Parish Council to install outdoor gym equipment for local residents and Little Braxted Parish Council to run a weekly litter picking service.

Young people in the area have been awarded grants to help them achieve qualifications and funding has also been given to local youngsters with great sporting promise, including 10-year-old gymnast, Lola Brand from Little Braxted, whose long-term ambition is to reach the Olympics.

A grant of £1,500 will help pay for Lola to compete in Malta this summer, building on her recent success in an international gymnastics competition.

Lola's mum Lisa said: “We are so proud of Lola who continues to work towards her dream of one day being a professional gymnast. The grant we received from ECF and the Little Braxted Fund has made all the difference to her training, and to us.”

Caroline Taylor, ECF's chief executive said: “This fund is a fantastic financial resource for the local community and we want to encourage more applications that we can support.”

“Grants can be awarded to voluntary and community organisations for the general benefit of people in the parish of Little Braxted and surrounding areas, including scout and guide groups and can also be extended to promote educational opportunities.”

ECF works with a panel of local residents to discuss and agree all applications to the fund.

To talk to the grants team at ECF about making an application for funding call 01245 356018.

Grants available to keep fit and healthy

30th April 2018

A golden opportunity is being given to voluntary and community groups in North Essex needing funds for activities to help people of all ages to live healthier and happier lives.

Grants are being made available for such organisations from the Tinneveld Family Fund which is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The family fund was established with ECF thanks to the generosity of Joy Tinneveld and her late husband, Theo, who was born and lived in Holland.

The couple were married for 48 years and ran a farm in Elmstead, following a tradition established over many generations by Joy's family, the Harveys.

As she grew up Joy was fully involved in farming and she also developed a love of dance.  After graduating from college, she opened her own dance studio in Clacton and her business “grew like Topsy.” 

She taught in Brightlingsea, Dovercourt, Elmstead and Wivenhoe and ran keep fit classes in Colchester.  Joy also ran a riding stable for children of all abilities and became an active member of the local WI.

Recalling her romantic first meeting with Theo in 1962, Joy said: “I was travelling home after teaching a ballet class in Dovercourt and this handsome man came and sat near to me. He had missed his boat train after being held up at customs.

“We started chatting and got on well, so we decided we would write to each other.”

Theo, whose family ran a smallholding in Holland, had been on one of his regular visits to England to improve his English. He and Joy had a two-year courtship and were married in 1964 at St Peter's Church in Colchester.

“We had a very busy life together running the farm and I still had my dance studio and classes,” said Joy, who now lives in Wivenhoe.

“As well as managing the farm Theo developed an interest in stocks and shares. Finance was his passion and he became a member of Lloyds of London.

“We were very blessed in many ways and were involved in several different aspects of the community.

“I am very pleased that our fund with ECF will be doing some good in the places where we lived and worked, and I think Theo would have been very proud of that too.”

Joy and Theo's happy and successful life together has provided the means for the fund to be established with ECF in their name.

It will give ongoing support to local voluntary groups and organisations involved in activities to promote physical and mental wellbeing for people of all ages.

Apply now

ECF are now inviting applications from organisations that are providing guidance and activities related to healthy living, dance and keep fit.

To find out more about making an application call ECF's grants team on 01245 356018.

Your Data

20th April 2018

You will likely be aware of the increased focus on data protection and the way in which organisations process and use your personal information.

Much of this activity is driven by the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will come into force on 25 May.

We want to assure you that ECF has always taken your privacy and the security of your information seriously and will continue to do so.

We have used this change in regulation as an opportunity to review our approach and update our privacy policy, which you can view by clicking here.

We believe that ECF has, what is termed, a legitimate interest in staying in contact with its donors and grant recipients to keep them updated on our progress and activities. We will therefore, continue to do this. If however, at any time, you would like us to stop contacting you, we will immediately respect your request. We will only hold any data that we need to keep for legal reasons (i.e. financial transactions).

We will only send you electronic marketing (e.g. our e-mail newsletter) with your explicit consent and we will be in touch with about this in the near future.

If you have any questions about the data we hold on you or how we use it, please do not hesitate to call Steven Mackenzie via e-mail or by calling 01245 356018. 

Provide gives healthy support to local charities

19th April 2018

Dementia Adventure and the Maldon And Dengie Stroke Support & Carers' Group are among 14 local charities that are celebrating after receiving a healthy funding boost from the Provide Foundation.

Grants totalling £88,905 were awarded from the Fund which is managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).  Set up in 2012, the Provide Foundation gives support to voluntary and community organisations that are delivering projects which improve the health and well-being of local people.

Dementia Adventure based in Chelmsford and working across Essex received the top award of £20,000 tosupport their work helping people living with dementia, and their carers. 

Lucy Harding, co-founder of Dementia Adventure, said “We are ecstatic to have received this significant funding boost which will enable us to run workshops to educate and equip people who are caring for someone with dementia.  We aim to give them the information and tools to improve the quality of life for both themselves and the person they care for.

She added, “The courses will help loved ones and carers, to better understand dementia, build on their communication skills and learn the benefits of connecting with nature.”

Maldon And Dengie Stroke Support & Carers' Group received £10,000 to continue the services that they offer to people affected by Stroke, and their carers, to ensure well-being and reduce isolation.   

The Rural Community Council of Essex and Essex Central Remap, a charity which designs and makes inventive equipment for disabled people, also received grants of £5,000 each.

Peter Livingstone, chairman of Remap, said: “We are thrilled to receive this grant from the Provide Foundation.

“Restoring independence and enabling anyone, regardless of their disabilities, to live their life to the fullest is at the heart of what we do. This funding will be used to ensure people have the equipment they need, so that they can leave hospital and get back into the comfort of their own homes”.

Provide is a community interest company (CIC) which delivers a wide range of community health services across Essex and in Cambridgeshire (including Peterborough), Suffolk and Norfolk as well as the London borough of Waltham Forest.

Derrick Louis, Chairman of Provide said: “At Provide, we recognise that supporting local charities and voluntary organisations is a very important part of our work and helps to underpin the social and care services that we offer. 

“As a CIC organisation we happily accept our obligation to re-invest part of our surpluses back into the communities we serve. Our partnership with Essex Community Foundation means that we can effectively invest funds into voluntary organisations whose work complements our own. 
“Having established the Provide Foundation with ECF we can do this in the most efficient and effective way and we are committed to awarding grants year on year to support the voluntary sector in Essex.”

As an independent charitable trust, ECF can give Provide impartial information on the organisations involved, helping their Members and staff to make decisions, with confidence, knowing that the money will be directed to where it is needed most.

For more information about ECF and how to apply for funding, call the grants team on 01245 356018.

A full list of grants can be accessed, here

More photos from the event can be viewed here

County Council supports local charities

18th April 2018

Local voluntary and community projects which provide support to vulnerable children, day care and meals for elderly people, training for those with learning difficulties and a drama production for young people, are among those who have been awarded funding in the latest round of grants from the Essex Millennium Fund and the Essex County Council’s Chairman’s Fund.

Grants totalling £75,080 were presented from the two funds to 22 Essex-based charities and voluntary organisations at a ceremony held at Chelmsford City Racecourse.

The funds, managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF), provide support for community and voluntary organisations whose good work enhances the lives of people living in Essex.

At the presentation event Cllr John Aldridge, Chairman of Essex County Council, commended the contribution these organisations make across the county.  He said, “It has been one of the most satisfying areas of my role and a privilege to visit many charities and voluntary groups to discover more about their work.”

“I have received the warmest of welcomes and I have been most encouraged to see local people coming together with a common aim of improving the lives of others less fortunate, or making their communities a better place to live and work”.

The Essex Millennium Fund was established as an endowed fund within ECF by members of Essex County Council to celebrate the Millennium. The Chairman’s Fund was established with ECF in 2007.  The funds provide an annual income for a grants programme, awarding grants to voluntary and community groups working in the priority areas of carers, community support, enhancing the environment, young people and activities which explore culture and heritage.

Cllr Aldridge said, “Time has moved on since we established the two funds and it was felt that bringing them together under one identity would be more appropriate.

“I am pleased to announce, that going forward, although the criteria for the funds will remain the same and continue to be managed by ECF, they will be combined under one name – The Essex Fund.”

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF said: “The Essex Millennium Fund and the Chairman’s Charitable Fund were set up to support voluntary and community activity in Essex and together they have awarded grants totalling £1.2 million. 

“Combining them now under the one name makes perfect sense.  We will manage The Essex Fund in the same way, building on all that has been achieved and providing grants to local voluntary and community organisations to support their work, in perpetuity.”

For information about how to apply for a grant, please call the grants team on 01245 356018.

Among those to receive awards are:

  • PARC Braintree, which will recieved £3,300 from the Essex Millennium Fund to employ a mentor at a charity shop providing work experience for young people with additional needs. Emma Frearson, Shop Manager and Mentor at PARC, said, “Working in our charity shop gives young people with additional needs some valuable and practical work experience. This helps them to increase their skills and build confidence. She added “The scheme has proved to be far more popular than we expected.  This funding boost will help us to employ someone who can provide day-to-day support for the young people who work with us”.
  • Colchester Chinese Culture Society were awarded £3,000 from the Essex County Council's Chairman's Fund. Simone Xue, Chairperson of the Society, said: “The £3,000 grant from the Chairman’s Fund will help us to bring Chinese cultural puppetry workshops to young children in Colchester, Tendring and Harlow. This is a fun and unique way for the children to learn new skills and increase their understanding of different cultures and the need for mutual respect”.
  • 3rd Brentwood Scouts. Dominic Foley is a Scout Leader, he said, “We are thrilled to receive £3,000 from the Essex Millennium Fund to help us buy new camping equipment and storage racking. We sadly lost all of our previous equipment in a fire. Thanks to this grant we will be able to buy everything we need and organise family camps, so that parents can share in the great activities our young people get involved with.”
  • Trust Links. Rick Olver, Chairman said, “We are delighted to receive a grant of £4,500. This will support our therapeutic gardening project in Thundersley for adults with mental ill health. The garden gives people a safe space to come together in a supportive and welcoming environment. He added, “Being outside and being active, gardening and harvesting vegetables, improves our clients’ wellbeing and helps them to progress into training and employment.
  • Ormiston Families received £3,000. This will contribute towards their “Breaking Barriers” prison outreach service that supports children and young people affected by the imprisonment of a parent or carer. Louise Cordery, development officer, said: “The young people we work with are aged from 4 to16. For this age group, the absence of a parent is particularly impactful and as a result, their emotional, mental and educational attainment is likely to be less than their peers. We provide these young people with one-on-one counselling sessions, attend the prison for visits with them, if needed and help them to cope with their feelings

For a full list of grants awarded, click here.

To view more photos from the event, click here

Harwich Haven Authority supports grass-roots initiatives

17th April 2018

Harwich Haven Authority today announce the opening of a new £75,000 community fund that will be managed on behalf of the Authority by both the Essex and Suffolk Community Foundations.

Each year the Authority will make available £50,000 to support educational, environmental, maritime and community initiatives in and around Harwich, Dovercourt and Suffolk locations along the Rivers Stour and Orwell. In addition the Authority will also invest £25,000 yearly into an Essex-based endowment fund.

Established by act of Parliament in 1863, Harwich Haven Authority is the largest trust port in the East of England. As a not for profit organisation, with no shareholders, income is generated from pilotage and conservancy services that it delivers to ships visiting the Haven ports.

“As one of Harwich’s major employers we are very much at the heart of the community,” says Neil Glendinning, CEO, Harwich Haven Authority.

“Many of our employees live in and around the Haven and the Rivers Stour and Orwell - and we already support many great, grass-roots initiatives.

“We were, however, very keen to make our community giving strategy more cohesive to benefit as many groups and initiatives as we could in and around our area of jurisdiction. By drawing on the knowledge and experience of the Essex and Suffolk Community Foundations will enable us to maximise our giving programme to our stakeholders in the Haven.”

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF said, “We are delighted to be working with Harwich Haven Authority, a locally-based company which is taking the lead through its community giving strategy.  Working with ECF in this way will enable them to not only meet the needs of communities today, but provide a long-term financial resource to support the work of voluntary organisations tackling local issues the future.”

Suffolk Community Foundation added: ‘We are delighted to be working with Harwich Haven Authority to ensure vital funding reaches our many charities and community groups working tirelessly to tackle the hidden needs of Suffolk. On behalf of those groups we are really grateful for the ongoing commitment which will help make a real difference to so many’.

Further details about how to apply to the new Harwich Haven Authority Community funds can be found at www.hha.co.uk/communityfund. If you are a community or voluntary organisation in Harwich, please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018 to discuss your work and funding needs.

Introducing the new High Sheriff

12th April 2018

Modern-day issues are high on the agenda for Bryan Burrough in the year ahead, as he takes on an historic role, becoming the 838th High Sheriff of Essex.

Bryan, who lives in Ulting near Maldon, is looking forward to travelling all around the county as the new High Sheriff.

He will be meeting as many charities and volunteers as possible to promote and encourage the sterling work they are doing in the community to support law and order and tackle crime and social problems.

He will also be promoting the High Sheriff's Fund, which is run by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).  Grants are awarded by the Fund to voluntary organisations and groups to support initiatives concerned with community safety in the county.

The role of High Sheriff is a self-funding, voluntary one and Bryan is prepared for a busy year.

“It is a unique opportunity and is almost a full-time job,” he said. “Today's High Sheriffs take on a rather different role from the original High Sheriffs’, who were responsible for raising taxes.

“But I feel that the role is even more relevant in this day and age. Austerity has had a wide-reaching effect on the judicial system and many issues are now being dealt with by the voluntary sector. The High Sheriff can give these voluntary organisations recognition and encourage them to interact.”

Bryan is particularly keen to give prominence to organisations working with young men in Essex to try to steer them away from destroying their future prospects and damaging others with destructive behaviour.

“Young men like this can be on a slippery slope which leads to offending and spending time in custody,” he said.

“I believe there should be far more focus on why people turn to crime and how we can prevent them from doing so. There are many issues involved, including literacy and having positive male role models.

“There are some great organisations in the county doing very good work and I am looking forward to singing their praises. The High Sheriff can play an important role in thanking the unthanked.”

Bryan, who has lived in Essex for 22 years, retired from his career in the City in November 2017. For the past 25 years he was an investment manager specialising in investing for charities.

His family firm, James Burrough, has made gin since 1863 and he has followed in his father’s footsteps to become Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers.

Although not Essex born and bred, Bryan has huge enthusiasm for the county and is relishing the prospect of seeing more of it as High Sheriff.

On many occasions he will be accompanied by his wife Philippa, an avid gardener whose family came from Maldon.

The couple have two sons Leo, who is at Edinburgh University and George, who will be going to University this year.

Bryan said: “Outside my family the loves of my life are National Hunt horse racing and Scottish Rugby.”

He has high regard for ECF which he rates as “one of the best in the country” and wants to highlight its work which aims to improve the lives of people in Essex.

“We have a fascinating and very varied county and, in the visits I have already made, I have found that people are very helpful,” he said. “My Sat Nav is ready and I want to meet as many people as I can around the county during the coming year.”

Building support for local charities

11th April 2018

Two charities providing vital support to help young people living in Colchester and Tendring are to receive grants totalling £5,296 from the Mersea Homes Charitable Fund.

The Fund, which was set up in 2010, is managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and to date has awarded nearly £23,000 to support local voluntary and community organisations working in Essex.

The organisations benefiting from this latest funding boost are Colchester & Tendring Youth Enquiry Service which is receiving £2,500 to help young people who are at risk of becoming homeless and Lads Need Dads, based in Clacton, which is receiving £2,796 to continue their programme of activities for boys who do not have a positive male role model in their lives.

Stuart Cock, Managing Director of Mersea Homes, said, “We are pleased to support these two very worthwhile causes with grants from our charitable fund with ECF. As a local business we are committed to giving long-term support to voluntary organisations which are providing vital services to people in need in their communities.”

Colchester & Tendring Youth Enquiry Service (Y.E.S) works with vulnerable children and young people between the ages of 6 and 25 offering services to include crisis intervention, counselling, family meditation, young parent support and debt, housing and homelessness advice.

Jane Blomeley, chief executive of Y.E.S, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding which will help us to support the rising number of young people who are street homeless or at risk of this.  

“This can be a very stressful and worrying time and many of the young people we work with have additional mental health needs.  By providing tailored support, we can help them to rebuild their lives and move towards a more stable future.”

Lad’s Need Dads is based in Tendring and helps boys aged 11 to 15 who are missing a father-figure in their lives. Through a long-term open-ended male-led group mentoring programme, the boys learn to tackle life’s issues and understand their emotions whilst learning practical life-skills and engaging in outdoor activities and volunteering.

Sonia Shaljean, Managing Director of the organisation said, “This grant will be used towards the costs of our programme which was set up to equip, engage and inspire boys who do not have a positive male role model. Our work, which includes community volunteering opportunities and hands on confidence and resilience building activities like bush-craft survival, helps them to achieve their full potential and move positively into adulthood”.

In addition to the grants awarded from the Mersea Homes Charitable Fund, ECF was able to provide additional grants totalling £9,430 from other funds under its management.

ECF currently manages 150 charitable funds on behalf of individuals, families, companies and public agencies.  By matching the grants monies available from the various funds, local voluntary and community organisations have a greater opportunity to access the money they need to continue their work.

For more information about ECF or funding opportunities, call the team now on 01245 356018.

Supporting families in Essex

3rd April 2018

An Essex charity that provides support and practical help to vulnerable families with young children, has been awarded £35,000 from the Healthwatch Essex Fund.

Home-Start Essex will receive the grant over the next three years to launch a programme, assessing the current advice and guidance available to parents affected by antenatal mental health issues. The charity will recruit and train parents to become peer researchers, with the aim of developing an improved model to help as many people as possible.

The Fund, which is administered by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), was set up in 2016 and to date has distributed over £200,000 to support the work of voluntary and community organisations working across the county.

David Sollis, Chief Executive at Healthwatch Essex said: “One of our key roles is to provide first-class signposting and information services for the public. Through this funding our aim is to reach every parent in the county affected by peri/postnatal mental health, so they can share their experiences of accessing local health and care to ultimately help shape future support services. We are proud to be supporting this critical piece of work.”

Home-Start Essex also works with families who are struggling with physical health problems, bereavement, isolation and many other issues. This support is delivered through volunteer home-visiting, peer group support, targeted programmes and counselling.

Amie Craven, Development Manager at Home-Start Essex said: “We have seen an increasing demand for our services and are delighted to receive this support from the Healthwatch Essex Fund. Caring for children, particularly if you are a new mum, is not always easy and can, at times, be very stressful. Most parents can recall days when they would have liked to chat things through with a friend or to have someone to provide that extra pair of hands. Home-Start volunteers, who are mostly parents themselves, understand that need and are available to offer help.

She added, “Empowering parents who have accessed peri/postnatal services themselves, is vital to assessing how they can be improved. No-one should feel that they are alone and appropriate information, advice and guidance needs to be accessible, meaningful and useful”.

The work of this charity compliments the Healthwatch Essex Information service, which is available to anyone who needs to access health and care services for themselves or their friends or family in Essex. Since launching, it has helped 6,000 people, averaging 220 calls a month.  

People can contact the Information Service on 0300 500 1895 or at info@healthwatchessex.org.uk or leave a review of local health or care services in the Feedback Centre at healthwatchessex.org.uk/services.

For more information about ECF and how to apply for a grant, please call 01245 356018.

£50,000 windfall for Harwich community

16th March 2018

The team behind the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm Operations & Maintenance base, have announced a £50,000 Community Investment Fund.

Applications to the fund will be administered on behalf of the Galloper project by Essex Community Foundation (ECF).  Each year, from 2018 until 2022, ten thousand pounds will support charitable, educational and environmental activities in Harwich. 

Galloper is the 353MW offshore wind farm currently being built by innogy approximately 30km of the coast of Suffolk. Construction is nearly complete, with over half of the offshore turbines already fully commissioned. 

The project has established a temporary Operations & Maintenance Base at Harwich International Port and awaits the outcome of a planning application for the permanent Operations & Maintenance facility which will support the wind farm for its lifetime of around twenty-three years.

Galloper Operations & Maintenance Manager, Sean Chenery, said: “The Galloper Operations & Maintenance base is already set to secure significant jobs and investment for the Harwich area as a result of its day-to-day operations over the wind farm’s lifetime, but this Community Investment Fund is a way for the wider community to benefit by supporting a range of invaluable local projects and initiatives.   

He added: “Essex Community Foundation, who will manage the fund on our behalf, has extensive experience of administering similar funds, including for some of our other projects, and we’re delighted to be working with them again. Applications are welcome now and more details will be available on the Galloper and Essex Community Fund websites.”

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF said: “We are delighted to be administering this Fund on behalf of innogy. This commitment to the Harwich community, through annual funding, will have a significant impact on the work of local charities and voluntary organisations.”

Local community organisations to potentially benefit include Teen Talk (Harwich), which provides information, advice and guidance to young people on issues affecting their health and wellbeing. 

Since it was founded in 1996, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) has awarded more than £31 million in grants from the charitable funds that it manages on behalf of individuals, families, companies and public agencies who want to make a difference in their local community.

For further information about the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm go to www.galloperwindfarm.com.

For more information about ECF and to apply for a grant, call the grants team on 01245 356018.

High Sheriff rewards local charities

15th March 2018

What other job is there that entitles you to go anywhere, make connections between people from all sectors, of all ages and abilities, be welcomed always and where people are willing to answer all of your questions?  I feel deeply honoured to have been appointed to the role in the county of which I am so proud.” Simon Hall MBE, High Sheriff of Essex 2017-18

Voluntary organisations and people who make a major contribution to their community and crime prevention have been given well-deserved recognition and thanks at this year’s prestigious High Sheriffs’ Awards.

An organisation that aims to improve the prospects of disadvantaged teenagers through construction skills training in Chelmsford, a handyman service for housebound and vulnerable people living in Epping Forest District and a mentoring programme in Clacton for boys who have an absent father, are among those to receive awards.

Around 170 guests attended this year’s ceremony held at Hylands House in Chelmsford where trophies, certificates and grants totalling £31,000 were presented by the outgoing High Sheriff of Essex, Simon Hall MBE.

The grants came from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which was established to give credit to community initiatives that address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour, and is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Simon Hall, the 837th High Sheriff of Essex, has travelled to all areas of the county during his year of office.  As well as meeting many voluntary organisations, he visited the Courts and spent time with Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service. 

Simon said, “It has been a huge privilege to undertake this role, it has been tremendous fun, I have learned a lot and I hope I have done some good.”

He paid tribute to the voluntary sector in Essex, “This county is blessed with some extraordinary organisations, wonderful people and very dedicated volunteers who are committed to tackling crime and social problems and supporting law and order.

“Austerity constraints have led to greater inventiveness and a recognition that partnership and collaboration are the way forward.  When you see what is going on, you cannot doubt the intrinsic goodness of humanity. 

“Our society cannot function without the voluntary sector and it is imperative that succeeding generations engage with this agenda.”

Simon believes that this most ancient of roles, still has relevance today.  He said, “What other job is there that entitles you to go anywhere, make connections between people from all sectors, of all ages and abilities, be welcomed always and where people are willing to answer all of your questions?  I feel deeply honoured to have been appointed to the role in the county of which I am so proud.”

Since it came under ECF’s management in 1997 the High Sheriffs’ Fund has distributed grants totalling over half a million pounds to voluntary and community organisations.

“ECF has been of great value to me during my year of office.  Their knowledge of the sector is invaluable and the High Sheriffs’ Fund gives much needed support to the organisations helping to prevent crime and promoting community safety”, said Simon.  “The Awards ceremony provides the opportunity to give them the recognition that they so rightly deserve.”

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF, said, “We are delighted to manage the High Sheriffs’ Fund and work with successive High Sheriffs’ so that greater support can be given to the people in the county who are working hard and contributing to community safety at a local level.”

In addition to the grants awarded from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, ECF was able to leverage a further £50,000 from other funds under its management to support voluntary organisations whose work is also contributing to community safety in Essex.  

“Our ability to match funds in this way means that organisations only need to complete one application form to access the money they need to develop or continue their work”, said Caroline.

The High Sheriffs’ Award Scheme recognises community initiatives which address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour. The office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year.

The High Sheriff receives no expenses and the role comes at no cost to the public purse. We are extremely grateful to Essex County Council and Chelmsford City Council for generously supporting this event.

To view photos from the event, click here.

For a full list of awards presented at the event, click here.

 

(L to R: Dean Ross - London Bus Theatre Company, Jacqui Foile - Voluntary Action Epping Forest, High Sheriff of Essex Simon Hall, Vivienne Wiggens - Beacon House Ministries, Rachael Stone - First Stop and Tracey Crumpton - Essex Youthbuild)

 

 

Beacon House Ministries were delighted to win the coveted High Sheriffs’ Shield recognising the care and support provided to people who find themselves homeless in the Colchester area.  As well as a drop in café, Beacon House offers health care facilities, a laundry service, access to clean clothes and toiletries, interventions and outreach support. They also received a grant of £3,808 to help them employ a part-time co-ordinator of services aimed at changing anti-social behaviour by homeless individuals.

Vivienne Wiggins, Chief Executive of Beacon House Ministries, said, “We are honoured to receive this recognition from the High Sheriff of Essex.  Through occupational therapy and learning new skills, the likelihood of our clients contributing to anti-social behaviour and crime is reduced.”

Voluntary Action Epping Forest were delighted to be presented with the High Sheriffs’ Essex County Council Bowl recognising their local partnership and collaborative work to deliver a Home Safety project.   They also received £1,500 towards the project through which they install safety equipment into the homes of vulnerable and elderly people living in Epping Forest District. 

Jacqui Foile, CEO of Voluntary Action Epping Forest, said, “We are thrilled to win this Award and recognition from the High Sheriff.  Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure at home and in their communities. This funding boost means that more people will now be less susceptible to becoming victims of crime.”

London Bus Theatre Company, based in Hockley, were delighted to receive the High Sheriffs’ Essex County Fire & Rescue Service Shield recognising their work supporting young people. They also received a grant of £1,745 to provide free alcohol awareness drama workshops to year 6 pupils in the Southend and Canvey Island areas.

Kathy Austen, of London Bus Theatre Company, said, “We are thrilled to win this award, recognising the work London Bus Theatre Company in contributing to the reduction of anti-social behaviour. The grant will enable us to deliver additional workshops and reach out to even more young people”.

Essex Youthbuild based in Chelmsford, were delighted to be awarded the High Sheriff’s Essex Police Cup recognising their outstanding contribution to community safety by helping to improve the employment opportunities of vulnerable young people through construction skills training.  They also received a grant of £2,795 to run a series of workshops about law, democracy and the dangers of extremism and radicalisation.

Tracey Crumpton, of Essex Youthbuild, said, “We are absolutely thrilled to win this Award and receive recognition from the High Sheriff of Essex.  It will be a great boost to the young people we work with who are vulnerable and, without support, might otherwise be targeted and encouraged into criminal activities.  Our aim is to train and educate them so that they can make positive changes to their lives and have a better and brighter future.”

First Stop Centre were delighted to win the High Sheriffs’ Cup recognising their work over 36 years providing a wide range of training and support for vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals from the Braintree area.  They also received a grant of £2,000 to run anger management and confidence building workshops for their clients.

Rachael Stone, Manager of First Stop, said, “It was such a wonderful surprise to receive this Award and recognition from the High Sheriff of Essex. We offer non-judgemental training and guidance in a supportive environment to help our clients make positive changes to their lives.”

Break times transformed at Chelmsford school

12th March 2018

Break times have been transformed for pupils at a special school in Chelmsford with the installation of a new outdoor shelter.

Pupils at Columbus School and College, which is one of the largest Special Educational Needs Schools in the country, will now be able to enjoy the outdoors for their breaks and therapy sessions whatever the weather, thanks to a grant of £4,995.

Columbus School cares for and educates children and young people from the age of three to 19 who have severe and complex needs, many with life limiting conditions and Autism. Due to their vulnerabilities, not all pupils were able to go outside every day, especially if it was raining or very sunny.

The Friends of Columbus School and College, a registered charity made up of parents, carers and supporters, applied to ECF for the projects costs. The Friends group meets regularly and raises money for projects that cannot be met from the school’s set budget.

Karen Clark, Principal of Columbus School and College, said: We are so grateful for the wonderful shelter in our Early Years’ playground.  The students have already enjoyed the benefits of this gift.  We are ecstatic to have been awarded this grant, as break times are a valuable learning and social time.  Having access to this outside space will improving their physical and emotional wellbeing and open them up to new learning opportunities.”

ECF manages 150 charitable funds and is always pleased to hear from voluntary groups and charities in Essex that are looking for funding to help them with their work. For more information or to apply for a grant, call ECF on 01245 356018.

Grants available for charities in Maldon District

1st March 2018

Voluntary organisations working in Maldon District are being encouraged to apply for grants to further their work and improve the lives of local people. 

Funding is available through the independent grantmaking trust, Essex Community Foundation, which manages a wide range of funds to support voluntary organisations and charities working at the heart of their local community.

Activities which are eligible for support include projects which help and engage young people, initiatives that aim to keep elderly people safe and connected to their community, refurbishment of and equipment for village halls and local meeting places, environmental and gardening projects, counselling and advice, as well as core running costs.

Some of the funding available will come from the community benefit funds set up with ECF to support communities affected by the on-shore wind farm developments in the Dengie Peninsula, particularly those in Southminster, Burnham-on-Crouch, Bradwell and Tillingham.

Caroline Taylor, CEO at ECF, said, "The community benefit funds are specific to particular areas, but ECF manages 150 charitable funds, all with differing criteria.  In the main, one application accesses all the funds we manage, so we would urge any local voluntary groups or charities working in the Maldon district to call us and discuss their funding needs as soon as possible."

The deadline date for the next round of applications to be received by ECF is Friday 20 April.

Among the community projects to previously receive support are: 

  • Bradwell-on-Sea Community Shop Association who were awarded £6,000 to set up a social room, further establishing the shop and Post Office as the village’s community hub.
  • Dengie Project Trust received £5,681 to buy signage for their new premises and specialist shower chairs for their disabled clients. 
  • Southminster Memorial Hall received £6,700 to install a new gas boiler and dishwasher, increasing their ability to host events. 

Brian Main, Chairman of Bradwell on Sea Community Shop Association, said: “Our community shop is the only retail outlet in the village and is a focal point for both locals and visitors.

“We are so grateful for the grant we received as it is helping us to create a new social space for the community where, no matter your age or ability, people can come together, meet old friends and hopefully make some new ones”.

For more information or to discuss an application, call ECF now on 01245 356018 or e-mail grants@essexcf.org.uk.

Essex declutters receive funding boost

27th February 2018

Your Living Room CIC, a not-for-profit decluttering service has been awarded a grant of £8,969 to expand their work and support people suffering from Hoarding Disorder.

This cash injection comes from the Yellow Car Charitable Fund, which is managed by the independent grantmaking trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Pathological or compulsive hoarding is excessively collecting and failing to throw out a large number of items that would appear, to most, to hold little or no value to the point it impedes day-to-day life.

This severe cluttering builds until a home is no longer a viable place to live, can cause extreme isolation and become a danger to life. Around five percent of the UK population is affected by Hoarding Disorder and since it was recognised as a mental health condition in 2013, awareness has increased.

The decluttering service was set up in 2015 and helps clients to find the root cause of their obsessive collecting, improve well-being and re-engage them with the local community.

This funding boost will enable Your Living Room CIC to create a bespoke database, further developing the service it offers. The technology will analyse clients’ needs, track their progress and help the team ensure that support is in place for sustainable life improvements.

Your Living Room co-director Diane Boyd said: “We are very grateful to Essex Community Foundation for supporting us. We receive hundreds of referrals every year and this database will help us to track, monitor and deliver a service which will have a positive, long-lasting impact on our clients. It will also provide a vast menu of data such as demographics and support needs, as well as improving multi-agency working and delivering a saving to the public purse in the longer term.”

One person whose life has been transformed thanks to this service, is Sarah. Sarah is 50 years-old and has suffered a number of traumatic incidents in her life including domestic abuse and a violent burglary. Following changes to her circumstances, she moved to a two bedroom flat with the contents of a three-bedroom house.

Her new home was immediately over cramped and without family or friends living nearby, Sarah felt alienated. This cluttering continued to grow, until it become so severe that some rooms could no longer be entered.

Sarah knew of Your Living Room CIC and contacted them for help. The service cleared the flat, selling what they could on her behalf and donating the rest. Throughout the clean-up, Sarah was emotionally supported by the team and having now moved, which would have been impossible before, reports she is “very happy and feels more positive”. 

If you are an Essex community or voluntary organisation in need of funding to support your work, call ECF now on 01245 356018.

For more information about Your Living Room CIC, visit www.yourlivingroomcic.co.uk.

Lifeline for parents awarded vital funding

19th February 2018

A funding boost of £8,200 has been given to an “amazing” organisation which offers a lifeline to parents who have children with additional needs.

The MAZE Group CIC has been awarded the grant by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) to provide more training courses for parents in Colchester and Tendring.

The courses give vital help and guidance to parents, or carers, of children with additional needs, including those with a learning difficulty, physical disability, autism, ADHD or cerebral palsy.

Thanks to the training, called ‘the MAZE Approach’, families are able to build more positive relationships, develop communication strategies and improve behaviour.

Debbie White, from Colchester, is among the many parents who have found the 12-week long course to be life-changing.

She said: “MAZE is amazing, helping families to understand and manage their additional needs. My son Tom is now 22, but didn’t receive his diagnosis of ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) until he was nearly 20.

“Having received this diagnosis, we assumed we would be signposted to other organisations that could provide advice, but nothing happened.

“In 2016, we moved to Colchester and by chance were told about MAZE. I attended their course last January and it really has made a big impact on how we manage the challenges that Tom and our family face day-to-day.

“During my time with MAZE, they helped me to understand my son's needs and how I can be more supportive to him. The skills that I learnt have not only made me a better mum, but it made me realise how lucky I am to have such a special, amazing son in my life.”

Debbie is now a mentor to other parents and enjoys volunteering with MAZE to give something back to help other families who find themselves in the position she was.

Sue Anderton, director of MAZE, welcomed the funding from ECF which will help the organisation to meet the demand for the services it provides.

She said: “When parents have a strong understanding of the additional needs their child has, they are better equipped to raise them. This understanding and the tools they learn on the programme creates happier parents, happier children and happier siblings, who enjoy a calmer more stable home life.

“MAZE continues to grow, and we are making plans for further development. We hope to increase what we can offer parents, and carers, later this year.”

As well as the training programmes, MAZE also holds social coffee mornings for parents once a month, meeting in Harwich, Clacton and Colchester. To find out more, visit themazegroup.co.uk.

ECF pooled money from two of the endowed charitable funds it manages, the Blanc Family Fund and the Diana Tinson Fund to award this vital grant to MAZE.

For more information about ECF and to find out how to make an application for funding call the team now on 01245 356018.

Tributes paid to ECF Founder

12th February 2018

Pioneering philanthropist, Ian Marks, who founded the leading independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF), has died peacefully at his home in Margaretting, aged 85.

Tributes have been paid to Ian as a man of vision and determination who changed the landscape of local charitable giving by setting up ECF in 1996.

It was one of the first organisations of its kind in the UK and its aim was to improve the lives of people in Essex by giving support to voluntary groups and charities working at a grassroots level to help those most in need in the county.

Ian Marks CBE DL, inspired many people with his ambition to create a permanent financial resource for the voluntary sector in his home county and, even as ECF went from strength to strength, his mantra was unwavering, “There is still so much more to do.”

He was born in South Woodford and apart from his national service, worked and lived in Essex for all his life.

After graduating from Cambridge, he joined the family confectionery firm, Trebor, which relocated from Ilford to Colchester in 1979.  He rose to become its managing director and then, in 1980, its chairman. He was made a CBE in 1993 for services to the food industry.

In 1989 Trebor was sold to Cadbury and Ian went on to devote his life to philanthropy.

Ian’s wife Angela, who shared his vision of galvanising the community to tackle social issues affecting Essex, was unstinting in her support and helped make his philanthropic ambitions become a reality.

When he stepped down as chairman of ECF in 2003, Ian took on the role of president, in recognition of his achievements in establishing such an important resource for the people of Essex.

Since it was founded 21 years ago, ECF has awarded more than £31 million in grants from the charitable funds that it manages on behalf of individuals, families, companies and public agencies who want to make a difference in their local community.

Ian was a modest man who strongly believed that the success of ECF was not down to him alone.  It was thanks to those who believed in his vision and everyone involved over the past 21 years; trustees, vice presidents, staff, volunteers, donors and voluntary groups, all working together for the good of Essex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(L to R: Lord Petre, Jennifer Tolhurst: the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Ian Marks CBE DL, Caroline Taylor chief executive of ECF and ECF's chairman Jonathan Minter DL)

ECF's chairman Jonathan Minter said: “Ian was a philanthropist who was passionate about helping to improve the lives of others less fortunate. His efforts to establish ECF led to the development of one of the leading charitable organisations in Essex.  He was our greatest champion and we will forever be grateful for his foresight and generosity and his enthusiasm for our work, which will continue to drive and inspire us to do more.”

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “Essex Community Foundation and Ian Marks will always be inextricably linked.  His vision and wise words of inspiration will live on through the continuing work of the Foundation and the charitable fund that we manage in Ian and Angela’s name.”

Lord Petre, a founding trustee of ECF and who was appointed as the foundation’s president last year, said: “Without Ian there would not be a Community Foundation in Essex. Initially, people were sceptical about the idea, but Ian’s faith and quiet persistence to engage others and gain their support, was unwavering.  Since then, many thousands of people living in communities across Essex have benefited from his vision and inspirational leadership.”

Jennifer Tolhurst, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex and Patron of ECF said, “Ian was a true Essex man and had a passion for this wonderful and diverse county.  He managed the family business was a champion for the voluntary sector and local community projects.  His charitable work extended outside of Essex, across the UK and the world.  He was a valued Deputy Lieutenant and will be greatly missed by all who had the good fortune to know him”.

Laura Warren, ECF's first chief executive, who worked with Ian Marks to set up the foundation said: “Ian started it all. Without his belief, that it is local people who have the power to bring change to their own communities, Essex would not have what it has now, a Community Foundation with funds now totalling £40 million, to support local causes in perpetuity. It was my good fortune to be appointed by Ian to spend 15 years as ECF’s founding CEO; he was an inspirational leader - visionary, demanding, enthusiastic, fun, and the most supportive Chairman one could have wanted.  He was a very special man.” 

Ann Pettifor also penned a tribute to Ian Marks CBE DL, noting the crucial part he played in building and supporting the Jubilee 2000 movement, which persuaded world leaders to cancel the debts of more than 30 low income countries.To read this in full, click here

Fenella Hardie, Holdfast Credit Union, said: "Our condolences on the death of Ian Marks. Holdfast Credit Union and in particular school children and young people in and around the Witham area and beyond have benefitted from the generosity and vision of the Foundation he established."

Wendy Clarke, My Post Office, said: "So sorry to hear of Ian Marks death as I’ve often passed on my respect and thankfulness that ECF was set up in Essex that didn’t have such a foundation. Keep up the good work in Ian’s name."

Cards and letters of condolence

Cards and letters of condolence can be sent to the family via the funeral directors, T Pennack & Sons, 1-3 Maldon Road, Great Baddow, Chelmsford CM2 7DW.
E-mail: pennackandsons@btconnect.com. Tel: 01245 471157.

Charitable causes receive boost in Braintree district

12th February 2018

An accommodation centre for vulnerable young people in Braintree, therapeutic care for cancer patients, and a counselling service for victims who have suffered sexual abuse are among the latest causes to receive support from the Braintree District and Greenfields Community Fund.

The Fund, which was launched by Braintree District Council and Greenfields Community Housing in 2016, is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF).  Grants are awarded to support the work of voluntary and community groups that help to improve the health, wellbeing and life-chances of local people living in the Braintree district.

In this latest round, four organisations have benefited from grants totalling nearly £120,000, which will be administered by ECF over the next three years:

  1. Action for Family Carers: £35,509
    To employ someone to work with local primary and secondary schools and help identify and support young carers.
  2. CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse): £33,987
    To provide a counselling and support service for people who have been victims of sexual violence and child abuse.
  3. Helen Rollason Heal Cancer Charity: £14,565
    To continue therapeutic treatments for people who are receiving treatment for cancer.
  4. Salvation Army Housing Association: £33,986
    To retain a Support Manager at the Braintree Foyer, which is an accommodation centre for young people aged 16-25 who are experiencing  homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

Helen Parr, Director of CARA said: “The counselling and therapeutic support we provide helps our clients to process what has happened to them and develop strategies to cope with the complex emotions they are often experiencing.

“We have seen a growth in demand for our services in the Braintree district, and this funding means we can continue our work and increase the number of sessions we offer.”

James Clarke, CEO of Action for Family Carers, said: “Young Carers sometimes keep their caring role a secret for fear of bullying or being seen as different by their friends.  However, remaining ‘hidden’ can mean that Young Carers miss out on the help that is available to them and their family. This grant means that we can work closely with schools in the Braintree district to identify Young Carers and ensure there is appropriate support for their wellbeing and future development.”

Flip Hornby, a Greenfields tenant and Board member, and Grant Panel member, said, “The panel was very impressed by the fantastic work of the four organisations benefiting from grants this year. They are providing vital help to improve the lives of local people in need of additional support.”

Councillor Wendy Schmitt, Deputy Leader Braintree District Council, said: “As a council we are proud to be part of this fund which is making a real difference to the community. The range of organisations this year are close to many people’s hearts and I look forward to seeing the difference this money will make.”

The Fund provides voluntary and community organisations with the opportunity to apply for funding of up to £40,000, which can be awarded over a period of up to three years. In 2017, five local organisations received £95,000 in the first round of grants. The recipients were Braintree Area Foodbank, Families InFocus, Witham Town Luncheon Club, Home-Start Witham Braintree & Halstead and Relate North Essex & East Herts.

Community and voluntary organisations in need of funding can call the ECF grants team now on 01245 356018.

Support the Surviving Winter Appeal

11th February 2018

ECF is accepting donations, including unneeded Winter fuel payments, to help people in Essex stay warm and well during the colder months.

All donations will support the work of local charities and voluntary organisations that are helping elderly and vulnerable people in their communities.  

Organisations which have previously received grants include:

  • Basildon Emergency Night Shelters - £225 to open local churches up for 5 nights a week to provide beds for people who are homeless and living on the streets.
  • Braintree Area Foodbank - £1,000 to support additional demand on the foodbank during the winter months as people have to choose between heating and food.
  • Wyvern Community Transport - £1,000 to provide an additional Saturday community transport service during Winter for the elderly.

ECF has just awarded £1,000 to Streets2Homes to support their work of giving people without a home a warm and safe place during these severe weather conditions. If you are community organisation providing emergency relief during this time, and you are in need of funding, please contact us now on 01245 356018 or e-mail fran@essexcf.org.uk.

How to donate:

Cheque – Some supporters choose to send a cheque and donate an amount equivalent to their own Winter fuel allowance if they do not need it themselves, or give an alternative sum of their choice. Please make it payable to 'Essex Community Foundation' and post it to 121 New London Road, Chelmsford, CM2 0QT.

Online – You can donate online via our Just Giving page. To access this, click here

BACS Transfer – Please call a member of the ECF team on 01245 355947 who will be happy to pass on the necessary details.  

Please don't forget to Gift Aid your donation if you can, the Gift Aid form can be accessed here

Helping to tackle food poverty in Clacton

22nd January 2018

An innovative charity making meals for vulnerable people from surplus food, has been given a boost of £8,000 thanks to staff at Colne Housing.

Clacton-on-Sea FoodCycle has been awarded £8,234 from the Essex-based housing association’s grant making scheme - Colne Community Builders, which is administered by Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The money will be used to feed more people in the Tendring area, expand their outreach programme and raise awareness of food poverty.

Roger Green, Team Co-ordinator of Clacton-on-Sea FoodCycle, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this grant from the Colne Community Builders.  It’s going to make a huge difference to the 40 guests we serve each week. This money will help us to keep providing this important service and to reach more people who could benefit from a hot meal and some friendly faces”.

Sarah Cawley, of Colne Housing, said: “Colne is all about enabling people to live independently and encouraging communities to thrive. Our teams use their knowledge and expertise when considering applications so the money can make a real difference.”

She added, “We are really impressed by the work Foodcycle does for people in Tendring and believe this grant will have a great impact on people who live in that area.”

Colne Community Builders was launched five years ago and since 2015 has been administered by ECF. In the last three years, Colne has awarded more than £39,000 to Essex charities and voluntary projects that enable independent living.

FoodCycle Clacton-on-Sea has served the community since 2011. Last year, it provided more than 2,000 three-course meals using nearly three tonnes of surplus food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

The fruit and vegetables, donated from local businesses and supermarkets, is used by a team of volunteers to create a three-course meal every Monday lunchtime at Trinity Methodist Church.
       
Guests who attend the weekly meal are elderly, have a low income or are without a home and facing mental health issues. Sitting down for a meal, which is prepared by local people, helps them to feel involved in the community.

Neil is 53-years-old and attends every week. He said: “You are able to talk to other people who might have gone through the same as you. I had a bad breakdown just over a year ago, and it’s only in the past few weeks that I’ve come out of my shell. When you’re able to start speaking to people like yourself, it makes you feel better”.

Colne Community Builders is now inviting more Essex charities to apply for grants through ECF.  Staff at Colne give a lot of consideration to the applications and vote to support the ones that will have the greatest impact in communities where Colne has residents.

Applications can be made by charities and community organisations in areas where Colne Housing operates - Babergh, Braintree, Chelmsford, Colchester, Maldon, Tendring and Uttlesford. For more information, call ECF now on 01245 356018.

Changing lives one friendship at a time

22nd January 2018

A befriending scheme which matches people who feel lonely and isolated, with a volunteer companion, has been awarded a major grant.

Castle Point Association of Voluntary Services (CAVS) is receiving a £60,000 funding boost, distributed over two years, from The Henry Smith Charity which is working in partnership with the local grantmaking trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The befriending scheme helps many elderly and vulnerable people. The grant means that the organisation can expand their work and train extra volunteers to support more people living in Castle Point and Rochford.

Most clients are referred by their local GP or other health agencies and the service adapts to the individual. People are matched based on common interests, location and need.

Alan, a 71-year-old man, is among those who have thrived thanks to the scheme. He has Parkinson’s disease and in the past suffered a debilitating heart attack, leaving him less active.

His GP felt that extra companionship would benefit his health and referred him to CAVS. Through the scheme, Alan was matched with a male volunteer who has helped him to build his confidence and become more physically and mentally active. He now enjoys short walks and is seeking a chess partner.

Vicky Pilton, Senior Befriending Co-ordinator at CAVS, said: “We are thrilled to have received this grant from The Henry Smith Charity. Providing people with friendship and interesting conversation on a regular basis is something so simple, but it can have a huge impact on the overall wellbeing of individuals.

If you, or someone you know in the Castle Point or Rochford area, could benefit from the befriending scheme, or if you would like to volunteer, call 01268 638416 or visit castlepointavs.org.uk.

For more information about ECF and how to apply for funding, call the grants team on 01245 356018.

Photos included are of Befriended clients and their paired volunteer. 

Phone-In Funding Surgery Southend: 14 February

22nd January 2018

Are you a voluntary or community organisation operating in Southend-on-Sea and do you need funding?

If so, Essex Community Foundation will be holding a Phone-In Funding Surgery to help you identify if there is support available for your work and talk you through the process of applying for a grant.

This phone-in event will be held on Wednesday 14 February between 10am to 12 noon.

ECF grant officers, will be on hand to discuss your funding options. Please call them on 01245 356018.  There is no need to book a slot in advance.

Conversations will initially be allocated a 10 minute appointment.  If further information is required, we will arrange a time to call you back.  If you cannot get through on the day, please leave a message with your name, the organisation you are calling from and a number that we can contact you on.   We will return your call as soon as possible.

Grants available for Essex charities

12th January 2018

Voluntary and community organisations in Essex are invited to apply for grants from two charitable funds set up by Essex County Council.

Applications can now be made to the Essex Millennium Fund and the Essex County Council Chairman’s Fund, which are managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The Essex Millennium Fund was established as an endowed fund by members of Essex County Council to celebrate the Millennium. The funding from this is dedicated to four priority areas: carers, community support, enhancing the environment and young people.

Among the charities to receive a grant from this Fund last year, was Supporting Carers and Families Together. The Rochford based organisation was awarded £2,750 towards the annual salary of a Service Delivery Manager to work with young and adult carers.

Andy Trewern, who works for the charity, said “We have seen a surge in demand for our services over the last two years and this funding has helped us to continue supporting local carers, increase their confidence and make sure no-one feels like they are alone.”

The ECC Chairman’s Fund was established in 2007 to provide support to community groups working to enrich the lives of local people through activities exploring culture and heritage.

Clacton Victoria County History Group were awarded a grant of £3,000 from the Chairman's Fund towards their WWII history project. Roger Kennell, Chairman, said: “There are not many sources for young people, and those of all ages, to learn about the important role the volunteer soldiers of the Home Guard played in the War. This grant will help us to record this information and the defence sites they manned to make create a lasting source for local people".

The deadline to make an application to either of these Funds is Friday 26 January. To apply, please complete our General Application form, which can be accessed here

All community organisations and charities that are successful in their application will be invited to attend an Awards ceremony in April 2018.

If you have any questions, or are unsure if you should apply, please call the ECF team on 01245 356018.

New Annual Review and Survey

13th December 2017

Our latest Annual Review, grant supplement and our Annual Report and Financial Statements are now all available for you to view online. Please click here, to access these.

We would greatly appreciate your feedback and invite you to complete a short online survey, which can be accessed here.

The survey will only take a few minutes and your comments will help us to plan and shape the content of future publications.

If you would like to receive a copy of these documents by post, please e-mail Kate Cornish at kate@essexcf.org.uk.

ECF’s Charity Golf Day 2018

13th December 2017

ECF Charity Golf Day - Thursday 14 June 2018

Following the great success of previous years’ events, which have raised more than £50,000 to support local community and voluntary organisations, we are again holding a Charity Golf Day at Chelmsford Golf Club.

We are grateful to Carole Golbourn and her husband Alan for hosting the Golf Day for us. This will be our 9th Golf Day, which raises awareness about the work of ECF and provides money to support local charities and voluntary organisations.

We have many regular supporters of the day, but we are also keen to welcome new people who may wish to enter a team of 4 people (amateurs only).  It will be a stableford competition with full handicap allowance over 18 holes.

Bacon rolls & coffee will be served on arrival and following the golf there will be dinner and prize giving. As well as team prizes there will be prizes for ‘nearest the pin’ and the drive ‘nearest the line’.

Download entry form click here (word version)

Download entry form click here (pdf)

We are restricted to 22 teams so please enter early to avoid disappointment.

If you would like to enter a team, donate a raffle prize, sponsor a hole or make a donation to this worthy cause, contact Jo Macaulay on 01245 355947 or e-mail jo@essexcf.org.uk.

Community fund makes a splash

13th December 2017

Voluntary organisations to receive an early Christmas present from the Essex & Suffolk Water Community Fund.

Grants totalling nearly £9,000 have been awarded from the Fund to seven charities and voluntary organisations in Essex, Suffolk and East London. The Fund is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Essex & Suffolk Water established their community Fund with ECF in 2003, to give support to a wide range of local projects and organisations now and in the future. The Fund has since awarded over 125 grants, totalling more than £95,000.

Organisations to benefit from the 2017/18 round of grants are:

  • BATIAS Independent Advocacy Service, Basildon - £1,800 to run monthly information mornings on personal safety for people with learning disabilities, helping them to live independently.
  • Melbourne Project, Chelmsford – £1,000 to support a homework club for local children and an older people’s club.
  • Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, Maldon - £1,000 towards a new permanent heritage exhibition focusing on the role of women in WWI.
  • Thurrock Mencap Society - £2,000 to run a new healthy lifestyle programme for members with special needs.
  • The ARC (Adult Resource Centre), Thurrock – £1,000 to help purchase sensory and activity equipment for a group supporting adults with special needs.
  • Palgrave and District Community Council, Suffolk – £1,500 to buy new equipment for community playing field.
  • Aanchal Women’s Aid, Redbridge - £500 for service that supports women rebuilding their lives following domestic and sexual violence.

Angie Cahill, of BATIAS, said: “People with a learning disability can often be the victims of hate crime and bullying. Having this peer support group, where people will listen to you and help you to think of ways of keeping safe in the future, can mean the difference from staying home and isolated to being able to feel confident about going out in the community”.

Shirley Robinson, of Thurrock Mencap Society, said: “On the surface, running a healthy eating and fitness course for our Members may seem like a nice activity. But in reality, food awareness and being active regularly is a big problem for people with special needs, particularly for those with Down’s syndrome. This grant will help our Members to gain a healthier approach to life, whilst having fun”.

Ian Flint, CEO of the Aerodrome, said: “We are always seeking new ways to interest and inform people, of all ages, on the Air Campaign during WWI. We are delighted to receive this funding as it means we can install a new, permanent exhibition. This unique heritage attraction will focus on the roles of women in the early 20th century, and the immeasurable impact of their actions during the Great War, both at Stow Maries and other locations”.

Grant applications are considered by an employee committee and all projects supported are related to either the environment, health and wellbeing or providing community support.

Michael Page, External Communications Consultant, Essex & Suffolk Water said, “Water is one of the most important commodities in our lives and we are very aware of the essential service we offer to our customers.’’

“We also strive to make a positive contribution to the communities that we serve on a daily basis, and our long-standing partnership with Essex Community Foundation is one of the ways we endeavour to do this.

We are very proud to have awarded grants to seven fantastic organisations and I hope that this support will give them a real boost to help them continue their inspiring and much needed work.”

For information on how to apply for a grant to support your charitable work, click here or call the friendly ECF grants team on 01245 356018.

Grants awarded to six local organisations to improve information and signposting

5th December 2017

Six Essex charities are set to benefit from additional funding for their information and signposting services, thanks to the Healthwatch Essex Fund, in partnership with the Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Organisations from the community and voluntary sector were asked to bid for the funding and were awarded the grants based on how they would improve people’s experiences of health and social care in Essex through improved provision of information, advice and guidance.

The pioneering sight loss charity Support 4 Sight was awarded £8,652 to support the Eye Clinic Information Desk at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford and provide an Eye Clinic Liaison Officers to help people deal positively with their condition and work towards achieving independence, restored self-confidence, emotional wellbeing, sense of identity and quality of life. They will also help develop a support system, where people can talk to others about their concerns, including opportunities for social interaction and experience-sharing with peers.

Mind in West Essex was awarded £7,000 to employ a Community Awareness and Information Officer to provide advice on mental health issues across Epping Forest. The role will ensure more information about mental health is made available via libraries, GPs, colleges and aims to improve uptake in people accessing early support for their mental health in turn leading to improved recovery.

Teen Talk (Harwich) has been given £7,000 to expand an outreach service from three to four sessions a week, providing information, advice and guidance to young people on issues affecting their health and wellbeing. The current service reaches young people who present with issues relating to sexual, physical and mental health.

St Helena Hospice will look to update their clinical literature with the £5,000 awarded to provide guidance and advice for families across north Essex. The main benefit will be widening access to hospice support through better information that is easy to understand and is more accessible to people when they need it. This project will ensure that patients, families and healthcare professionals have a better understanding of what the hospice can offer and how it can be accessed.

Citizens Advice Rochford and Rayleigh (CAB) was awarded £9,890 to provide an advice service about social care funding and payments. People will be able to make face-to-face appointments to get holistic and independent advice on a wide range of issues including debt, housing benefits, relationships and family issues.

Voluntary Action Epping Forest has been given £6,832 which will help train and mentor volunteers to reach more people in the community, especially those in deprived and isolated areas.

David Sollis, Chief Executive at Healthwatch Essex said “One of our key roles is to provide first-class signposting and information services to the public. We do this by forging close links with the voluntary and community sector which has specialist knowledge of their communities. This funding will allow them to assist people more effectively and we are really proud to be able to support them.”

The Healthwatch Essex Information service is available to anyone who needs to access health and care services for themselves or their friends or family in Essex.  Since launch, it has helped 5,000 people, averaging 220 calls a month.

People can contact the Information Service on 0300 500 1895 or at info@healthwatchessex.org.uk or leave a review of local health or care services in the Feedback Centre.

To speak with a member of the ECF team about how you can apply for grant to support your charitable work, call 01245 356018 or e-mail grants@essexcf.org.uk.

Search and explore our grants

28th November 2017

ECF is pleased to be working with 360Giving to highlight information about our grants.

During our financial year to 30 June 2017 we awarded grants totalling £2.3m. By publishing our grants data to this online platform we hope to share learning across charitable foundations.

If you would like to view the wide range of groups we have supported this year, click here.

Read our article in Essex Life

28th November 2017

ECF is delighted to be featured in the November issue of Essex Life.

The article highlights how being philanthrophic is not just for those with a multi-million pound lifestyle and is, instead, a rewarding way for many of us to make a real difference in our lifetime and beyond. To read the Essex Life article, click here.

If you would like to speak with a member of the team about how establishing an individual, family, or company named fund can benefit your charitable giving, please call 01245 355947 or e-mail Jo Macaulay on jo@essexcf.org.uk

High Sheriff Invites Applications

26th October 2017

Local voluntary and community organisations are encouraged to apply for funding from the High Sheriff of Essex Awards Scheme. 

Grants of up to £5,000 are available from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and the money will be awarded to groups who are working to make their communities safer and better places in which to live.

Projects which have received grants previously include diversionary activities for young people, educational programmes about drug and alcohol misuse, schemes which highlight the dangers of financial scams, initiatives which support victims of crime, programmes for reintegration and employability, and projects to help people deal with the stresses and strains of life.

The deadline date for applications is 1 December, so now is the time for organisations to take up the opportunity to apply for a grant to support their work.

High Sheriff of Essex, Simon Hall said: “The annual High Sheriffs’ Awards provide a fantastic opportunity to recognise the essential contribution that voluntary organisations make in keeping their local communities safer and better places in which to live.

“As I travel around the county visiting organisations, I am seeing first-hand the enormous contribution that they and their staff and volunteers are making. I urge organisations to recognise this opportunity and apply for funding so they can further boost their efforts.”

An independent panel of judges, chaired by the High Sheriff and including past High Sheriffs, will review the applications and the awards will be presented by the High Sheriff at a ceremony in March 2018.

The historic role of a High Sheriff is to promote law and order and it also now encompasses giving recognition and reward to those who help promote the safety and quality of life of all those that live in Essex.

Since it came under ECF’s management in 1997, the High Sheriff’s Fund has awarded 600 grants totalling nearly £500,000.

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF, said, “The High Sheriffs’ Fund is a treasured financial resource to the Essex voluntary sector. ECF is delighted to manage the Fund and work with successive High Sheriffs, helping them to direct funding where it is most needed and tackle important issues at a local level.”

The closing date for grant applications from this year’s High Sheriffs’ Fund is 1 December 2017.  To apply for  funding, click here and if you have any questions please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018.

The High Sheriffs' Awards also encourages local people to nominate an individual or a voluntary organisation to receive recognition for their outstanding work promoting crime prevention and community safety. To download the nomination form, click here.

Grants available to improve health and wellbeing in local communities

9th September 2017

Voluntary and community groups in Essex who need a funding boost for health-related projects are being offered thousands of pounds.

The money is being given by the Provide Foundation, which was established with the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) in 2013.

Provide is a social enterprise and delivers a broad range of community health and care services in Essex and elsewhere.  As a social enterprise, any surpluses that the organisation makes, by working more efficiently and innovatively, are reinvested into the local communities it serves and/or are used to develop its services.

The aim of the funding programme, which offers grants of up to £5,000, is to help people to have better access to community health services by supporting voluntary and community organisations working across Essex.

Last year’s recipients received a total of £90,000 for a range of activities, including respite for carers, a healthy eating programme for young people, support for people with an acquired brain injury and an activity club for children with disabilities.

John Niland, Chief Executive of Provide said: “By working with the Essex Community Foundation, we are able to effectively offer funds to voluntary and community organisations whose work complements that of Provide.

“The wide range of projects and support that is available for local people is really impressive and contributes greatly to improving their health and well-being.  Our organisation is pleased to be able to offer grants to enable this vital work to continue and grow.”

Paul Hill, Head of Grants and Programmes at ECF, said: “This is a great opportunity for local communities to receive funding to continue to expand their health-related work.  We would encourage organisations to apply or call us to discuss their application in advance of submission if they need advice and help.

“Provide is an excellent organisation and we look forward to once again working with them and their staff, who are fully involved, in how to allocate the grants through ECF.”

  • The closing date for applications is 20 October.
  • Please contact the ECF grants team if you would like to discuss your application on 01245 356018. 
  • Decisions will be made in early January.  Full details and Provide Foundation guidelines can be found here.
  • More information about Provide is available from www.provide.org.uk

Phone-In Funding Surgery: Community Safety - 8 November

9th September 2017

Are you a voluntary organisation which is working to make your community safer and do you need funding?

If so, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) will be holding a Phone-in Funding Surgery to help you identify if there are grants available to support your work and talk you through the process of making an application.

This phone-in event will be held on Wednesday 8 November between 10am to 12 noon

ECF grant officers will be on hand to discuss your funding options. Please call them, on the day, on 01245 356018. There is no need to book a slot.

If you cannot get through, please leave a voicemail with your name, what organisation you are calling from and your phone number.  Your call will be returned as soon as possible.

Tribute

9th September 2017

We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Steve Packham, Chief Executive of Chelmsford City Council, who died peacefully on 24 October 2017 after a long battle with lung cancer.

Steve was a former Trustee of ECF and served on the Board for six years from October 2004 to November 2010.  He was a great advocate and supporter of the Foundation’s work and actively encouraged other Councils and public agencies to engage with us in supporting their local voluntary and community sector.
Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this very sad time.

“It was a privilege to work with Steve.  He will be greatly missed by all of us here at ECF and, I am sure, by his friends and colleagues at Chelmsford City Council.” Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive

Keeping the flow of support into local communities

30th August 2017

Local voluntary and community organisations are encouraged to apply for grants from the Essex & Suffolk Water Community Fund.

Grants of up to £5,000 are available from the Fund, which is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF). Grant applications are considered by an employee committee and projects given support must be related to either health and well-being, community support or the environment.

The deadline date for applications is 31 October, so now is the time for organisations to take up the opportunity to apply for a grant.

Projects which have received grants previously include providing a sailing boat for a Sea Scout Group in Southend, tools and equipment for a Men’s Shed project in Rayleigh, catering equipment for use at a community club which provides hotel meals for vulnerable elderly people in Basildon and covering the costs of a physiotherapist and teacher for a disabled swimming club in Maldon.

Michael Page, External Communications Consultant at Essex & Suffolk Water said, “Water is one of the most important commodities in our lives and we are very aware of the essential service we offer to our customers.

“Our Community Fund with ECF is just one way that we endeavour to engage with and support the communities that we serve on a daily basis.”

Essex & Suffolk Water established their Fund with ECF in 2003 to give support to a wide range of local projects and organisations now and in the future.  Since then, 120 grants totalling nearly £85,000 have been awarded to voluntary groups and charities working in the Essex & Suffolk Water supply areas.

Paul Hill, Head of Grants and Programmes at ECF said, “We urge organisations to apply as these grants could give them a real boost to help them continue their much-needed work.

“The ECF grants team are always on hand so please call us to discuss any projects or applications in advance of submission.”       

The closing date for grant applications is 31 October 2017.  To apply click here or call the grants team on 01245 356018.

ECF welcomes new Patron

25th August 2017

ECF is delighted to welcome Jennifer Tolhurst, the Lord-Lieutenant of Essex, as its new Patron.

Jennifer, who has been a Vice President of ECF since 2006, takes over from Lord Petre who has been the Foundation's Patron for the past 18 years. 

Lord Petre now becomes ECF's President taking the role from our Founder, Ian Marks, CBE DL.

Ian said, "Community Foundations are all about the constantly changing needs of people and local communities. My wife Angela and I founded ECF in 1996 and we are extremely pleased at its growth and success. We are delighted that Jennifer and Lord Petre have accepted these roles and are confident that they will both be active ambassadors for ECF and the voluntary sector in Essex."

Phone-In Funding Surgery: Thurrock - 27 September

25th August 2017

Are you a voluntary or community organisation in Thurrock and do you need funding?

If so, Essex Community Foundation will be holding a phone-in funding surgery to help you identify if there is support available for your work and talk you through the process of applying for grants.

This phone-in event will be held on Wednesday 27 September between 10am to 12 noon. 

ECF grant officers will be on hand to talk with you about your work and discuss your funding options. Please call them, on the day, on 01245 356018. 

If you cannot get through on the day, please leave a message with your name, the organisation you are calling from and a number that we can contact you on.  We will return your call as soon as possible. 

We are seeking volunteer panel members

10th August 2017

Do you live in the Bradwell and Tillingham areas and would you like to make a difference in your local community? If so, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) is seeking volunteers to join a panel of local people to consider grant applications from voluntary and community organisations in Bradwell-on-Sea and Tillingham.

Bradwell Wind Farm Community Fund was set up in 2013 by RWE npower renewables for the life of the wind farm, to support community projects and activities with grants of up to £10,000.

The Fund is administered by ECF, an independent charitable trust. Grant applications meeting the criteria of the Fund, are assessed by ECF and presented to a panel of local people for consideration.

To date, the Fund has awarded 28 grants totalling £122,163 to support a wide range of community projects, including the expansion of an advice outreach and home visiting services to the two villages, improving cricket facilities, setting up of an under 8's football team and supporting local scouts and guides.

ECF would like to increase the number of people on the panel and is seeking one representative from Tillingham and one from Bradwell. The panel meets twice a year at St Cedd’s School Bradwell, usually in May and again in November from 5.30pm to 7.00pm.

If you are interested and would like to know more please contact Jill Curd,at ECF, on jill@essexcf.org.uk or call 01245 356018.

Charity Times Awards 2017

1st August 2017

ECF is delighted that its Chief Executive, Caroline Taylor, has been shortlisted in the Charity Times Awards 2017 in the category which recognises the achievements of new CEO’s working in the UK charity and not-for-profit sector.

Caroline was appointed Chief Executive in January 2016 and has worked with ECF for 13 years, latterly as Deputy Chief Executive with responsibility for the Foundation’s Grants and Programmes.

Under her leadership, ECF has reached the milestones of growing the value of its endowment fund to £40 million, which will support charitable organisations and projects in Essex in perpetuity; and having awarded £30 million in grants since the Foundation was established in 1996.

Caroline said: “It’s an honour to be the Chief Executive of ECF and to work with a dedicated team of people who are committed to our mission of developing local philanthropy to support the work of the voluntary sector in Essex.”.

Winners will be announced at the Awards Gala Dinner and Ceremony on Wednesday 4 October 2017.

Canvey Island awash with community spirit

28th July 2017

A tidal wave of community spirit on Canvey Island and a grant of £2,500 have transformed a beach for the benefit of local residents and visitors to enjoy.

The grant, awarded from Essex County Council’s Millennium Fund, has contributed to a scheme which has improved accessibility for wheelchair users and those with disabilities. 

The Essex Millennium Fund, which is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), was established as an endowed fund by Essex County Council to celebrate the Millennium. The fund distributes grants annually to voluntary and community groups working within four priority areas, carers, community support, enhancing the environment and young people.

Canvey Bay Watch was formed in October 2014, when a small group of volunteers, many of whom have lived on the island for more than 50 years, decided to restore the seafront to its former glory. 

Canvey Bay Watch volunteer Barry Campagna, said, “We were delighted to have received this grant from the Essex Millennium Fund. Three years ago the area was in such an appalling condition that people had stopped visiting.  As local residents we decided to try and clear the area and seafront.

“We started with 8 volunteers and now there are 20 of us.  Regardless of the weather, we meet every Tuesday and do whatever work is necessary to keep the area accessible and make it a nice place for people to visit”.

Paul Hill, Head of Grants and Programmes at ECF, said, “Canvey Bay Watch is a wonderful example of community spirit.  It is fantastic to see local people coming together to improve the place they live and the makeover of the Bay is truly outstanding.”.

If you are a community organisation or voluntary group in need of funding to support your work, call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018.