Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Surviving Winter Appeal

18th December 2013


We are grateful to our media partner, Essex Chronicle, for highlighting the issues that the Winter poses for elderly and vulnerable people in our communities. Stories include:

  • the importance of local lunch clubs, which provide a warm welcome and friendship as well as hot food. 
  • how local communities are responding to the rise in homelessness.
  • Village Agents provide a helping hand
  • the value that rural transport offers to villagers
  • why a community cafe in Highwood near Chelmsford is a lifeline for local people

Four voluntary and community organisations working at the heart of local communities have received a total of £4,987 in grant funding from the Surviving Winter Appeal to help provide additional hot meals, food parcels and extra transport services to local vulnerable and elderly residents this winter.

The Surviving Winter Appeal was launched by Essex Community Foundation in November 2013 and raises money to help older and vulnerable people stay warm and well through the winter.  This year’s Appeal has had a good start and warm-hearted people in the county have already made donations that ECF have used to support elderly and vulnerable people. 

As temperatures start to fall and heating costs start to rise, hundreds of elderly and other vulnerable people are in danger of succumbing to life-threatening conditions caused by the cold and thousands more could be isolated in their homes.

Caroline Taylor, programmes director at ECF said: “We are very grateful to the generous people who have made donations to start off this year’s Surviving Winter Appeal.  We have been able to award grants to four organisations that will now be able to offer extra support to their members over the winter months.  We are also working with Age UK Essex to provide direct support to elderly and vulnerable individuals."

To support the Appeal you can donate

Grants Awarded

Lee Chapel North Holiday Club 
Received £1,000 to provide 3 hot meals each week to 70 elderly people in north Basildon.

Family Support Clacton  
Received £1,000 to provide emergency food packs to elderly and vulnerable people housebound due to poor weather.

Wyvern Community Transport
Received £1,000 to provide an additional Saturday community transport service throughout the winter months.

Beacon House Ministries  
Received £1,987 to extend their opening hours during the coldest winter months to help vulnerable people in Colchester.


In Essex it is estimated that around 600 people die each year because of cold weather and poor living conditions.  There are 250,000 people aged 65 and over in Essex and they are particularly at risk during the winter, as 90 per cent of deaths at this time of year are in this age group.


If you are, or know somebody, who may be at risk this winter please contact Age UK Essex 01245 245455 for advice and support.

If you are a voluntary and community organisation helping vulnerable and elderly people and would like to discuss the possibility of a grant from the Surviving Winter Appeal please contact the Grants Team 01245 356018.

Sports Matched Fund Challenge Now On!

17th December 2013

AN exciting new fund is being launched with a £25,000 match-funding challenge to help and inspire people across Essex to take part in every kind of sport.

The initiative is the brainchild of businessman and entrepreneur Peter Butler and his lifelong friend, Joe Sims, who have teamed up with Essex Community Foundation (ECF) to establish the fund, with the aim of distributing grants to individuals and voluntary organisations to make sport flourish at grassroots level around the county.

Peter, who lives in Chelmsford, founded the Essex and Southend Sports Trust (EASST) in 2002.  Since it was set up, the Trust has made more than £800,000 of grants to improve sports facilities and equipment, help talented youngsters in Essex and encourage disabled people to compete in sport at the highest levels.

Now, Peter and his fellow trustees have set their sights on expanding the support given to sporting activities in Essex by launching the new fund, managed by ECF, called the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund, with a generous donation of £25,000, which will be used to match other donations, on a £1 for £1 basis.

The challenge is now on for ECF to encourage local people and companies who are interested in providing grassroots sporting opportunities across the county, to contribute to the fund and boost the amount available for distribution.

Grants will be given through the new fund to talented individuals and to voluntary and community organisations in Essex in an all-encompassing bid to encourage sport and make it more accessible to everyone.
Peter said, “I am immensely proud of being from Essex and I want to see more and more of our young people participating in sport and having access to quality facilities and equipment.

“The trustees are very excited about this new sports fund with ECF.  The matched funding, added to monies donated from EASST, means that we will be able to make more grants to more Essex applicants, to help talented Essex youngsters develop their sporting skills and encourage everyone to get more involved in sporting events.”

A lifelong Southend United and Essex County cricket enthusiast, Peter was born and bred in the Southend area and played football for Old Southendians for nearly 40 years.

Joe Sims was born and bred in Shoeburyness and is also is a lifelong supporter of Southend United and Essex County Cricket Club.  He ran his own London based Graphic Design company for over 30 years and first met Peter in 1968 when they were both invited to join the Southend United Programme Committee; Peter as a journalist/editor and Joe as the programme designer. 

After a London-based business career spanning 40 years Peter has been able to devote more time to the activities of Essex and Southend Sports Trust (EASST).  He established the trust in 2002 and chairs the trustee board which consists of his wife Linley, a sports loving New Zealander, and Joe.

EASST has over £3.5 million of permanent endowment funds, the income from which is used to fund charitable grants relating to sport in Essex and Southend with particular emphasis on cricket and football.
Now, through the new fund with ECF, sports of all kinds in Essex will be given backing.

Lisa Renton, development director of ECF said, “We are delighted to link with Peter and his fellow trustees from EASST to launch this new fund and to set the match funding challenge.
“The combined strengths of ECF and EASST, coupled with the enthusiasm and generosity of people in Essex, will mean that we can reach into the heart of the community to support and encourage a wide diversity of sport at a local level, so that everyone can take part and reach their full potential.”

To make a donation please send a cheque made payable to Essex Community Foundation, to 121  New London Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 0QT, stating it is for the Essex Sports Fund.

Sport Relief Awards Grant

4th December 2013

Blackwater Barracudas are celebrating after receiving £2,000 from Sport Relief to help them provide swimming for people with disabilities and those recovering from accidents, strokes or major surgery.

Established in 1992 Blackwater Barracudas, Maldon provides weekly swimming classes in exclusive and private sessions for disabled people, people with learning difficulties and their carer’s.

One of the main issues for many disabled people is the inadequate facilities or the fear of embarrassment at swimming in public sessions. 

Thanks to a grant from Sport Relief members of Blackwater Barracudas can continue to exclusively use the Maldon Leisure Pool where they are supported by a specially trained physiotherapist and lifeguard to ensure members get the most out of their sessions. The physiotherapist has been involved with the club for a number of years and helps the members through gentle aqua aerobic sessions and mobility exercises. 

There are proven therapeutic benefits of swimming and exercise in water for those with restricted mobility, but it is not all about swimming as the club has started to see the additional social benefits and friendship between members.  A Christmas lunch is now part of their activities and they also hold a Quiz Night which offers additional opportunities for members many of whom live on their own, to meet and socialise.

If you are interested in applying for a Comic Relief grant please visit our grant pages.