Essex Community Foundation

News archive

ECF appoints Deputy Chief Executive

17th June 2014

ECF is pleased to announce that Caroline Taylor, the Foundation's Programmes Director, has been appointed Deputy Chief Executive.

This new role will help ECF strengthen its research, strategic grantmaking and its work with fundholders and donors to ensure that it continues to be a leading grantmaker, supporting local voluntary organisations in Essex.

Since it was established in 1996, ECF has grown to be the second largest community foundation in the UK managing charitable funds on behalf of individuals, families, companies and public agencies who want to channel their giving locally.  ECF currently manages 100 named funds with a pooled investment value of nearly £30 million.

Caroline joined ECF in 2005 and was promoted to Programmes Director in 2008.  In that time she has led the strategic development of ECF's grants programmes, developing robust policies to ensure our grantmaking continues to meet local needs in the most effective way and achieves the aims of the Foundation’s fundholders. 

She has built strong relationships with the voluntary sector in Essex as well as the Foundation’s stakeholders and key influencers in the public and private sector in the county.  She also represents ECF at a national level working with UK Community Foundations to develop UK wide initiatives.

Caroline said:  “I am delighted to be appointed Deputy Chief Executive of ECF and I look forward to working with the Trustees, the Chief Executive and the team to develop the strong reputation that ECF has built over the past 18 years. 
“During my time at ECF I have seen the value that we bring to people who want to give and to voluntary organisations that need funding and support.  I am keen that we continue to build on our past experience, ensuring that our donors truly understand the benefit of giving through the Foundation and increasing our knowledge and understanding of the challenges that are being tackled by voluntary organisations in local communities.”

Minister endorses Community Foundations

9th June 2014

ECF has welcomed the comments made by Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, who has expressed his frustration at the low level of charitable giving that goes to smaller charities.

Mr Hurd was speaking recently at the House of Commons during a launch of a parliamentary report into growing charitable giving, and shared how "frustrating" it was that while the public is split 50/50 on wanting to donate to either "big brand" charities, or small charities, only 1 per cent of charitable funds go to small and local charities.   He went on to say how essential it was to connect people with the “joy of giving”, and that the happiest people in society gave back. Click here to read the full article.

ECF has distributed over 5,500 grants totalling £21 million to voluntary and community organisations working in Essex, Southend and Thurrock and our fundholders tell us that this provides them with a real sense of joy and a connection to their county.

If you would like to discuss how you ECF can help you or your company to support local charities, please contact ECF’s Development Director, Lisa Renton, on 01245 355947 or e-mail

New Fund to Support Essex Charities

9th June 2014

The Community Resilience Fund is being launched by public agencies in the county, with a £1 million donation from Essex County Council (ECC), along with support from Essex Police and Essex County Fire & Rescue Service.

The new endowed Fund will be managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and has been set up as part of the Whole Essex Community Budget programme which involves the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Cllr John Jowers, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Libraries Communities and Planning, said: “I am delighted that, by establishing this Fund, we have been able to find another way to contribute to communities and voluntary organisations in Essex. This is a strategic partnership between Essex County Council and other local public agencies in the County and I hope it will make a big difference to many people’s lives.”

The Community Resilience Fund will be invested to provide an ongoing annual grants programme to support voluntary groups and projects aimed at stimulating and strengthening community-led activity. The funding will help create extra opportunities for local organisations to grow and improve community resilience and independence. ECF will work with a panel of representatives from local charities and public agencies to identify and select priorities for funding. 

Caroline Taylor, Programmes Director at ECF, said, “The Foundation is delighted to be managing this charitable fund on behalf of the public agencies involved. This is a great resource for the voluntary sector in Essex as it builds on the energy of the partnership and gives organisations the opportunity to explore ideas and solutions to strengthen their communities.”

The Community Resilience Fund will complement the work of the Thriving Third Sector Fund which was established by ECC with ECF in 2009 with a donation of £2 million. The Foundation works with a panel of Charity Chief Executives, ECC, Essex Police and other partners to make decisions about how to invest grants annually.

Recent support from the Thriving Third Sector fund includes Colchester Community Voluntary Services (CVS), an umbrella organisation for the voluntary sector in Colchester, which received a grant for £58,000 to develop and expand an Essex-wide Community Accountancy Service.

Colchester CVS provided payroll, book-keeping and independent examination services, financial health check audits, training courses and workshops to about 60 voluntary and community groups across Essex. The grant enabled it to expand the service to a further 40 organisations, exceeding their income targets by 50 per cent.

Another group, Hythe Community Centre Association received just under £40,000 to develop collaborative working between four community centre associations in deprived wards of Colchester.

The aim of the project was to ensure sustainability of the individual associations by offering activities wanted by local people, increasing hall bookings, strengthening their management committees and running their centres more efficiently.

By the end of the project, the community associations had each developed a strategic vision for their centres, enabling them to successfully run their building as a major community resource. This resulted in shared costs and increased income and a greater understanding of what is happening at a local level across all of the centres.

For more information about the Community Resilience Fund and when grants will be available, please call the grants team on 01245 356018.

10 years of flowing support

8th June 2014

School holidays will be much more fun for young people attending the Lee Chapel North Holiday club thanks to a donation of £900 which will enable them to buy two air hockey tables. 

The club is one of six voluntary groups to benefit from grants totalling £3,782 awarded from the Essex & Suffolk Water Community Fund which has been giving support to good causes for 10 years.
The Fund is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

As well as the donation to the holiday club, other organisations to benefit in the latest round of grants from the fund include a Guide unit in South Woodham Ferrers, a Community Association in West Billericay and a club for people with breathing difficulties in Wickford.

The Fund was established with ECF in 2004 and over the past decade has distributed nearly 100 grants totalling £64,000 to local voluntary and community organisations working the areas which Essex & Suffolk Water serves.
Representatives from the organisations were presented with their donations at a special evening, held at the Museum of Power in Langford near Maldon which celebrated 10 years of grant giving from the Essex & Suffolk Water Community Fund to charities and local voluntary groups. 

Around 50 guests were at the event, including representatives from many of the organisations which had received grants in the past, together with staff and trustees from Essex & Suffolk Water and ECF.   Volunteers from the Museum were also on hand to talk about the history of the building, its restoration work and to give tours.

Louise Hunter, Director of Public Affairs for Essex & Suffolk Water said, “As a local company, we very much want to be an active participant in the communities we supply drinking water to, but we also need to know what the issues are and what local communities need.   Working with Essex Community Foundation has really helped us to make the best use of our resources.”

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of ECF said: “The Essex & Suffolk Water Community Fund is a great example of a local company making a long-term commitment to support voluntary and community organisations in the areas where it provides a service.

“This was one of the first corporate endowed funds to be established with ECF and shows how the Foundation can work with companies to help them channel their charitable giving into the heart of local communities.”

Milsoms Ride for Charity

6th June 2014

 Around 30 staff and friends of Milsom Hotels took part in the Group’s annual charity bike ride.  This year, monies raised were in aid of the Milsom Charitable Fund which supports local charities.

Donations totalling £1,500 were raised by the cyclists and Milsom Hotels generously matched this with a further donation of £1,500.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t at its best, but it didn’t deter the team as they set off from Milsoms in Dedham for either a 20 or 30 mile route circular route out to the Tendring Peninsular and almost to Harwich. Thankfully, when they returned to Dedham a well deserved lunch was waiting for them at the Maison Talbooth.

The two latest grants to be awarded from the Milsom Charitable Fund are:

  • The Ark Resource Centre which received £1,684 to help vulnerable parents and children in the Harwich area, and
  • Teen Talk Harwich which received £1,000 to buy materials and equipment for an 'edible' gardening project for young people and their families.

Paul Milsom, Managing Director of Milsom Hotels said, “The bike ride has become an annual event in the Milsom Hotels & Restaurant calendar and it’s a great way for us to bring together staff from all of our venues, and friends, in aid of a  good cause.  Through the Milsom Charitable Fund we are able to support some of the smaller, less well-known charities, which exist across Essex, and for whom a relatively small donation can go a very long way.”

Paul and his wife Geraldine, established their family named fund with ECF in 2007 in memory of Paul's father Gerald.  To date, the fund has distributed over £11,000 to support local charities and community organisations.