Essex Community Foundation

News archive

ECF Trustee is Pride of Essex

16th December 2014

Essex Community Foundation trustee Jason Bartella has been given high level recognition in the Pride of Essex Awards for his philanthropic work.

Jason was highly commended in the Community Champion category of the awards for the support and help he has given the community through his dedicated work for ECF and through the Bartella Charitable Fund.

The endowed fund, established with ECF by the Bartella family in 2003, has to date distributed almost £200,000 to voluntary organisations and charities in Essex, with a particular focus on vulnerable families and children. PARC Essex, which supports disabled children and their families and the Melbourne project, which works with disadvantaged people on the Melbourne estate in Chelmsford, are among the organisations to have received support from the fund.

Jason, managing director of the family business, Heritage Leisure Group, which includes the prestigious Pontlands Park Hotel near Chelmsford, was presented with his award at a ceremony held at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford.

The awards were launched 20 years ago by Susie Cornell MBE to give recognition to inspiring people who through their achievements make an outstanding contribution to the community. Jason’s proud family were at the ceremony to see him receive his well-deserved award. Other guests at the ceremony included rock star Rick Wakeman and Lord Petre, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, who is patron of ECF.

Afraid of Gift Aid?

14th December 2014

Recent research published by HM Revenue and Customs shows that donors are often put off allowing Gift Aid to be claimed on their donation because they believe that there will be a cost involved either to themselves or the charity.

This is actually not the case and charities can claim an additional 25% on all eligible gifts at no cost to the donor.

For a donation to be eligible the donor must have paid at least as much tax as the amount that we claim in Gift Aid on their behalf. All that is required is a simple signed declaration that includes the donor’s home address.

Further advantages can be obtained by higher rate taxpayers who can claim higher rate tax relief on the amount that a charity receives eg. 25% of £1,250. Following this example a gift of £1,000 can become £1,250 to the Foundation and will cost a higher rate taxpayer £687.50.  This is an increase of almost 82%!

So, next time you make a donation PLEASE remember to tick the Gift Aid box.

Charities benefit from unclaimed monies

14th December 2014

Firms of solicitors who want to solve the problem of what to do with money in their accounts that clients have left unclaimed can find a positive and practical solution through ECF.

The unclaimed balances can be channelled through ECF to give vital support to local organisations and charities working to make life better for people in Essex.

Several solicitors in the county have already taken the opportunity of transforming unclaimed balances into an asset for the community.

Now ECF is asking all firms of solicitors in the county to consider the same course of action.

Charles Latham, senior partner of Tolhurst Fisher LLP a leading firm of solicitors based in Southend and Chelmsford in Essex has no hesitation in recommending the solution offered by ECF.

He said:  “When I was asked by my senior accounts manager to give thought as to how we could deal with some of our unclaimed client balances I immediately thought of Essex Community Foundation.

“Most of our clients are locally based and I feel that they would think that in this case the money would be best kept in the community to support the many good causes fostered by the Essex Community Foundation.

“I would urge other firms of solicitors in the county to give serious consideration to using their unclaimed balances in this way.”

For more information contact Steve Mackenzie at ECF.

Young Talent Tipped for British Champion

12th December 2014

Talented 10-year-old ice skater Jasmine Cressey has had her wish come true in time for Christmas, thanks to a grant totalling £2,380 from Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Jasmine, from Felsted, a rising star who trains at the Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre in Chelmsford, has her sights set on skating in the Olympics in the future and the money will help her work towards achieving her dream.

The need for funding towards the high costs connected with her skating, including her training, was highlighted when Jasmine was featured in the Essex Chronicle.  ECF was able to respond by making allocations from three of the funds it manages, The Annabel and Gerald Malton Charitable Fund, the Young Sport Fund and matched funding from the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund.

Jasmine’s mum Michaella said : “I had the call from ECF to tell me how much the grant would be and I was speechless and stammered. I had to ask for it to be repeated, just in case I had heard wrong. Then I had to sit down promptly, as the amount is way more than I ever expected Jaz would receive.  I didn't have a particular amount in mind, but to be told that figure was incredible and surpassed any expectations I may have had.  “It is a huge contribution to her training and ancillary fees for the year and thank you just seems such a small gesture in comparison to the benefit she will gain from the funding. I am so grateful for this extraordinary support for Jasmine.”

Jasmine, who took up skating four years ago said: “Ice skating is the thing I love to do most in the world, it is my life, I can’t live without it.  I am so happy about the grant from ECF which I needed to help pay for my skating so that I can reach my glorious goal of being in the Olympics. It is my dream to skate for my country.  I am very dedicated to my sport and I train at Riverside, Chelmsford, at least eight times a week and sometimes I am on the ice at 6am. I am the youngest person ever to become a member of the GB training squad for ice-skating and I hope I will be British Champion in a few years. Also, I am tipped for the Olympics in 2022 and I am really excited about this.”

Jasmine’s coach John Wicker said: “Jasmine has extraordinary focus for such a young age and is very passionate in every aspect of her skating, dedicating many hours of time to her training. Looking to the future, I am confident that she will obtain the title of British Champion and will progress further to international competition and eventually the Olympics.”

Jasmine takes part in the Riverside Christmas ice show each year and is taking the part of one of the dwarves in Snow White which runs until December 22nd.

Caroline Taylor, deputy chief executive of Essex Community Foundation said: “At ECF we manage more than 100 funds and distribute grants to a wide range of voluntary organisations and community groups. Through a few of our funds we are able to make allocations to individuals and we are delighted that we have been able to give this support to Jasmine.

“Anyone who is interested in supporting aspiring young people to help achieve their sporting ambitions can contribute through ECF and we can match their contribution £1 for £1 from the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund.”