Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Golfers support ECF and local charities

19th June 2015

The sun shone on 76 golfing enthusiasts who travelled from across Essex and beyond to take part in ECF's annual charity golf day at Chelmsford Golf Club. 

The day was organised by former ECF Trustee, Carole Golbourn and her husband Alan.  This was the 7th year that they have organised the golf day to raise awareness of ECF’s work and to date the event has raised nearly £50,000 to support to local charities.  

The immaculate course provided the 19 teams that took part with an enjoyable challenge.  It was a close finish for the top three teams coming in within a point of each other. 

This year's winning team was: David Archibald, Kathryn Archibald, Stewart Smith and David Manners (88 points)

In 2nd place was:  Robin Moser, John Burgess, John Ashworth, and Frank Bengsten (87 points)

In 3rd place was: Terry Jones, Andy Arthur, Paul Clouting and Colin Taylor (86 points)

Nearest the Pins were won by Mark Smith and Walter Scott who were both from the Wilkin & Sons team.  Stuart Macaulay won Nearerst the Line. Corporate teams taking part included 7iM, AW Squier Ltd, Birkett Long, Birketts, Callaway & Sons, Coutts, B R Pope & Co, E Schwier & Sons Ltd, Ellisons, LB Group, Provide and Sirgan Ltd.

To view and download the photos from the day click here.

Next year's event will be held on Thursday 16 June 2016.  The number of teams is limited to 21 so please e-mail Jo Murphy if you would like to reserve a team place for next year.  

Centre is a “haven” for local people

10th June 2015

In Rayleigh The Todman Centre, a much-valued resource for older people, was saved from the threat of closure in 2013 as a result of a concerted community effort.

It is now taking on a new lease of life and ECF recently awarded a grant of £6,000 to help with renovation work at the centre.

The Todman Centre, given as a gift to the community in the 1960s, had from the outset been providing a place for elderly people to come and have lunch. It was originally run under the charity name of Rayleigh Urban District Old People’s Welfare Association.

A drop in the number of people attending and funding cuts led to financial difficulties and the centre almost closed in 2013. A group of volunteers from local churches and the trustees of the centre met to try to find a way to keep the centre open with the help of RRAVS (Rayleigh and Rochford Association of Voluntary Services). RRAVS administered the centre until October 2103, when the new committee took over.

Under the new management committee, the charity updated its name to Rayleigh Age Concern. Fully run by 23 dedicated volunteers, the centre has not only started to thrive again, providing the much appreciated lunches for older people, but other organisations are using the resources the centre has to offer. Vital renovation work has now started at the centre and the grant from ECF will help with the cost of electrical rewiring.

Bryan Chapman, volunteer manager at the Todman Centre said: “The centre couldn’t run without the dedication of our volunteers and the support we have had from the community.

“The benefits for the elderly people who come here are plain to see. It gives them a new lease of life, giving them a chance to mix with others, stay connected with people and have a hot meal.

“Some of them would not see anyone at all during the week if they didn’t come here. The fact that transport is provided for them is so important. The centre is definitely meeting a need in the community and the grant from ECF has given us a sound base for the renovation work we need to carry out.”

People who attend the lunch club at the Todman Centre have nothing but praise for it and their appreciation is summed up by 81-year-old Emily H. from Rayleigh who said: “Coming to the lunch club has made a big impact on my life. It gets me out of the house and it’s nice to meet different people. It gives me something to look forward to. The meals are lovely and affordable and always tasty. The staff are very friendly and helpful.”

Her feelings are echoed by 90-year-old Dennis B. from Hullbridge who said: “The centre is a haven for elderly people, it gives you the chance to have a cup of tea and a chat and an excellent cooked dinner. May the centre continue doing this good work.”

Hitting the high notes

10th June 2015

Will Foster from St Margaret’s Road, Chelmsford, is hitting the high notes as an exceptional young musician.

He was appointed as an organ scholar at St Mary’s Church in Maldon when he was only 15 and now, aged 17, he is the assistant organist at the church and is looking forward to his first solo recital in July, as part of the Maldon Arts Festival.

Will, a student at KEGS in Chelmsford, has been given three-year-funding totalling £4,000 by ECF through the Belinda Starling Memorial Fund, to help him develop his outstanding musical talent.

The fund was set up in Belinda Starling’s memory, after she died aged 34 following a routine operation.  Belinda, who lived in Wivenhoe, was passionate about music and the arts and the fund helps young people achieve their ambitions, particularly in those fields.

Will was a chorister at Chelmsford Cathedral for seven years and became head chorister, leaving when his voice broke.

The Assistant Director of Music at the Cathedral says William was an exceptional chorister and as an organist, he shows outstanding potential with skills well beyond his age and experience.

He believes William is capable of winning a major scholarship to Oxford or Cambridge or a music conservatoire saying: “He has the ‘magic ingredients’ for doing so, natural talent coupled with a capacity for hard work and someone who is able to strive for perfection in what he does”.

William was brought to the attention of St Mary's when they contacted the Cathedral when they were short of an organist.  Despite his young age, he was recommended and St Mary's recognised his potential.  They offered him the chance to be an organ scholar under their Director of Music and this year he was appointed as assistant organist at the church.

The funding from ECF is paid to St Mary’s Music Guild for Will’s organ lessons, music purchase, specific course fees and transport to and from St Mary’s, Maldon.

Will said: “I have enjoyed a whole range of opportunities to develop my musical skills, owing to the generosity of the Belinda Starling Memorial Fund.  I have attended the Organ Scholarships Open Day at Oxford University and have been given the opportunity to meet well-known musicians at Oxford.

“In July, I will be performing my first solo recital, as part of the Maldon Festival of Arts. This is an incredible opportunity to develop my recital skills, something which I would normally not be able to develop, as the vast majority of my organ playing is accompanying.

“I also had the chance to visit an organ workshop in Hey Orgelbau in Germany. It was a brilliant opportunity to learn more about the instrument and to experience playing a different style of instrument.

“This year, I have been fortunate enough to get more experience, both with the annual performance of the St John Passion at Easter and with Handel’s Messiah before Christmas. I have also had plenty of opportunities to conduct the choir and have been able to take more rehearsals, which gives great experience in how to direct a choir.

“All in all, being assistant organist at St Mary’s Maldon continues to be an invaluable experience, through all the fantastic opportunities that are being given to me. I am exceptionally grateful to the Belinda Starling Memorial Fund for this opportunity.”

Caroline Taylor, deputy chief executive at ECF said: “The majority of our grants are given to local voluntary organisations, but through a small number of the funds we manage, we can give grants to individuals who need financial help, so that they can achieve their true potential.

“We are delighted that the funding we have been able to give Will through the Belinda Starling Memorial Fund is helping him with his musical ambitions and we look forward to watching his progress.”

Abberton Scheme Fund Finale

4th June 2015

A community orchard, equipment for a toddler group, lighting for an amateur theatre company and transport services for elderly people are among the projects which received support from the Abberton Scheme Neighbourhood Fund, set up with ECF nearly a decade ago. 

The Fund was set up by Essex & Suffolk Water with ECF in 2006.  Since then, grants totalling more than £20,000 have been awarded to charities and organisations in the areas where work on the Abberton Reservoir expansion scheme was carried out. 

Small grants were available for projects that met the criteria of protecting the environment, promoting health and well-being, education or community support.

Now the £150 million reservoir scheme, which was recently filled to its new storage capacity of 41 billion litres of water, has been completed and a wide range of community groups and organisations in the areas affected by the scheme have benefited from financial help.

Sarah Pinkerton, Partnerships Manager at Essex & Suffolk Water said: “The completion of the project is a huge achievement.  As well as expanding the reservoir, the project included the installation of two new pipelines to increase a sustainable supply of water for the dry county of Essex for the future.

“From the beginning, we were determined to support the communities affected by the reservoir expansion and working with ECF enabled us to ensure the support we were offering really made a difference at a grassroots level.

“Essex & Suffolk Water has a long heritage of more than 150 years and we strongly believe that we have a duty to support and enhance communities where we do business.

“We are very pleased that we have been able to give valuable support through the Abberton Scheme Neighbourhood Fund to many voluntary and community organisations in the areas affected by and close to the reservoir works.

“Women’s Institutes, cricket clubs, churches, pre-schools and village hall committees were among those who successfully applied for funding and a wide range of community projects were given the support they needed.”

Sir David Attenborough officially opened the Abberton Scheme on 3 June and he welcomed the vital new water resource which has also transformed the site into a spectacular natural wetland, leaving a legacy to be enjoyed by future generations.  

He said, "I can remember a time when nature conservation and development were seen to be in opposition - you either developed or conserved - and that led to confrontation. Here at Abberton Reservoir this is fundamentally, extraordinarily and wonderfully different.  

"This development has been constructed hand-in-hand to create a wonderment for people and wildlife who live and visit here and a godsend for people who depend on it for water."

The Abberton Scheme Neighbourhood Fund has also left a lasting legacy, helping voluntary and charitable groups to grow and flourish.

Although the Abberton Scheme Neighbourhood Fund has now come to an end, Essex & Suffolk Water will continue its support of local voluntary organisations through the Essex & Suffolk Water Community Fund which was established with ECF in 2003 and to date has distributed grants totalling nearly £70,000.

For more information or to apply for a grant call ECF’s grants team on 01245 356018.

Abberton Reservoir

Abberton Reservoir is important to wildlife and wildfowl and has some of the highest environmental protection designations including, Ramsar site and SSSI status as well as being a Special Protection Area.

The site is internationally important for dabbling ducks, such as Shoveler and Teal. The enhancement project has increased the amount of shallow water habitat crucial for these birds and also the waders that frequent the reservoir.

Essex & Suffolk Water has enlarged Abberton Reservoir by 58 per cent and the additional water will bolster supplies to the Chelmsford, Basildon, Brentwood, Southend and Thurrock areas and also to the London boroughs of Barking, Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge.

The project began construction in 2010 and the major works were completed last year.

Heidi Mottram OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Essex & Suffolk Water said: "we are immensely proud of our partnership with Essex Wildlife Trust.

"Never before has a partnership scheme like this not only created a bigger reservoir with 60 per cent more water available securing supplies for years to come and also enhanced a site of international importance which is even better for wildlife now than it was before,"

To listen to comments by Sir David and others involved with the Abberton Scheme click here.