Essex Community Foundation

News archive

High Sheriff Invites Applications

13th October 2016

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

Grants of up to £1,000 are available from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and the money will be awarded to groups working to make their communities safer.

The High Sheriff’s Awards Scheme also gives recognition to individuals who have gone above and beyond to make their area a safer place to live and work.

Projects which have received grants previously include garden maintenance schemes for elderly residents to reduce incidence of burglary, anti-social behaviour reduction initiatives, women’s refuge organisations and neighbourhood watch schemes.

The deadline date for applications and nominations is 1 December, so now is the time for organisations to take up the opportunity to apply for a grant.

High Sheriff of Essex, Lorna Rolfe said:  “The annual High Sheriffs’ Awards provide a fantastic opportunity to recognise the valuable contribution that voluntary organisations make in keeping their local communities safe from crime.  I urge organisations to recognise this opportunity and apply for funding so they can further bolster 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 2017.

The historic role of a High Sheriff is to promote law and order in the county and it also now encompasses giving recognition and reward to those who help promote community spirit.

Since it came under ECF’s management in 1997, the High Sheriff’s Fund has distributed 559 grants totalling more than £458,000 to voluntary and community organisations which are all dedicated to addressing crime related issues in their area and supporting local people.

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 endowed 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 2016.  

To read the Fund Application Guidelines, click here.

To apply click here

For any support with your application, please call the grants team on 01245 356018.

Healthy support for local charities

10th October 2016

A healthy injection of grant funding totaling almost £90,000 has been given by the Provide Foundation to projects aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people in Essex.

The funds were presented at a special awards ceremony held at The Lion in Hatfield Peverel and the money was shared between 20 voluntary and community organisations for health-related projects. 

A organisation providing respite for carers, a group helping people who have experienced sexual violence and a lunch club for pensioners which offers companionship and helps to reduce isolation, were among those receiving grants.

There was a top award of £20,000 which was presented to Action for Family Carers based in Maldon and working across Essex.  A further award of £10,000 was awarded to CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse) in Colchester.  The remaining 18 organisations all received grants and donations ranging from £1,000 to £5,000.

Provide is a community interest company (CIC) which delivers a wide range of community health services in Essex, as well as in outer North East London, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.  It allocated the awards from the Provide Foundation, an endowed fund which the organisation established with Essex Community Foundation (ECF) in 2012.

Derrick Louis, Chairman of Provide said:  “We are delighted that by giving these annual awards, this year totaling almost £90,000, we can support community schemes and projects which are making great strides to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Essex.

“Listening to people talk about their work is both inspiring and humbling.  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 recognise 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.”

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “The awards provide a wonderful opportunity for local voluntary and community organisations to share their work with other members of the voluntary sector as well as Provide staff and members. 

There is such a wide range of voluntary work going on in local communities, carried out by dedicated and determined staff and volunteers. This gives them the recognition they deserve and helps them to continue and expand their health-related work.

“It is great that Provide recognises the value of work offered by voluntary organisations which makes such a contribution to the health and wellbeing of people in Essex.  It means that local people can access extra help and support in addition to the services offered by established health providers.”

As an independent charitable trust, ECF is able to 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.

To view a full list of grants awarded, click here.

To view photographs from the event, click here

Do the Honours for Essex

10th October 2016

People in Essex who have made an outstanding contribution to the local community could be in line for honours from the Queen.

The call is going out for the unsung heroes and heroines of the county to be nominated for an award.

Lord Petre, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, made the call for action at the “Do The Honours For Essex” event, held at Chelmsford City Racecourse, to raise the profile of the national honours and encourage nominations.

Guests included representatives from many voluntary groups across Essex.  Speaking at the event, Lord Petre, who is the Queen’s representative in the County and Patron of Essex Community Foundation (ECF) who supported the event, said:

“It’s so important to recognise the great contribution people make in their communities. We want to increase the number of honours awarded to people who make such a difference to the lives of others.”

“There were 47 honours awarded to people in the county this year. That may seem quite a lot, but Essex has a population of nearly 1.7 million and there are some 10,000 voluntary groups in Essex, so there must be many more people out there who deserve an award.”

Lord Petre emphasised that making a nomination is straightforward process.  Honours are decided by a Whitehall honours committee.  Their decisions go to the Prime Minister and then to the Queen, who awards the honour.

Val Villa, who was awarded an MBE this year for her dedicated community work in the Chelmsford area, including involvement with the Galleywood Heritage Centre, the WI and Ladies Circle, said that she was absolutely stunned when she heard that she was to receive an honour.

“I just didn’t believe it.  I had to run for my glasses to make sure it was my name on the letter.  Then I just sat down and cried.  It has meant so much to me especially when people have said it was well deserved.”

Other guests at the reception included Essex High Sheriff Lorna Rolfe and Essex County Council Chairman Cllr John Aldridge.

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF, which works with voluntary organisations across the county, backed the call for people to make nominations.

“Through our work we know that such a wide range of good work going on in Essex to improve the lives of people in the county. 

“What many people don’t realise is that anyone can receive an award and it’s usually because they’ve made life better for other people or they are outstanding at what they do.

“We would urge everyone to nominate people who are champions in their community.” 

Information about honours nominations can be found online at

To view the photos, click here.

Honours Overview

The honours system recognises merit and service to communities or to the nation. There are several different types of award, each one recognising a different type of contribution.

Honours lists are published twice a year, at New Year and in mid-June on the date of the Queen's official birthday. Anyone can receive an award and anyone can make a nomination.

Types of honours

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
This is awarded for having a prominent but lesser role at national level, or a leading role at regional level. You can also get one for a distinguished, innovative contribution to any area.

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
This is awarded for having a major local role in any activity, including people whose work has made them known nationally in their chosen area.

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
This is awarded for a significant achievement or outstanding service to the community. An MBE is also awarded for local ‘hands-on’ service which stands out as an example to other people.

British Empire Medal (BEM)
Reintroduced in 2012, this rewards a sustained, local contribution or innovative, high-impact work of a relatively short duration (e.g. 3 to 4 years).

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
This is the highest award given to local voluntary groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities.

ECF welcomes new team members

9th October 2016

We are pleased to welcome two new members to the ECF team. Lisa Green joins us as our new Fund & Programmes Administrator. She comes from a strong administrative background, having previously worked at a number of organisations including Action for Children and the Royal British Legion. She will be supporting the Grants team in processing applications and managing the distribution of grants.

Kate Cornish comes from a top London PR agency and joins us as Marketing and Communications Assistant. She will be working alongside Jo Murphy on all aspects of the Foundation’s PR, marketing and events helping to increase the profile of ECF and publicise our work across the County.  

For details of the ECF team, click here