Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Grants flow into local community

15th December 2016

Seven voluntary organisations will get an early Christmas gift as they receive news of a funding boost from the Essex & Suffolk Water Community Fund.

A charity founded and managed by women, working with ethnic minority women and their families is among the voluntary organisations to receive support.

In the latest round of allocations from the fund, which is managed by Essex Community Foundation, a total of £7,403 has been awarded to charities and voluntary organisations in Essex, Suffolk and East London.

One of the charities to receive support from the fund is the Somali Women’s Association, which provides free information, advice and support and user led wellness café for all women and their families from communities who live, work or study in the Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge. Over the last 20 years more than 7,000 women have received support, help, training and advice from the Association.

Zahra Ibrahim from the Barking & Dagenham Somali Women’s Association said, “We have been given funding of £1,363, to purchase three PCs and software for an ICT hub within our Community Wellness Café supporting women in East London.
“This is a fantastic boost for our facility and will help us to help others make informed choices, maintain good health and achieve their potential, regardless of their health, education and social circumstance.”

The North East Suffolk Citizens Advice Bureau which has been supporting the community in Lowestoft for the last 50 years has been awarded a grant of £1,395.

Janet John from North East Suffolk Citizens Advice Bureau said, “We are very pleased and thankful for the contribution towards the development of a Training Suite and Financial Capability Training for volunteers at the Bureau.’’

Fresh Start New Beginnings which began in 2013 to provide a therapeutic service to child victims of sexual abuse, that is tailored to their unique individual needs, was awarded a grant of £1,000.

Diana Porter from Fresh Start said, “Our charity aims to help such children and young people overcome their trauma and confusion by helping them understand what has happened to them, giving them tools to overcome difficulties and teaching them to identify their strengths and potential.’’

The grant will help provide therapeutic items like new anatomical dolls, play sand, modelling clay, and other materials that are suitable for small children to express their feelings and to help them tell staff about their traumas during support sessions in Suffolk.

Other organisations to benefit from grants are:

• Hullbridge Senior Citizens Welfare Council - £500 towards work required to improve the water supply at a community centre
• 3rd Chalkwell Bay Sea Scout Group - £2,500 towards the purchase of a new sailing boat .
•Eye Opportunity Group - £245 towards summer holiday activities for  families with pre-school children who have additional needs
•Dial Lowestoft & Waveney - £400 to fund the equipment of a charity supporting disabled people in Lowestoft & Waveney

Essex & Suffolk Water established their Community Fund with Essex Community Foundation in 2003 to give support to a wide range of local projects and organisations now and in the future.

Grant applications are considered by an employee committee and projects given support must be related to either the environment, health and well-being or community support.

Sarah Pinkerton, Head of External Communications at Essex & Suffolk Water said, “Water is one of the most important commodities in our lives and we are very aware of the essential service we offer to our customers.

“Working and serving our communities on a daily basis, we strive to make a positive contribution and our long standing partnership with  Essex Community Foundation is one of the ways we endeavour to this. The grants are supporting seven amazing organisations in our region and I hope that this funding  will give them a real boost to help them continue their fantastic and much needed work.”

About Essex & Suffolk Water

Essex & Suffolk Water is part of Northumbrian Water Group (NWG). NWG contains Northumbrian Water, which serves 2.7 million people in the north with water and sewerage services, and Essex & Suffolk Water, which provides 1.8 million people in the south with water services.

NWG is the only water company in the world to be included in the World’s Most Ethical Company® list. It is also just one of four UK-based companies and 130 companies worldwide recognised in the 2016 list by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.

The company was also awarded its second Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2014 for sustainable development. The award is accredited for five years and highlighted the water company’s commitment to sustainable development through enlarging Abberton Reservoir to secure waters supplies for the future.

Surviving Winter Appeal

12th December 2016

There may not be snow on the ground, but the winter months, with shorter days and dark evenings can leave many elderly and vulnerable people, feeling lonely and isolated in their homes. 

Essex Community Foundation (ECF) is once again running its Surviving Winter Appeal to support voluntary and community organisations that help older and vulnerable people stay warm and well and feel less isolated during the winter months.

The appeal is part of a national campaign run by Community Foundations across the country each year. 

As the winter progresses and donations are received, grants will be distributed by ECF.  Voluntary organisations that support to vulnerable and elderly people are being invited to apply for funding to help them increase their services or continue providing support and activities during the winter months.

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive said: “There may not be snow on the ground yet, but the winter months can leave many elderly and vulnerable people feeling lonely and isolated in their homes.

“It is at times like these that voluntary and community organisations really come into their own, providing vital help, support and social activities and a warm and welcoming environment, which ensures that elderly and vulnerable people keep warm and well during the winter months.”

ECF is an independent charity which promotes philanthropy and distributes grants from the funds it manages.  Since ECF launched its first Surviving Winter Appeal in the winter of 2010/11 almost £100,000 has been raised thanks to the generous support of local people and this money has been distributed locally to voluntary and community organisations.

As a result, more than 2,500 vulnerable and elderly people have been given the extra support they need to help see them through the winter.

The Surviving Winter Appeal began as a way for generous pensioners to donate their Winter Fuel payments to those in need.  It is now open to anyone who wants to help support elderly and vulnerable people during the winter.

To Give:

• Send a cheque to Essex Community Foundation, 121 New London Road, Chelmsford, CM2 0QT

• Transfer via BACS - call 01245 355947 for details.

• Donate online, here

New Annual Review Available

12th December 2016

Our latest Annual Review, grant supplement and our Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016 are now all available for you to view online.

To view the documents, please click here.

If you are inspired by what you have read and what Essex Community Foundation is doing in helping people who want to give locally and charities that are seeking funding, please tell others about us.

If you would like to receive a copy of these documents by post, please e-mail Kate Cornish at

ECF Members elect new trustees

12th December 2016

We're delighted to welcome Russell Edey and Tom Nutt as two new trustees to the Foundation. Russell Edey and Tom Nutt were put forward for election by members to the Board and voted in at our 2016 AGM.

Please find more information below.

Mr Russell Edey

Russell Edey was raised and educated in South Africa.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

He worked in finance for Anglo America Corporation of South Africa in Johannesburg and Melbourne, Australia.  He then worked in Australia for a leading investment bank before joining N.M. Rothschild & Sons Ltd in London, where he became a Managing Director, Head of Corporate Finance, and finally non-executive Deputy Chairman. 

He has been a non-executive director of a number of quoted and unquoted companies including Paris Orleans S.A., AngloGold Ashanti (Chairman) and Old Mutual.  He has served on and chaired Audit and Remuneration Committees.

He is currently Chair of Avocet Mining Plc, and a non-executive director of BlackRock World Mining Trust and Genesis Emerging Markets Fund.

Russell has been a founding trustee of The British Lung Foundation, a trustee of The New Shakespeare Company and The Marks Hall Trust and on the Council of Anglia Polytechnic University.

He and his wife, Celia, have lived in Coggeshall, Essex since 1978.


Dr Tom Nutt

Tom Nutt is Chief Executive of Healthwatch Essex, an award-winning charity that seeks to improve NHS and social care services through undertaking research and public engagement around people’s experience of care.

Healthwatch Essex also provides an Information Service to help people access and understand the NHS and care services within the county.

Previously, Tom held a number of policy-related roles at Essex County Council, including Head of Voluntary Sector Relations. Prior to that, Tom was an academic historian based at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he lectured and published on aspects of British socio economic and demographic history, including the history of the family and the history of social welfare.

Applications invited for grants to help people get back to work

2nd December 2016

People who have mental health problems will have the chance to rebuild their lives and get back into employment thanks to grants given by the Coombewood Amenity Fund.

Voluntary and community organisations helping people who are recovering from mental health problems to find work in the South of Essex are being invited to apply to the fund which is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The Coombewood Amenity Fund supports organisations giving practical help to people who want to improve their chances of returning to work. Since it was established in 2003, 20 voluntary and community organisations have received grants with the amount awarded now totalling over £115,000.

Previous grants from the fund include the Growing Together project run by Trust Links. The organisation was awarded £6,000 towards the cost of employing a Training and Employment Support Worker to help adults with mental health problems.  This offered them a chance to work in the organisation’s Therapeutic Garden as a way of improving their health, confidence and social skills.

Brentwood Community Print have received a grant of £9,700 from the fund, allowing them to set up a peer mentoring project to help new people joining the community interest company to build up their confidence and skills. They work together to produce high quality print at competitive prices, providing a valuable service to the community as well as allowing people to move forward with their recovery. 

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF, said “This fund is a vital source for organisations who are helping those with mental health problems regain employment and we are delighted that it has already benefited so many people.

“We would like to hear from organisations working in Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend and Thurrock. Grants can be awarded to fund training, to improve educational skills and personal development, and to build confidence with the aim of helping people get back to work”.

To apply, click here. The deadline for applications is 31 January 2017. 

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

ECF appoints new Head of Programmes

2nd December 2016

Essex Community Foundation (ECF) has appointed Paul Hill as its new Head of Grants and Programmes.

ECF is a leading independent charitable trust which manages funds on behalf of a wide range of donors and distributes around £2.5 million in grants annually to Essex-based community and voluntary organisations. 

Paul’s new role will involve leading the Foundation’s grantmaking and programmes.  He will also be working with the public, private and voluntary sector to highlight the needs in Essex and increase ECF’s profile as one of the county’s leading independent funding organisations. 

Paul, who was previously Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Essex County Fire & Rescue Service, has been a champion of community-led services for many years. He has headed strategic collaborative forums and has recently steered the combination of seven charities in Essex.
Paul has also volunteered for a number of charities to improve the health, safety and welfare for Essex residents over the past 20 years.

He said, “I am thrilled to have joined Essex Community Foundation and look forward to working alongside the voluntary sector in Essex and helping the Foundation to develop its grantmaking and programmes work”.

ECF currently manages 133 named charitable funds on behalf of individuals, families, companies and public agencies and has grown its endowment fund to £32 million.

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive at ECF said, “I am delighted that Paul has joined the team.  His passion for Essex and its needs, his expertise and strategic skills make him the ideal person to lead on our grantmaking“.

If you would like to get in touch with Paul, please call 01245 356018 or email

Funding Phone-In Surgery

2nd December 2016

Are you a voluntary or community organisation working in Harlow or Epping Forest and do you need funding?

If so, Essex Community Foundation will be holding a phone-in funding surgery to help you identify if there is support available for your work and talk you through the process of applying for grants.

This phone-in event will be held on Wednesday 14 December between 10am and 12 noon

Please call us on 01245 356018.

Members of the ECF grants team, Fran and Jill, will be on hand to talk with you about your work and discuss your funding options.

Conversations will initially be allocated a 10 minute appointments.  If further information is required we will arrange a time to call you back. If you cannot get through on the day, please leave a message with your name, the organisation you are calling from and a number that we can contact you on.   We will return your call as soon as possible.