Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Local families to receive support

26th May 2017

Home-Start Essex has received £15,000 from the Chrysalis Fund towards their ‘Moving on up Together’ project.

This is a weekly group for parents who are socially isolated and struggle with low self-esteem and mood. A creche is provided which gives parents an opportunity for confidential group discussion.

The sessions also take an holistic approach, with a focus on art therapy, relaxation techniques, healthy eating advice and exercise.

ECF currently manages 140 named funds, all with different criteria. We are always pleased to discuss an application in advance of submission.  Please call the grants team on 01245 356018 or to apply, click here.

Mental health art group given funding boost

26th May 2017

A support group which provides art classes for people who are experiencing mental health issues has received a funding boost of £1,876.

Braintree Rethink Carers Support Group has been providing help to local people who suffer with a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia or personality disorders since 2008.  New members are welcomed regularly, but some have been attending for over 8 years.

The recent funding was awarded from Arthur J. Gallagher, insurance brokers based in Feering. The Arthur J. Gallagher Community Fund was established with Essex Community Foundation (ECF) in 2007.  Since then they have awarded nearly £14,000 in grants to support a wide range of local projects and voluntary organisations.

Trina Whittaker BEM, the art group Co-ordinator said, “There are a lot of holistic benefits associated with arts and crafts. We supply all the materials and provide our members with a warm and friendly environment where they can feel relaxed and safe and be with people who understand them.  They produce some amazing pieces of work and get a real boost when they see it displayed at the exhibitions we organise.

“For some of our members this class is the only time that they will meet other people during the week so the grant we have received from the Arthur J. Gallagher Community Fund is vital as it will help towards the cost of hiring the hall.”

Lyana Corbin is new to the art group after having a relapse in her mental health.  She said, “It’s really important that I have a weekly routine and attending this group once a week will help me to do that. I wouldn’t be creative like this at home and I find it calming to focus on drawing.

“Everyone is really friendly, but if you don’t want to talk you can just paint or draw so there isn’t any pressure.”

David Anderson, Regional Managing Director at Arthur J. Gallagher said, “We are passionate about supporting local people who work hard to improve their communities and address the needs they see around them”.
The Braintree Rethink Art Group meets every Tuesday, either from 1pm to 4pm or noon to 2pm. For more details call

For more information about applying for a grant, please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018.

County Council champions local causes

23rd May 2017

Local voluntary and community projects which provide support to the homeless, people with brain injuries, carers and work experience for vulnerable young people are among those who have been awarded funding in the latest round of grants from the Essex Millennium Fund and the Essex County Council’s Chairman’s Fund.

Grants totalling £62,365 were presented from the two funds to 22 Essex-based charities and voluntary organisations at a ceremony held at the Essex Record Office.

The funds, managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF), provide support for community and voluntary organisations whose good work enhances the lives of people living in Essex.

At the presentation event Cllr John Aldridge, Chairman of Essex County Council, commended the contribution these organisations make across the county. He said, “It is a privilege to be in the position where I can learn about the Essex voluntary sector and I can honestly say that my time spent visiting groups has been heart-warming.”

“I have been most encouraged to see local people coming together with a common aim of making their own community spaces a better place to live and work for all”.

The Essex Millennium Fund was established as an endowed fund within ECF by members of Essex County Council to celebrate the Millennium. The fund, which provides an annual income for a grants programme, distributes funds to voluntary and community groups working within four priority areas, carers, community support, enhancing the environment and young people. 

Supporting Carers and Families Together received £2,750 towards the annual salary of a Service Delivery Manager to work with young and adult carers in Rochford.  Andy Trewern, who works for the local charity, said “We have seen a surge in demand for our services over the last two years and we are extremely grateful for the grant we have been awarded from the Essex Millennium Fund. This funding means we can continue to support local carers, increase their confidence and make sure no-one feels like they are alone.”

The Chairman’s Fund was established with ECF in 2007 to support voluntary and community groups working to enrich the lives of people in their local communities through activities exploring culture and heritage.

Clacton VCH Group has been awarded a grant of £3,000 from the Essex County Council Chairman’s Fund towards their WWII history project.  Roger Kennell, the group’s Chairman said, “There are not many sources for young people, and those of all ages, to learn about the important role the volunteer soldiers of the Home Guard played in the War. This grant will help us to record this information and the defence sites they manned to make create a lasting source for local people. It is likely the last chance to honour the volunteers while some still survive.”

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF said:  “Funding is vital to community organisations and it is very gratifying to know that since these two Funds were established by the County Council, nearly £1.1 million in charitable grants has been injected into the local community and that this support will continue in perpetuity”.

For information about how to apply for a grant from ECF, please call the grants team on 01245 356018 to discuss your work.

To view a full list of grants awarded, click here

To view more photos, click here

Our 2017 Spring Receptions

5th May 2017

We were delighted to welcome 230 invited guests to this year's Spring Receptions held at Ingatestone Hall and Layer Marney Tower.

Our Chairman Jonathan Minter challenged guests to think about their giving, their experience of Essex and what kind of Essex they want the next generation to inherit? And, importantly, what more they could they do?

This year's speakers at Ingatestone Hall were, ECF Trustee and Fundholder, Peter Blanc and local charities City of Chelmsford Mencap and Southend Blind Welfare Organisation.

Peter explained how the Foundation has helped him and his wife, Sue, to see Essex from a different perspective. After visiting a number of local organisations and projects, Peter has learned how just a few hundred pounds can often make the difference between an organisation continuing its vital work or closing, leaving those who depend on its services at a loss. Peter and Sue look forward to engaging their children with ECF and the grantmaking from their Fund. In this way, they hope to increase their understanding about local issues and that not all children live in fortunate circumstances.

City of Chelmsford Mencap described the support they give to people with a learning disability. Sabine leads the Working Out Programme which helps students to increase their skills, confidence and move towards independent living. Michael, who has Down’s syndrome, explained how this programme allows him to be creative, learn to cook and meet new people.

David Hurst, Chairman of the Southend Blind Welfare Organisation (SBWO) spoke from the heart about how difficult it is to raise funds to enable them to continue supporting local people. What he had not appreciated, until he was involved with SBWO, was the importance of receiving grants for core costs. SBWO provides a range of activities and services forpeople who are blind or visually impaired, helping them to feel supported, safe and able to go on with their lives.

Our Layer Marney speakers were Fiona Ashworth, a solicitor with Colchester-based firm Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP) and Sonia Shaljean, the Founder of Lads Need Dads.

Fiona explained how being charitable and creating a lasting legacy is not just for those with a multi-million pound lifestyle, but is a rewarding way for many of us to make a real difference in our lifetime and beyond. Born and raised in Essex, Fiona is passionate about her county and has been involved with ECF for over 15 years, advising clients who want to do something to give back but are not quite sure what that is. The common perception is that large sums of money are needed to make a charity legacy worthwhile and really make a difference, however even small donations add up and do a lot of good.

Sonia spoke about her experience and background of working with males of all ages and how she had identified a simple but critical gap in the provision of support for secondary school age boys whose father-figure is absent from their lives. Through an innovative male–led group mentoring Programme, Lads Need Dads supports boys age 11-15, an age when the choices they make, both conscious and unconscious, begin to form the foundation of the men they will become. By engaging the boys in self-development group work, practical life-skill training, volunteering and outdoor activities, all supported by male mentors, Lads Need Dads aims to equip and empower them to become motivated, capable, resilient and emotionally competent young men.

To view more photos from both events, click here.

To view the summary document of Ingatestone Hall, click here and for Layer Marney, click here.

Phone-In Funding Surgery - 7 June - Braintree

5th May 2017

Are you a voluntary or community organisation operating in the Braintree district 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 7 June between 10am to 12 noon

Fran and Jill, ECF grant officers, will be on hand to talk with you about your work and discuss your funding options. Please call them on 01245 356018. 

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.