Essex Community Foundation

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Grants available for Chelmsford charities

31st May 2018

Chelmsford based community groups, voluntary organisations and charities needing funds are being encouraged to apply for grants from Essex Community Foundation (ECF), the county's leading independent charitable trust.

Financial support, ranging from £250 up to £10,000, is on offer from ECF for organisations working to make life better for people in Essex.

Since ECF was funded 21 years ago it has awarded over £32 million in grants to a vast range of local community and voluntary organisations.

The Foundation manages 150 funds on behalf of families, individuals, companies and public agencies, helping to match their charitable wishes with the needs of the Essex voluntary sector. Each year, grants totalling around £2 million are distributed.

Applications for funding can be made throughout the year, but voluntary organisations and charities in Chelmsford may want to contact the Foundation now.

Fran Wright and Jill Curd, ECF grants officers, are available on 01245 356018 to discuss your work and answer any questions about this funding opportunity.

“We are always happy to hear about any funding needs and we are ready to give advice and help on how to make an application,” said Fran.

“We have made applying for a grant as easy as possible and it is not a drawn-out process. ECF offers funding for a wide range of projects and issues, so we can usually match a fund, or a combination of funds, to help meet local needs.”

Jill said: “We do also consider funding core costs which we know can be a challenge for charities and local organisations to find. We can also help with specific projects, so encourage anyone interested in applying for a grant to call us now.”

Recent grants awarded by ECF include £2,704 for Kids Inspire to run free lunch clubs during the school holidays for disadvantaged children, £5,000 to Contact the Elderly to host monthly tea parties for isolated and lonely older people and £4,410 to City of Chelmsford Mencap for a project providing work experience opportunities to people with a learning disability, helping them to develop new skills.

For more information, call the grants team on 01245 356018.

Essex Dog Day: 26th August 2018

18th May 2018

More local charities are set to benefit from the ever-popular Essex Dog Day taking place at Crix, Hatfield Peverel, on Sunday 26 August.

Preparations are well underway, and hopes are high that this year's event will be record-breaking in many ways, including the amount it raises for local community organisations.

Funds raised by the Essex Dog Day are managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and will help many local charities which are providing vital support to people in need.

Ian Twinley, owner of Crix and chairman of the organising committee said: “We are setting our sights on another extremely successful Essex Dog Day. The enthusiasm shown for the event is heart-warming and it is always very popular and well supported.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our visitors once again with their four-legged friends. There will be plenty for everyone of all ages to enjoy with spectacular displays, lots of food on offer and many stalls which don’t just cater for dogs, including designer fashion and jewellery.

“There will be a wide range of classes and competitions for every kind of dog from pedigree poodles to magnificent mongrels.

“The children’s arena, sponsored by New Hall School, will return with plenty of dog show classes and activities for those aged up to 15.

“In the main arena, the ever-popular Essex Police dogs and cars will be chasing ‘criminals’.  New this year, will be the Galloping Acrobats, with their daring riders jumping on and off charging horses and the Watermill Wolves, the wolf pack that has appeared in the Game of Thrones and many other films and TV shows.”

Local charities also benefit from money raised by the Dog Day.  Ian said, “Last year, thanks to everyone involved, we raised £65,747, which brings the grand total raised in seven years to £410,000.  This year we are aiming to take that total to half a million and so that we can support even more good causes.”

Since the Crix Charitable Fund was established by Ian in 2014, all proceeds from the Dog Day and other events held at Crix are channelled through the Fund, to support local charities.  The Fund is managed by ECF who works with the Essex Dog Day committee to award grants each year to voluntary and community groups working in Essex, Southend and Thurrock.

Ian is a prominent supporter of ECF.  He said, “People come to the Dog Day from all over Essex, so it is important that we reach out to voluntary organisations working across the County so that they can benefit from the money raised.  Working with ECF helps us to do this as they have in-depth knowledge of the charitable and voluntary sector in Essex and they know where the money will make the greatest impact.

“The next Essex Dog Day will be held on Sunday 26 August. We are keen to hear from anyone who would be interested in volunteering on the day – positions range from helping with parking to serving tea and cake. You will find out how to apply on the volunteer page on”.

For more information about ECF, call Jo Macaulay on 01245 355947.

Among the local charities to receive grants following last year’s event were:

  • Lambourne End Centre for Outdoor Learning: £3,000 to support a Food for Thought programme to aid the health and well-being of vulnerable and disadvantaged young people.
  • Cirdan Sailing Trust: £3,000 to buy a replacement dinghy for one of the vessels used to provide sail training opportunities for young people.
  • Witham Boys' and Girls' Brigade: £2,460 to assist with the running costs of a youth organisation providing a range of activities to engage young people in their community.
  • Wilderness Foundation UK: £1,550 support for the outdoor based TurnAround programme for vulnerable young people from mid and North Essex.
  • Talk Listen Care: £2,490 to provide counselling for vulnerable young people who are at risk of becoming NEET (not in employment, education or training) in Braintree.
  • Autism Anglia: £2,000 towards the salary of a welfare rights adviser working with autistic individuals and their families in Essex.
  • Braintree Youth Project Charity: £2,500 towards the running costs of a project supporting the development of young people through a range of activities.
  • Epping Forest Sportability Club: £3,000 to cover the coaching and running costs of a club providing sporting opportunities for young people with disabilities.

East of England Co-op tackles loneliness

18th May 2018

The East of England Co-op has awarded £70,000 to local charities and groups across the region in a bid to tackle loneliness.

Working in partnership with the Community Foundations in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, the East of England Co-op’s Tackling Loneliness Fund was promoted to local charities and organisations who bid for a share of the funding. 

Chris Matthews, Chair of the Membership and Community Engagement Committee who approved the funding, said: “The Co-op has a long and proud history of supporting communities and tackling the big issues that affect us all. Loneliness is a growing concern and we wanted to do something that would directly benefit lonely and isolated people living in the communities we serve.”

Twenty two applications were shortlisted by officers from the three Community Foundations and East of England Co-op which were approved by the MCE together with a further scheme, ‘Supporting Women and Activities Network (North Norfolk)’ and the Goodgym project in Norwich.

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive Officer at Essex Community Foundation, said, “In many ways we are more connected than ever before, but people still feel lonely and isolated.  The benefit of working in partnership with community foundations across the region is that we can reach small, local charities working in the heart of their communities. The grants awarded in Essex are helping to connect people and provide a wide range of activities for all ages, helping them to socialise, enjoy life, access help and support, feel valued and contribute to their community.”

Teen Talk (Harwich) provides emotional support for young people aged 11-25 years. Covering two main areas; one-to-one support and group activities they allow young people to access their service directly. Their drop-in service provides instant access to a support worker where young people can offload their worries and concerns and be provided with strategies to help them develop their skills to overcome or manage the difficulties they face day to day. 

Teen Talk (Harwich) are using their grant of £2,500 to run a series of ‘This is Me’ courses for groups of 14-16-year olds, who are struggling with self-esteem, identity and confidence.

Hayley Lovett, Chief Executive Officer at Teen Talk (Harwich), said, “This is an informal programme that allows young people to build better relationships and be more confident through creative activities. They identify their own strengths which they develop to empower them to be more resilient. Through the course, new friendships are formed, improving the young people’s confidence, helping them to improve communication, become more aware of their unique characteristics and raise their self-worth reducing the impact of loneliness.”

To date, three courses have been completed and 11 young people have taken part in the programme.

The projects who received funding in Essex are:

Beacon House Ministries: received £2,454 to support their welcome services for socially isolated homeless people, in Colchester.
Colchester Gateway Clubs: were awarded £2,500 to increase the hours of a support and advocacy manager for adults with learning disabilities.
Crossroads Care Tendring & Colchester: received £2,500 to help with the running costs of a young carers group in Tendring.
Jaywick Community Resources Centre Association: received £1,500 to support the costs of an elderly people's lunch club.
Teen Talk (Harwich): have been awarded of £2,500 to run a series of ‘This is Me’ courses for groups of 14-16-year olds, who are struggling with self-esteem, identity and confidence.
Tendring Community Transport: were awarded £2,500 to run a dial-a-ride service. This gives isolated people without their own form of transport the opportunity to use a minibus.

If you are a community or voluntary organisation that tackles loneliness, please call the grants team on 01245 356018. We are keen to discuss your work and potential funding opportunities. 

Our 2018 Spring Receptions

17th May 2018

We were delighted to welcome 200 invited guests to this year's Spring Receptions held at Ingatestone Hall and Layer Marney Tower.

These events are an opportunity for our supporters, donors and Fundholders to come together, hear about ECF's latest work and listen to guest speakers from the voluntary sector.

This year's speakers at Ingatestone Hall were, Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford vice president of ECF, and local community organisations Castle Point Association of Voluntary Services (CAVS) and Maldon Men’s Shed. 

Bishop Stephen spoke about the importance of communities reaching out to one another, highlighting that this can only happen by people working together to help those in need. 

CAVS explained their befriending scheme, which matches people who feel lonely and isolated with a volunteer companion. The scheme helps many elderly and vulnerable people, but is open to anyone over the age of 18. Jennifer Ferns, a volunteer befriender, explained how she got involved with the scheme and the unexpected impact it had on her life.

Maldon Men’s Shed described how their scheme brings men together for the benefit of their health and wellbeing. Members of the Shed network choose projects and work on them at their own pace in a social environment. This community space gives them the opportunity to make new friends, share skills and learn new ones which can make a huge difference to those who find themselves isolated.

Our Layer Marney speakers were Nick Alston CBE DL, ECF Fundholder and trustee, The MAZE Group and Your Living Room.

The MAZE Group explained their work with parents who have children with additional needs. Their informative training courses give families the tools to build more positive relationships, better communicate and improve behaviour.  Debbie shared her family’s experience and how MAZE has helped her to better understand her son, Tom, who was only formally diagnosed with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) at the age of 20.

Your Living Room spoke about the long-term support that they offer to people living with this widely misunderstood condition. Philip spoke about his personal experience of hoarding and how this service has helped him to change his life.

To view more photos from both events, click here.

Big support for Little Braxted

11th May 2018

People in Little Braxted and the surrounding area are being invited to apply for grants from a fund set up to help community projects and promote educational opportunities.

The Little Braxted Community and Educational Fund was established in 2007 with proceeds from the sale of the local Victorian schoolhouse.

In 2012 the fund was transferred to the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) to ensure that it would benefit future generations in the parish of Little Braxted and Wickham Bishops.  The area benefiting from the fund has recently been extended to neighbouring villages and the surrounding rural areas.

So far, the fund has awarded a total of £60,512 in grants and one of the first was a major allocation of £35,000 towards an extension of the Great Braxted Pavilion. 

Grants have also been given to Wickham Bishops Over 60’s Club, The Braxted Neighbourhood Watch Coffee Morning, Great Braxted Parish Council to install outdoor gym equipment for local residents and Little Braxted Parish Council to run a weekly litter picking service.

Young people in the area have been awarded grants to help them achieve qualifications and funding has also been given to local youngsters with great sporting promise, including 10-year-old gymnast, Lola Brand from Little Braxted, whose long-term ambition is to reach the Olympics.

A grant of £1,500 will help pay for Lola to compete in Malta this summer, building on her recent success in an international gymnastics competition.

Lola's mum Lisa said: “We are so proud of Lola who continues to work towards her dream of one day being a professional gymnast. The grant we received from ECF and the Little Braxted Fund has made all the difference to her training, and to us.”

Caroline Taylor, ECF's chief executive said: “This fund is a fantastic financial resource for the local community and we want to encourage more applications that we can support.”

“Grants can be awarded to voluntary and community organisations for the general benefit of people in the parish of Little Braxted and surrounding areas, including scout and guide groups and can also be extended to promote educational opportunities.”

ECF works with a panel of local residents to discuss and agree all applications to the fund.

To talk to the grants team at ECF about making an application for funding call 01245 356018.