Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Protecting vulnerable people in the County

29th March 2019

Around 90 guests gathered at Ingatestone Hall for the Foundation's annual Spring Reception. Two local charities spoke about their work supporting vulnerable people.

This was an opportunity to bring together our supporters, donors and Fundholders to hear about ECF's latest work and listen to guest speakers from the voluntary sector. We are very grateful to our President Lord Petre for once again allowing us to hold our event in his lovely home.

The theme of the evening was supporting vulnerable people in the County. Our guest speakers were BATIAS and Southend Vineyard, introduced by BJ Harrington, Chief Constable of Essex Police and vice president of ECF.

BJ Harrington explained the unique landscape of policing in the County, highlighting the vital role that local charities and voluntary organisations play in helping to keep people in our communities safe.

BATIAS is an advocacy service that supports people with learning difficulties, helping them to live as independently as possible. They explained their work in the community which includes running workshops on how to keep safe. These group sessions are an opportunity to learn about personal safety, hate crime and how to report it and making attendees aware that criminals may try to take advantage of them. A grant of £5,000 from ECF is enabling them to run these sessions regularly in Southend.

Southend Vineyard has been supporting vulnerable people through a variety of services for over 23 years and it continues to adapt to reflect changing local needs. Based on the Queensway Estate, their work includes a foodbank, a free community café, support groups and a furniture restoration project. A grant of £8,000 is helping to fund a community worker who provides support to residents on the Estate as it is redeveloped.  Many residents are on low incomes and struggle to understand how the changes will affect them.

To view photos from the event, please click here

If you would like to have an inital discussion about how ECF can work with you to fulfil your charitable aims and wishes, please call Perry Norton or Jo Macaulay on 01245 355947, who will be happy to help.

Grants for Harwich community projects

20th March 2019

Harwich-based voluntary and community organisations are being encouraged to apply for grants from offshore wind farm Galloper’s community fund to support their worthwhile local projects and activities.

The £50,000 Galloper Community Fund was established in 2018 to support communities around the location of the project’s operations & maintenance base in Harwich International Port, Essex. Each year until 2022, £10,000 will be awarded to assist local charitable, educational and environmental initiatives.

Galloper Operations & Maintenance Manager, Sean Chenery said: “We are based in Harwich, with our team of 60 working from the port, and we see the Fund as one of the ways we can support our local area by facilitating worthwhile community initiatives that otherwise may not have had the funding to go ahead.”

The fund is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), an independent charitable trust that works alongside a panel comprising local residents to consider the applications received and then award grants.

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive ECF said: “The panel is particularly interested in applications that seek to enhance the quality of life for local people, contribute to vibrant, healthy and sustainable communities and encourage positive community activity.”

“This fund is a wonderful resource to support the local community, so if you are involved with a community group or charity that is working in Harwich, we would encourage you to get in touch with ECF and tell us about your work."

To date, the Fund has awarded grants totalling £10,000 to support four organisations:

  • We are Music, which runs the rock school in Harwich, received £2,000 to help them keep student fees down.
  • CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse), received £3,000 to provide specialist one-to-one support for young people.
  • Tendring CVS was awarded £2,500 to recruit a part time co-ordinator of a new health and wellbeing centre in the town.
  • The Ark Family Resource Centre is using their grant of £2,500 to run a mental health project supporting vulnerable families and children.

If you are a group or individuals that would like to discuss this funding opportunity, please call Essex Community Foundation on 01245 356018. A member of our grants team will be happy to help. The deadline for applications is Tuesday 30 April 2019.

Supporting rural communities in Essex

15th March 2019

The way of life in rural areas of Essex has changed dramatically in recent years and people of all ages have been affected by cuts in services, lack of facilities and social isolation.

Improving the lives of those living in these parts of the county has been a major challenge, but grants given by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) have helped residents make a real difference in their communities.

ECF has supported a wide range of projects in rural Essex, including transport schemes, community shops and pubs, community agents, mobile pre-schools, outreach advice schemes and village hall improvement projects.

Many of the grants given to Essex-based charities and community groups from the 150 funds currently managed by ECF are helping to make life better for people in rural areas. 

The Essex Rural Fund was set up with ECF in 2009 by The Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE).  To date, a total of £86,000 has been awarded from the fund to support rural projects.

Nick Shuttleworth, RCCE's executive director, said: “Many Essex villages present a picture of tranquillity which masks the poor access to services and isolation experienced by many rural people today.

“We decided to join forces with Essex Community Foundation to create the Essex Rural Fund to help local groups find their own answers to these problems".

Bradwell-on-Sea community shop is among the rural initiatives given financial support from the Essex Rural Fund and other funds managed by ECF.

Brian Main, chairman of Bradwell-on-Sea Community Shop Association said: “The grants have underpinned the entire shop refurbishment project to the benefit of the whole village, visitors and tourists. We are so grateful to ECF for their continuing support.”

The shop stocks a wide range of goods and provides post office services as well as a “coffee and chat” room where local crafts can be displayed. Access has been improved at the shop and a small outdoor seating area has been created.  The latest grant from ECF for the shop has been spent on a new storage building to replace a dilapidated leaky shed.

The Essex Rural Fund was also involved in providing a grant of £7,000 to the Citizens Advice Bureau in Uttlesford.  The money enabled them to employ a specialist adviser to help people with disabilities to access benefits and includes a home visiting service for people who are unable to travel to the CAB’s offices.  The demand for this service is increasing each year and it is hoped that it can be expanded across Essex.

Another grant, awarded from ECF’s Acorn Fund, is ensuring that local food is not going to waste by helping a community fridge project in Halstead to get off the ground.

A grant of £900 paid for a fridge where residents, local supermarkets and restaurants can leave surplus food which can be picked up by anyone in the community, free of charge.

The idea behind the scheme is to tackle the problem of food waste and the fridge is proving to be a very popular addition to the town.  A team of volunteers monitor the fridge and keep it clean.

Sarah Greatorex, a trustee for Halstead Community Fridge Trust which runs the project said: “We were so grateful for the grant from ECF, as we didn't have the money to buy a fridge to start the project.  It is being used by the whole community, not just by people who are struggling financially or are homeless.” 

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “The focus of our work is to improve the lives of people in Essex and we are delighted that the grants we have been able to award through various funds we manage, including the Essex Rural Fund, are helping to achieve this aim.

“People in rural areas in our county have shown great resilience and resourcefulness and through our grantmaking we will continue to give them vital support.”

If you currently help to run, or have an idea for, a community project in a rural area, please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018 to discuss your funding needs. We are happy to help. 

Essex man runs Marathon in memory of his brother

8th March 2019

Memories of his inspirational brother are motivating Andy Elms every step of the way in his training for the 2019 London Marathon, to raise funds for two special causes.

The Maypole House Charitable Fund, run by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity’s Critical Care Unit Fund, are to benefit from Andy's fundraising efforts in memory of his brother Tim, who died aged 33 in January last year.

Andy, 38, a finance manager for a media company, said: “Tim was a truly special and unique person, with an infectious personality.

“He faced many challenges over his lifetime, being diagnosed with hydrocephalus and later severe epilepsy, and had to cope with all the complications these conditions brought.

“He loved people and people loved him. Tim had that rarest of qualities that people would meet him just the once and they would remember him and for all the right reasons.”

Andy, a father of two who lives in Berkshire, admits he is not a natural runner, but is being spurred on to raise as much money as possible in memory of Tim, whose family home was in Great Dunmow.

“I am running for two really great causes, Maypole House Charitable Fund and The Critical Care Unit at Colchester Hospital,” said Andy.

“The Maypole House Charitable Fund helps provide respite services for children and adults with disabilities and their families and carers.

“The fund was set up with ECF following the transfer of money raised in Uttlesford, covering Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow and surrounding areas, by a charity called ResCU (Respite Care in Uttlesford).

“ResCU’s initial aim was to build a respite care centre, which would have been called Maypole House. But when it was realised that this could not be achieved the decision was taken to close the charity and create the fund, enabling the money raised to be used as intended, offering ongoing much-needed support to families.          

“This charity is particularly personal to me as my family were actively involved in running ResCU for over 20 years and in that time, much was achieved in setting up services including a shared care scheme.

“The Critical Care Unit at Colchester Hospital is where Tim spent his last few weeks. The care he received there really was exceptional and was the NHS at its absolute best. It would mean the world to me to be able to donate much needed funds to the unit, for them to continue the great work they do and to say thank you to them for everything they did for Tim.”

Donations in recognition of Andy's efforts will be collected by Essex Community Foundation and split equally between the two charities.

The Maypole House Charitable Fund has to date awarded grants totalling £81,000 through ECF, including support for a holiday scheme, playschemes and clubs for disabled young people across Essex.

Andy’s training is going well, and he recently completed the Thorpe & Egham and Hampton Court Half Marathons. 

“I was pleased to complete these courses in reasonable times, but the thought of running double that distance is still very daunting.  I am determined to do it and when I cross that finish line, all the early morning training runs and pain will have been so worth it!

“The very kind generosity that people have shown so far in supporting me and donating towards these two very special causes is heartwarming and is the thing that is keeping me going.”

Andy hopes to exceed his fundraising target of £2,000 and welcomes donations to his
Virgin Money Giving page -

Donations can also be made by contacting Essex Community Foundation on 01245 355947.


Andy Elms ran the Marathon in 4 hours and 58 minutes and at the time of writing he has raised £6,000. 

Andy described what the event was like: "It’s hard to describe the atmosphere, it was like nothing I have experienced before, the amount of people that come out to support all the runners and line the streets throughout the whole route was just incredible, cheering you on and keeping you going especially when I was really struggling. I also got chatting to someone on the start-line and we ran together for most of the race which was a great distraction from what we were actually doing and we kept pushing each other along, so big shout out to ‘Mr May’!"

High Sheriff of Essex recognises local charities

8th March 2019

Local charities and voluntary organisations that make a major contribution to community safety and crime prevention received thanks and recognition at the prestigious High Sheriffs’ Awards. 

An organisation that provides online safety workshops for young people in schools across Essex, a personal safety scheme for older people in Tendring, training courses to help identify victims of domestic abuse in West Essex and a project to deter drug and alcohol abuse on Canvey Island are among those to receive awards.

Around 200 guests attended this year’s ceremony held at Hylands House in Chelmsford, where trophies, certificates and grants totalling £32,500 were presented by the outgoing High Sheriff of Essex, Bryan Burrough.

The grants came from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which was established to give credit to community initiatives that address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour, and is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Yellow Door Youth Hub were delighted to win the coveted High Sheriffs’ Shield to recognise their work supporting vulnerable young people on Canvey Island. They also received a grant of £2,000 from the High Sheriffs’ Fund to help them to employ a drug and alcohol misuse worker.

Alex Dobinson, Manager of the Youth Hub, said: “We are honoured to receive this recognition from the High Sheriff. The services we offer for 11-25-year olds includes advice, information, and counselling as well as practical support such as food parcels and group activities and outreach and educational workshops. Our aim is to enable the young people to develop the knowledge, life skills and confidence needed to make informed choices and to manage their sometimes very challenging life circumstances.”

Bryan Burrough, the 838th High Sheriff of Essex, has travelled to all areas of the county during his year of office. As well as meeting many voluntary organisations, he visited the Courts and spent time with Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service. 

Bryan said, “It has been a privilege to undertake this role and I have learnt a lot during the past 12 months. During my visits to local charities and community organisations, I came to realise that many are small and are running with limited resources, powered by the sheer determination of its people, who are often volunteers.

“I hope I have, in some small way, helped to raise the profile of these organisations and their tireless work to improve the lives of local people and make Essex a safer place.

He added, “The Awards ceremony provides a wonderful opportunity for us to come together to recognise and applaud them, which they thoroughly deserve”.

Since the Fund came under ECF’s management in 1997 it has distributed grants totalling over half a million pounds.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said, “We are delighted to manage the High Sheriffs’ Fund. By working with successive High Sheriffs’, we channel funding to the voluntary organisations that contribute to community safety at a local level.”

In addition to the grants awarded from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, ECF was able to leverage a further £115,600 from other funds under its management to support voluntary organisations whose work is also contributing to community safety in Essex. 

The High Sheriffs’ Award Scheme recognises community initiatives which address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour. The office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year. The High Sheriff receives no expenses and the role comes at no cost to the public purse

To view photos of the event, click here.

To read a full list of all grants awarded, click here.

We are hiring: Grants Officer

5th March 2019

Are you a motivated team player who is highly organised, able to manage your own workload and enjoy working in a busy team?  If so, this is an exciting opportunity to join Essex Community Foundation (ECF) as a full time Grants Officer.

Each year ECF, one of the largest independent grantmakers in the county, awards around £3 million of grants from 150 charitable funds under its management. This funding supports voluntary and community organisations working to improve the lives of local people.

Responsibilities of a Grants Officer include advising potential grant applicants from the voluntary and community sector, assessing and evaluating funding applications and preparing reports. Clear and effective communications skills are essential. Travel around the county is required so access to a car is necessary.

Thank you for your interest. The deadline to apply for this position has passed. Please keep an eye on our website for future employment opportunities.