Essex Community Foundation

News archive

New funding initiative to improve health and wellbeing

18th April 2019

The ‘Realising Ambition’ initiative has awarded a £2 million contract to Essex and Suffolk Community Foundations.

The initiative brings together primary care, social services and the voluntary sector to improve health services identified by the three local alliances (East Suffolk, West Suffolk and North East Essex).

Between them, they have set measurable ‘place level’ ambitions to make a difference to the things that really matter to people at a very local level which, in turn, supports the vision for the wider system. Improving mental health, reducing suicides, tackling obesity, improving end of life care and combating loneliness are key priorities for the Integrated Care System (ICS).

Dr John Hague, Mental Health Lead for the Suffolk and North East Essex Shadow ICS and GP in Ipswich, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity which will bring health, care, volunteers and the public together to bring about real improvements for local people and communities. We have been working with the community foundations and voluntary sector in setting up social prescribing – a scheme which links patients needing GP or primary care with sources of support within the community. With ‘Realising Ambition’, we will be building on this way of working and expanding it to include other priorities for our system.”

ICS leaders say that the distribution of the money across the three areas – Ipswich and East Suffolk, North East Essex and West Suffolk – will be based on a number of factors, including local levels of deprivation.

ICS Programme Director, Susannah Howard, said: “We know that making a difference to complex population outcomes is very difficult. We are therefore asking leaders within each of the three main areas to determine their local priorities. This would involve working closely with local people and communities, clinicians, support groups and stakeholders to determine what these should be. Voluntary and community organisations will then be invited by the Suffolk and Essex Community Foundation’s to submit proposals for projects where they believe a broader contribution could be made towards achieving the system’s higher ambitions.”

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of Essex Community Foundation, said: “Empowering communities with resources to tackle the issues impacting local people, is at the heart of what we do. This new initiative brings together public sector partners with the voluntary sector and vital funding so that we can improve health and well-being in our local communities."

Essex Community Foundation will be launching the new funding initiative in May and grants will be awarded in North East Essex. We encourage you to follow Essex Community Foundation on Twitter @Essex_CF or on Facebook @EssexFoundation to keep up-to-date on the launch.

Building a brighter future for local people

15th April 2019

A double-decker “sleep bus” to help take homeless people off the streets, a chance for disadvantaged young people to take to the sea in sailing boats and an allotment project supporting socially isolated youngsters are among the initiatives receiving vital backing in the latest round of grants from the Mersea Homes Charitable Fund.

The fund, set up by the property development firm in 2010 with the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF), has to date distributed grants totalling almost £30,000 to support local voluntary and community organisations in Essex.

Stuart Cock, managing director of Mersea Homes, said: "Being a local family run business we are committed to supporting charities and community projects close to home.

“Our business is about housing, so we have a particular interest in the issue of homelessness.  We wanted to do something to help keep people off the streets and have just given £2,000 from our fund towards a new 'sleep bus' project.”

Vic Flores, Project Manager of Colchester Rough Sleepers Group, said: “In light of the significant increase in rough sleeping on the streets of North Essex in 2018, Colchester Rough Sleepers Group was formed to work with, and as an additional resource, to existing agencies and voluntary groups that provide support and intervention.”

“Our first project was to renovate a double-decker bus into temporary housing. Work is nearly complete thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers and support from funders. Once up and running it will feature sleeping ‘pods’ for 8 guests, a bathroom with a shower, cooking facilities and a lounge area. Guests will be fully supported with a view to moving them into permanent housing and sustainable employment.”

Stuart Cock continued, “Another recent grant of £3,000 from our fund will support the Sea Change Sailing Trust, based in Maldon, to help run a residential sailing course for disadvantaged young people from mid-Essex.

“Living in Mersea we know as a family what great benefits sailing can bring for young people. It gives youngsters the opportunity to test themselves, work as a team and gain confidence. The life skills they learn through the course will help the disadvantaged young people at home, at school and in the wider community.

“We have also been able to support the 'Go Green' allotment project run by Colchester and Tendring Youth Enquiry Service, with a grant of £2,000.

“The allotment scheme is for young people who have faced many difficulties in their lives, and it gives them the positive experiences that come with being outdoors and producing their own fruit and vegetables.

“We are very pleased to be working so effectively with Essex Community Foundation to ensure that the funding we give goes to the causes we see as a priority and the grants distributed through our fund make such a difference in the area where we work.”

Organisations in need of funding are encouraged to call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018.

County Council supports local charities

10th April 2019

An organisation that supports young carers, a horticultural project for people with mental health issues and a youth club were among 20 local voluntary organisations to receive a grant at the Essex Fund Awards.

Grants totalling £93,237 were presented from the fund at a ceremony held at the Chelmsford City Racecourse and hosted by Councillor John Jowers, Chairman of Essex County Council. 

The Essex Fund, which is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation, awards grants to voluntary organisations that support carers, the environment, community resource and young people; including activities which explore culture and heritage. 

At the presentation event, Cllr Jowers praised the impact voluntary organisations make across the County.  He said, “One of the most satisfying areas of my role is to visit many charities and community organisations. Meeting the outstanding individuals who help to improve the lives of others less fortunate or those working to make their own communities a better place, is a privilege.

“The impact that their work has on the lives of local people, of all ages, is immeasurable and I am so pleased that the grants awarded will help to further their work.”

Rachel Tufnell, fundraiser at the North Avenue Youth Centre, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded £5,000 which will enable us to continue our work empowering young people from the Melbourne Estate, in Chelmsford, to reach their full potential in life. Through the wide range of activities we run and support provided by staff and volunteers, we aim to combat the educational, social and economic disadvantages that they face.

Together We Grow received a grant of £6,000 to create a welfare hub at a community garden for people with mental health issues. Wayne Setford, founder, said: “We run sessions 12 months of the year at our beautiful off the grid gardens in Colchester. This funding boost means we can establish an inviting and warm space for our service users to access well-being and education activities including crafts and cooking.”

Kool Carers has been awarded £5,000 to provide support to young people aged 8 – 18 in Basildon that care for a family member. Rachel Tungate, founder, said: "This grant is going to allow those young carers who wish to, the opportunity to speak in a safe and familiar environment with a qualified counsellor. This will help to maintain and enhance the emotional well-being of our young carers and provide them with resilience strategies, so that they have the opportunity to flourish and meet their full potential within their own lives." 

For organisations in need of funding to support their work, please call the Essex Community Foundation grants team on 01245 356018. 

For a full list of awards, click here.

To view more photos from the event, click here.

New High Sheriff of Essex appointed

9th April 2019

Architectural historian Dr James Bettley is rolling up his sleeves to take a hands-on approach as he becomes the new High Sheriff of Essex.

James, 61, is determined to make a difference to the county he loves during his year of office and will raise money for the High Sheriffs' Fund, which is run by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The fund supports voluntary and community organisations and projects that help prevent crime and make Essex a safer place and gives recognition and grants, through the High Sheriffs' Awards, to people working towards these aims.

His fundraising initiatives will include taking part in sponsored litter-picking sessions to help raise awareness of and tackle the menace of litter and fly-tipping.

James, who took up the role of High Sheriff of Essex on 8 April, said: “The office of High Sheriff is the oldest secular office in England after the Crown, and it is a great honour for me to be able to add my name to those of my predecessors in the county of Essex.

“I believe passionately in public service and the rule of law, two values that underpin our society and which the High Sheriff supports and promotes.

“I look forward to meeting those organisations and individuals in Essex who embody these values, without which our communities simply could not function.

“Through my experience as a magistrate I am particularly interested in the rehabilitation of offenders, and during my year in office I want to focus particularly on women who are caught up in the criminal justice system.

“It is clear that women suffer disproportionately by being sent to prison and are generally more likely than men to respond well to community penalties.

“But the facilities to manage them in the community have to be in place, and I want to support those that already exist and, if possible, make them more widely available across the county.

“My work and interests have given me a profound knowledge and love of Essex and have taken me to every single town and village in the county.

“In the coming months I hope to revisit as many of these places as I can, but this time, seeing rather more of the people who live in them.”

Originally from Kent, James has lived in Great Totham since 1991 with his wife Lucy, who was brought up in Ingatestone and is manager of Citizens Advice in Maldon. The couple have three children.

In his work as an architectural historian James has produced a long list of publications including new editions of the Pevsner Architectural Guides for Essex, Suffolk and Hertfordshire.

He has also contributed to successive volumes of the Victoria County History of Essex.  He received his PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 1999 and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Before he decided he had spent enough time commuting to London, he worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Design Museum and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Since 2014 he has also been part-time Librarian of Chevening House, Kent, traditionally the country residence of the Foreign Secretary.

James is particularly interested in church buildings and was chairman of the Friends of Essex Churches Trust from 2012 to 2017, having previously led their study days for over ten years.

James was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1996, originally sitting in Witham but now in Chelmsford and Colchester.  He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Essex in 2013.

In his spare time James enjoys walking. He has walked the Essex Way from Epping to Harwich and has covered most of the county’s coastline and riverbanks.

Now he has set his sights on covering many more miles in Essex and helping to make the county a safer and cleaner place.

For more details about the High Sheriff and to read his blog, visit: You can also follow him throughout his year on Twitter @Essex_HS.

Helping students to expand their horizons

2nd April 2019

Students who attend the Ormiston Rivers Academy in Burnham-on-Crouch have the chance to push personal boundaries, gain new skills and enhance their CVs and University applications by taking part in the world’s leading youth achievement award - The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

A grant of £4,392 has been awarded to the Academy from the Turncole Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund, to buy equipment including tents, walking boots, rucksacks and compasses.

The Fund is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and has awarded grants totalling £84,700 since it was set up in 2016 to support social, environmental and educational projects in Southminster and Burnham-on-Crouch.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a youth programme founded in 1956 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. It is has now expanded to 144 nations, giving students a taste of an expedition and adventure.

Jay Freeman, Manager of DofE at Ormiston Rivers Academy, said: “We champion all of our students to be involved and engaged in the local community. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is an invaluable opportunity for those in Year 10 and above to volunteer, build skills and undertake expeditions. This grant will help us to ensure that any student that wants to take part and earn the Award, is able to.

He added, “Alongside the brilliant DofE team who make this possible, we have also taken the innovative approach of getting parents involved. They will be trained and lead on classroom-based activities and expeditions.”

Caroline Taylor, chief executive at ECF, said: “We are very pleased to work with Aviva Investors, owner of Turncole Wind Farm, to support local projects that will benefit people living and working near the wind farm. This grant will enable even more young people to take part in DofE and expand their horizons; many of whom would otherwise miss out on such an opportunity.”

ECF has funding available to support individuals, charities and voluntary organisations in the Maldon district and are holding a Phone-In Funding Surgery on Thursday 11 April from 10am to 12 noon to speak with potential grant applicants. To take part, call us on 01245 356018.There is no need to book a slot.