Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Callum gets a second chance to pursue his sporting dreams

17th June 2019

At the age of 15 Callum Turner had a heart transplant which saved his life and gave him the chance to take up sport again.

Now, four years later, having become a table tennis ace, he is all set to represent Great Britain at the World Transplant Games being held in Newcastle this August.

Callum, 19, who lives in Rochford, has been helped to achieve his sporting dream with grants totalling £400 from the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

He received £200 from the Ajvir Singh Sandhu Leadership Fund and £200 from the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund, which are among the funds managed by ECF.

Callum said: “I am so grateful for these generous grants which are going towards my expenses to compete in the World Transplant Games. 

“I have been poorly since birth, but always had a great passion for sport, particularly football.  Being told I had to stop playing for my local team at the age of 11 due to my heart problems was devastating.  Although I was unable to take part, my love of sport never stopped. 

“My health deteriorated during my early teens resulting in me being added to the urgent heart transplant list in March 2015.  I received my gift of life at Great Ormond Street Hospital four weeks later from a total stranger to whom I will be forever thankful.

“After the rollercoaster post-transplant world, I was able to complete my Level 1 and 2 BTEC in Active Sports and Leisure at Southend College.  I am currently in my first year of the Level 3 course. 

“During my breaks between lessons at college I found playing table tennis a way to pass the time and do something that I enjoyed, and I became quite good at it. 

“As my health was getting better, I decided to enrol for the British Transplant Games in Birmingham last year.  I competed in badminton, football and table tennis.

“I was not expecting much, just happy to be taking part and totally inspired by all the other transplant recipients at the games.  To my surprise, I won Gold in the table tennis, which meant that I received an automatic place in the Transplant World Games this year.  I am so pleased and honoured to represent Team Great Britain. 

“Since the games in Birmingham I have joined my local table tennis club and am training and playing games against local clubs. 

“I am really looking forward to competing in the British and World Transplant Games this year and continue to promote organ donation wherever I can.

“I have another year left on my BTEC Level 3 Sports course, after which I would really like to go into a coaching role with young children.  I will also be playing in the Summer Table Tennis League and hope to get my ranking up.

Callum’s mum Donna Turner said: “The grant has really helped Callum fulfil his dream to compete and enjoy the sport he loves. He is very lucky to have received such great support.”

For more information about the grants ECF has avaliable to support individuals like Callum, please call the grants team on 01245 356018. 

Improving health and wellbeing in Colchester and Tendring

17th June 2019

A new funding programme has launched to support voluntary and community organisations in North East Essex working to improve health and wellbeing.

The 'Realising Ambitions' Funding Programme has been set up with Essex Community Foundation (ECF) by the Suffolk & North East Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) to support its plan of integrating local health, care and voluntary services.

ECF is working with the STP to distribute grants to community and voluntary organisations in Colchester and Tendring that are having a direct impact on health and wellbeing.

The two areas that have been identified as health priorities are:

  • Improving mental health and reducing suicide
  • Reducing the burden of deprivation

There are three levels of funding available; micro-grants of up to £1,000 for grassroots organisations, small grants of up to £10,000 and strategic grants of over £10,000 and up to £70,000.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, 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."

For more information and to apply, click here. Applications must be submitted by 9 August 2019.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your work in advance of you starting an application. Please call us on 01245 356018.

Engaging young people in social action

5th June 2019

Local charities or voluntary organisations that provide young people with the opportunity to build skills, grow their confidence and contribute to their community can now apply for funding to support their work.

Grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 are available from the #iwill Fund for projects that engage young people aged 10-20, or up to 25 for disabled young people, in activities such as campaigning, fundraising or volunteering.

The #iwill Fund is a joint £40 million investment from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and The National Lottery Community Fund.

Essex Community Foundation, in conjunction with the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (OPFCC), are acting as match-funders and awarding the grants locally.

Projects that received funding in the last round include:
  • Yellow Door (Canvey Island): £5,000 to enable young volunteers to plan and run a “Bridging the Gap” inter-generational project held once a week in the café.
  • Essex Youthbuild: £4,900 for young people undertaking construction skills training to select, plan and work on community building projects as a way of giving back and gaining valuable experience.
  • PARC: £5,000 to run a mentoring project in a charity outlet shop in Braintree for young people with additional needs and disabilities, giving them retail experience and building life skills. (Pictured right)

Emma Frearson, PARC Charity Outlet Manager, said: “The funding boost has enabled us to mentor a group of young adults that have disabilities to experience what it is like to have a retail job. The time spend in our Braintree shop helps them to grow their confidence, understand the responsibility of being an employee and develop skills they may use for possible future employment. Their invaluable contributions not only provide a resource for the community, but it gives them the opportunity to interact with others and gain life skills that will give them the ability to be a more active member of the community.”

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of Essex Community Foundation, said, “Young people have enormous potential to make a positive change in their communities. We delighted to have secured further funding to continue this programme, thanks to the match-funding provided by the OPFCC. We are particularly keen to hear from organisations that are encouraging young people to learn about their local community, improve their understanding of local issues and interact with people of different ages and cultures.”

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst said, “We are proud to be continuing our relationship with Essex Community Foundation on the #iwill Fund for a third year.  We have seen encouraging case studies from the projects supported to date, demonstrating the value of investing in young people and empowering them to make a difference in their local communities.”

For more information and to apply, please click here.

All potential applicants are encouraged to call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018 in advance of submission. The deadline is 5pm on 26 July 2019.

Record Number of Essex Voluntary Groups receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services

3rd June 2019

Nine voluntary groups from across the county who work in the community have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The nine groups are:

Beacon House Ministries – established in Colchester 22 years ago to help the homeless and those less fortunate.
Essex Search and Rescue – 74 highly trained volunteers who respond to calls from the police to search for vulnerable missing persons 365 days a year.
Footprints Community Group – have been working in Rochford for 12 years providing activities for young people to make a positive impact on their lives.
Grant A Smile – provides free house cleaning and emotional support for families living with serious or terminal illness.
Havering and Brentwood Bereavement Service – have been in existence for over 30 years and provide counselling support to young people, adults, and families.
Hearing Help Essex – alleviates isolation and loneliness for thousands of people who suffer hearing loss across the county.
SOS Rape Crisis – established in Southend in 2011 and provides sexual advisory services to young people and adults.
Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome – more than 150 volunteers have transformed a semi-derelict World War 1 aerodrome into an amazing historical attraction.
Teen Talk, Harwich – started 22 years ago and provides early intervention and emotional support to 11 to 25 year olds with complex and vulnerable lives.

The nine groups from Essex are amongst 281 charities, social enterprises, and volunteer-led groups to receive the prestigious award this year across the UK. The number of awarded groups have increased again this year, demonstrating the continuous expansion and value of the voluntary sector in today’s society.

This award is given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise exceptional service within their communities. The recipients of the award are announced each year on 2 June - the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. 

Representatives of the nine winning groups in Essex attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this years Award.

The nine Essex winners will receive the Award from Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, later this summer.

Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, said: “The announcement of nine winners of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, the highest national award for voluntary groups, across Essex is a wonderful tribute to the outstanding work of the voluntary sector. Only one other county in the UK had more winners than Essex which speaks volumes for the excellence of volunteering in our county and the increasing importance of the work of volunteers for community wellbeing. I am delighted that nine extremely deserving groups, who are providing a wide range of services to our communities have been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen. I look forward to presenting the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services to each of the groups over the coming months and to be able to celebrate their success with their volunteers and many who receive their excellent service”.

Any group doing volunteer work that provides a social, economic or environmental service to the local community can be nominated for the award. Each group is assessed on the benefit it brings to the local community and its standing within that community.

To nominate a group for an Award next year, click here