Essex Community Foundation

News archive

High Sheriff calls for applications

23rd September 2019

Local voluntary and community organisations are invited to apply for a grant from the High Sheriffs’ Fund.

Grants of up to £5,000 are available from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which was established to recognise community initiatives that address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour, and is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Projects that have received grants previously include a personal safety scheme for older people in Tendring, educating young people in Basildon about the dangers of carrying a knife and deterring drug and alcohol abuse on Canvey Island.

The deadline date for applications is Monday 2 December, so now is the time for organisations to apply for a grant to support their work.

This year’s High Sheriff of Essex, James Bettley said: “The historic role of the High Sheriff is to promote law and order, and it also now encompasses encouraging and thanking those who work to ensure the safety of the residents of Essex and to improve the quality of their lives.

“There are an extraordinary number of voluntary and non-profit organisations working at the heart of our communities, and this is an opportunity for them to receive the recognition and support that they deserve.”

An independent panel of judges, chaired by the current High Sheriff and including past High Sheriffs, will review the applications and allocate the awards which will be presented by the High Sheriff at a special ceremony in March 2020. 

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, “ECF is delighted to work with successive High Sheriffs, helping them to direct funding where it is most needed and tackle important issues at a local level. The grants team are on hand to speak with voluntary organisations about their work. Please call them on 01245 356018 to discuss making an application”.

To read the criteria and to complete an application form, click here

Call us

ECF will be holding a Phone-In Funding Surgery on Tuesday 5 November from 10am to 12 noon to speak with potential applicants about their work. To take part, please call the grants team on 01245 356018. There is no need to book a slot in advance.

Colne Housing helps to improve lives

23rd September 2019

People who are struggling with debt, experiencing domestic violence and older people leading lonely and isolated lives are all being given the extra help they need, thanks to grants awarded by Colne Community Builders.

The grants, totalling £19,518 have been distributed by the fund which is run by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) on behalf of Colne Housing. 

Age Concern Colchester has received £9,518 to expand their befriending scheme for people over the age of 60 across Colchester, Tendring and Witham.

Simon Prestney, CEO of the charity, said: “The befriending service has grown beyond belief and we receive referrals on a daily basis, so we are always looking for more volunteers. We carefully match our volunteers to members, to help ensure they will bond and form a friendship that works on both sides.

“Being awarded this grant towards our core costs is so helpful as we can focus on expanding our service and supporting as many people as possible to get involved in their communities and make new friends”.

Colchester CAP Debt Centre, which provides a vital service offering debt counselling and advice, has been awarded £5,000 to help continue its work.

Jonathan Ewbank, Trustee of the Debt Centre, said: “We support clients who have lost all control of their finances, having reached the point where they are not opening their bills, are using food banks, have to forego heating in winter and are facing the threat of eviction from their homes.

“The consequences of uncontrollable personal finances can destroy people and families. This grant will support our work of providing a free service in an area of great need and help us to get people’s lives back on track”.

The Ark Family Resource Centre, based in Harwich, was also awarded £5,000 for a project that supports women and families experiencing domestic violence.

Sarah Cawley, Head of Communications at Colne Housing, said: “We are a housing association which enables people to live independently and encourages communities to thrive. Our grant making initiative Colne Community Builders also does just that.

“By working with ECF, we benefit from their knowledge and expertise of the local voluntary sector, so that the money awarded can make a real difference to the lives of local people.”

Colne Community Housing, which provides more than 3,000 homes in the north of the county, has been working with ECF since 2015 to make their grant-giving programme more effective.

Since the Fund was established more than £71,000 has been awarded to local charities and voluntary projects. Applications to the fund can be made by charities and community organisations in areas where Colne Housing operates: Babergh, Braintree, Chelmsford, Colchester, Maldon, Tendring and Uttlesford. 

If you have any questions about ECF or how to apply for a grant, please contact the ECF grants team on 01245 356018.

Building for the future in Colchester

2nd September 2019

A new charitable fund aimed at helping people in Colchester has been launched by a family with long-standing personal and business roots in the town.

The Collier Family Fund will be managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and its launch is a milestone in the history of the Colliers, whose close ties with Colchester date back more than 200 years.

The family-based business, Collier & Catchpole, an independent builders' merchant, is still thriving and the newly launched Collier Family Fund will give grants to charities and community groups working in the Colchester area.

For Jane Collier, who defies the traditional description of matriarch by being an active, widely travelled and sport-loving great-grandmother with a sharp sense of humour, the charitable fund is the culmination of a lifetime's giving by herself and her late husband Roy. 

“I know that Roy would have been delighted by the fact that the charitable fund has been established in the family's name,” said Jane.

“We have always been involved in the community, not only through the business, but also through politics and voluntary work.

“I was with the Citizen's Advice Bureau in Colchester for nearly 20 years and Roy was a magistrate, so we both saw the problems faced by people who came from all walks of life.

“Since Roy died in 1998, I have often thought about setting up a charity independently, but then my accountant introduced me to Essex Community Foundation.

“Establishing a fund with them is ideal, because they pool your donation with all of their other funds and do all the work for you, but you can be as involved as you want in making decisions about where money from your Fund will be distributed each year.

“Although I have lived and travelled abroad quite a bit during my life, the heart of our family is in Colchester. We want our fund to make a difference to people in the area where our family and business have been established for so many years. Our first round of grants will be distributed soon.  There are so many wonderful charities and organisations that need help, but at the moment I am particularly keen to help people who are homeless and need some help to get themselves back on track.”

Roy was born and grew up in Colchester, attending school locally and then boarding at Haileybury School in Hertfordshire.   In 1955 he joined his father Samuel in the family business, Collier (Stanway) Limited, a gravel, lime and cement merchants.  He continued to work for the business following acquisitions by St Ives Sand and Gravel and then Goldfields, but the family continued to own the Land and office building. 

When the lease came up for renewal in 1975, Roy decided not to renew and set up a Builders Merchant operating from the site in Colchester.  In anticipation of this, Roy purchased E Catchpole & Sons, an Ipswich based builder’s merchant and the two businesses traded separately until 1988 when they were amalgamated under the Collier & Catchpole name. 

Jane, who grew up on a fruit farm in Frating, has four children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren and another on the way. She is delighted that family members will be able to continue the legacy the charitable fund will provide for Colchester.

As well as her work with the CAB, Jane was Chair of Governors of The Gilberd School for several years and of the Colchester Sixth Form College from its inception and for the first 10 years of its existence.  She was also involved in the medical world, with the Family Practitioner Committee, is a member of a Christian Fellowship and is an enthusiastic croquet and bridge player.

In 1985 Jane was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen for services to the community and to politics.  She first met Roy, who was from Stanway, at the Garrison Officers' Club in Colchester and they were married in1957, when Jane was 20.  She was soon involved in the family business as company secretary and wages clerk, as well as bringing up her children.

Jane and Roy had a passion for politics and were founder members of Stanway Conservative Association.

Recalling Roy, Jane smiles when she remembers him teasing her about being “a magpie” when, in the early days of marriage, he found she had collected, washed and stored an array of baby food jars. “After that, anything I collected or stored was called Magpie-ing” said Jane.

But there is a difference between Jane and Magpies, as the birds have an instinct for taking, but her focus has always been on giving.

For more information about ECF, please call us on 01245 355947.

Grants available for women and girls projects

2nd September 2019

Voluntary and community organisations that support women and girls are invited to apply to the Tampon Tax Community Fund for a grant.  

The Fund, which is managed locally by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), was set up by the Government in 2018 and allocates money generated from the VAT on sanitary products to projects that improve the lives of women and girls.

This is the second time that UK Community Foundations has been selected by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to distribute the largest share of Tampon Tax funding. 

To date, the fund has awarded £85,000 to 13 local voluntary groups. Among the organisations to benefit were Basildon-based charity Changing Pathways which received £10,000 to support women that have experienced domestic violence. Active Life For a Healthier You also received £9,900 to run wellbeing and exercise workshops for women in Southend.

Other funded projects include a peer support group for new mothers and women only counselling groups for those with mental health problems in the Tendring district.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said: “Grants from this fund are tackling serious issues that affect many women and girls, including period poverty, domestic and sexual abuse and long-term unemployment. We would encourage local community and voluntary groups to apply for funding in this latest round. Our grants team is available to talk through ideas and help with the application process”.

Grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 are available and successful applications must meet one of the three priority areas: building skills and confidence, improving physical or mental health and creating social networks.

Priority will be given to grassroots projects, organisations working with women or girls facing multiple challenges, user-led organisations and sustainable projects providing long term solutions.

The deadline for applications to be submitted to ECF is 5pm on 11 October 2019. For an application form, click here.