Essex Community Foundation

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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.

“After Roy died in 1998, I did think about setting up a charity independently, but then I was at an event at Colchester Castle and found out about 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.

Call us: ECF will be holding a Phone-In Funding Surgery on 24 September 2019 to speak with organisations who may wish to apply to this Fund. To take part, please call ECF between 10am and 12noon on 01245 356018. There is no need to book a slot in advance.