Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Local company gives regular flow of support to local charities

26th February 2020

Water is one of our most precious resources and a company dedicated to keeping supplies flowing in Essex is also ensuring that local communities are being strengthened through grants for grassroots causes.

Essex & Suffolk Water has a long history of giving something back into the places where customers use its supplies.  In 2003, to build on the past and to create a legacy for future communities, the company established a grantmaking fund with the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF), through which they could continue their corporate ethos of giving back.  

"Water is one of the most important commodities in our lives and we are very aware of the essential service we offer to our customers,” said Sophie Saunders, External Communications Consultant for Essex & Suffolk Water.

“We fully recognise our responsibilities to the environment and the communities we serve and the Essex & Suffolk Water Community Fund is just one part of our overall strategy to support organisations that are working to make lasting a difference in their communities.”

Since 2003, nearly £135,000 has been awarded through the company’s fund with ECF to support a wide range of local projects and charitable activities.  Applications requesting support are assessed by ECF and detailed information is then presented to committee of employees who represent Essex & Suffolk Water.   

“Engaging our people in decision-making is a key part of our community strategy” said Sophie.  “When reading the information provided by ECF, our employees are often introduced to issues and organisations that they may not otherwise have been aware of.  Engaging them in this way helps them to feel involved.”

Among the six voluntary organisations to benefit from the latest round of grants awarded from the Essex & Suffolk Water Community Fund is Little Heroes ASD Support Group, based in Westcliff, that supports families who have children with autism.   

Kim Drake, Co-ordinator for Little Heroes, said: “We were delighted to receive the news that we have been awarded £2,500 to create a soft play area at our new premises.

“Parents, carers and siblings of children with Autism often have to deal with challenging situations.  We provide a safe space where families will not feel judged and where their children can participate or play side-by-side others, which would not be possible in a mainstream environment.

“Whilst our children enjoy playing in the new area, their parents and siblings can relax and benefit from being with others who understand their daily challenges.”

The other local voluntary organisations to receive grants in this latest round are:

  • Barking and Dagenham Ab Phab Youth Club: £1,800 to run a weekly club for children and young people with disabilities or mental health conditions.
  • Tollesbury Community Association: £500 to buy a TV for a well-used rural community centre.
  • Headway Suffolk: £2,000 to help set up a specialised community and home care service for people living with a neurological condition.
  • Hullbridge Senior Citizens Welfare Council: £1,000 to redecorate a community centre hall that is used regularly by older people for activities including line-dancing, short mat bowls and a lunch club.
  • The Phab Shop, Leigh-on-Sea: £630 towards the set-up costs of a new social enterprise café which will train young people with additional needs, in the food and customer service industry.

The funded projects are based in Essex & Suffolk Water supply areas in Essex, Suffolk and East London.

For more information about ECF, including how we work with local buisnesses to achieve their charitable objectives, please call the team on 01245 355947.

Wind farm funds generate community activity

10th February 2020

Local charities and community groups are encouraged to apply for funding to support their work in the Maldon district.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available from the Tuncole Wind Farm and Bradwell Wind Farm community benefit funds, which are both managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF). 

Eligible projects and activities must aim to improve the lives of residents or encourage community activity. 

Organisations that have previously received funding include:

  • Burnham History Society: £9,000 to replace the windows of Burnham Museum, which was built in 1912.
  • Maldon & Essex Lifesaving Swim Club: £4,730 to provide life support and basic first aid training in schools and clubs around the District.
  • The Dengie Shed: £10,945 to set up a ‘Men’s Shed’ in Southminster, where men can share conversation whilst engaging in practical projects.
  • The Thursday Club: £360 to run a Christmas social event for older people in Bradwell-on-Sea to help alleviate loneliness and isolation.

ECF meets with panels of local residents to consider applications and make the decisions regarding grant awards. 

Caroline Taylor, chief executive at ECF, said: “The panel members draw on their community knowledge to help us ensure that funding is channelled to where it is needed most. I encourage anyone that has a project in mind that will help to improve the lives of local people, and the area in which they live, to get in touch with the Foundation’s grants team.

"We are particularly keen to speak with those working in Southminster, Burnham-on-Crouch, Bradwell and Tillingham.”

For more information and to discuss your potential application, please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018. The deadline to apply is Friday 3 April.

The application form can be found here.

Bridge club supports local charities

7th February 2020

Sixty-four bridge players came together for Chelmsford's first Charity Cafe Bridge Event, eating and drinking at four restaurants in Chelmsford Town Centre to raise £1,000 for the Honalee Fund, which is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The coordinated events took part on 21 January at Baddow Road restaurants, The Courtyard, Pinchos, Pizza Express and Preto, which all opened early and provided a three-course lunch for participants.

Starting at 10:30am, each partnership played six deals in each café before moving on to the next one.

Playing 24 games in total, the bridge players enjoyed a meal wherever they were at during lunch time. Ending with the raffle and prize giving at 4pm. The winners were Jon Ward and Coral Fallon. 

Cathryn Fox, organiser of the Charity Café Bridge Event, commented: “Bridge is a fantastic card game. Reasonably easy to play and nearly impossible to master, it keeps the grey cells active.

“Today’s event not only supported the Honalee Fund, but it also helped build awareness of this great social game and hopefully will encourage more people to learn and join the friendly community of Essex Bridge.”

Perry Norton, Head of Development at ECF, said: “The Honalee Fund supports local charities and voluntary groups in Chelmsford, awarding grants of around £1,300 a year to a wide range of projects. Fundraising events like this help to ensure that smaller, local voluntary organisations can access the resources they need to improve the lives of local people. Thank you to everyone who took part.”

Voluntary organisations that have received grants previously include:

  • City of Chelmsford Mencap: £1,119 for a project that helps people with a learning disability to increase their employability skills.
  • Teens Unite Fighting Cancer: £1,341 to run regular group support workshops for young people who have survived cancer.
  • CHESS: £1,611 to provide life skills training for people who use the Chelmsford night shelter.

The event was also sponsored by local businesses Objective IT, Parking Perspectives and Aqua Warehouse.

For more information about ECF and how we work with local businesses to support Essex voluntary organisations, please call us on 01245 355947 or click here for more information.