Essex Community Foundation

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Charity receives emergency funding to bolster refuge service provision

30th April 2020

An Essex domestic abuse charity has received a £15,000 funding boost from the Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme to bolster refuge service provision during the pandemic.

Safer Places has a range of supported accommodation in Essex including crisis communal refuges and self-contained flats which act as a lifeline for the Essex community and provide 46 families with a safe place to live at any one time.

Far more than a ‘bed for the night’ or places to stay, these refuges provide life changing support to families fleeing domestic abuse. Safer Places refuges are not funded by the local authority and have been run over the last year from donations and earned income.

Essex Community Foundation (ECF) launched the Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme to get help quickly to voluntary and community organisations that are helping older and vulnerable people and those that are in crisis and need emergency funding to keep their vital services running.The funds have helped organisations to establish and adapt projects and services and given much needed financial aid to organisations experiencing a loss of funding as a direct result of the pandemic.

Janet Dalrymple, chief executive at Safer Places, said the help was crucial as the grant will allow us to continue to support those most at risk.

"We continue to experience an increase in demand for our support. Unfortunately, at the same time, due to the impact of Covid-19 we are facing a devastating loss of funds. A lot of uncertainty remains around our events, fundraising activities, projects, training and the impact on our core services; not being able to run these in the same way will have a huge impact on our income. We are not an organisation who can hit ‘pause’ on our work and we rely on our earned income to keep our Essex refuges open. Without the funds these streams generate we are at risk of not being able to deliver vital life-saving services to those who need it most, now more than ever as survivors need to know there is a safe place to go."

"We are grateful to ECF; it is wonderful to see so many supporting charities at this time of need. The money will help us to continue to deliver our vital services."

"We know that Covid-19 will continue to have a devastating impact on those experiencing abuse which will not disappear when the lockdown is lifted; this is why the work of Safer Places is so incredibly important.”

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of Essex Community Foundation, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the work of local charities. Some are having to pause their services due to social distancing and others are needing to be agile and adapt quickly to continue to deliver support to their beneficiaries. Amongst the issues that the pandemic, and its restrictions, has caused is a spike in domestic abuse cases. It was vital that Safer Places received this funding quickly, to help them support people who have experienced domestic abuse and also for their work to raise awareness of this crime.”

Safer Places services are open as usual, the helpline, 03301 025 811 is available 24/7, 7 days a week and the Live Chat service is open Mon-Fri 8:30am – 5:00pm and Fri-Sun 8pm-8am.

If you would like to support local charities during this challenging time, you can donate to the emergency Coronavirus Programme here.

To apply for a grant, please click here for more information.

Essex Coronavirus Fund secures £1 million in a month

22nd April 2020

A heartfelt message of thanks is being given to people in Essex who are helping to provide a lifeline for the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Essex Community Foundation (ECF), an independent charitable trust, has secured over £1.1million for their Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme to support local charities and voluntary organisations. 

Since the Programme was launched on 25 March, nearly £530,000 has already been awarded in grants.

Nick Alston, chairman of ECF, has paid tribute to the generosity shown in the county after the organisation launched the initiative to give financial support to voluntary and community organisations that are responding to the pandemic and those that are struggling.

He said: “We realised from the outset how vital it was that we make funds available quickly for local charities and voluntary organisations who are supporting the most vulnerable people in our community at this difficult time.

“Over the past 25 years ECF has become a mainstay for the voluntary sector and we have in-depth knowledge of local needs. The launch of our Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme means we have been able to give emergency funding to voluntary and community organisations so that they can respond to immediate needs by providing vital services to help local people. 

“We want to thank to all those who have rallied to help so far and I am delighted to say that we have already distributed nearly £530,000 in grants, with priority given to organisations delivering vital services to older and vulnerable people, organisations helping to relieve pressure on public services and those co ordinating a local community response.

“Many of our existing fundholders and supporters have been wonderfully generous in making additional donations, or they have agreed to waive the specific criteria of their charitable funds so that we can give as much support as possible at this time.

“We have also had a number of companies contact us to make donations including the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, UK Power Networks, Affinity Water, Anglian Water, East of England Co op and Chelmsford Cricket Club.

“Local solicitors and accountants, including Birketts, have made their clients aware of the Programme, released unclaimed balances in support and existing charitable trusts have directed monies to us.  We have also received anonymous donations ranging from £10 to £1,000 on our JustGiving page -

“The programme really has touched the hearts of local people and they have responded so generously.

“We have distributed funds across Essex to a wide range of causes, including foodbanks, Citizens Advice Bureaux, mental health charities and organisations helping the homeless. These charities are providing a lifeline for those in desperate need during the pandemic. 

“We are also very aware that many charities are concerned about sustaining their organisations during this challenging time, as services have been disrupted and fundraising events have been cancelled, meaning that their income has been severely affected.  We want to reassure local charities that we will do all we can to financially support them in the coming months and to recover afterwards.

“As well as continuing to give out grants through our Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme, ECF is also distributing funds raised by the National Emergencies Trust (NET) Appeal.

“To date, NET has raised around £20 million in donations nationally and the money is being awarded through the network of community foundations.  ECF has already received over £385,000 to award locally from NET and we will be receiving more funds as they are raised.”

How you can help

Essex Community Foundation (ECF) is pleased to be working with the National Emergencies Trust (NET) to raise and distribute funds to support local charities and community groups during the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations can be made online at or through the ECF Justgiving page:

ECF will do its best to absorb the cost of running this programme and will take no more than a 5% fee on donations received. We strongly encourage you complete a Gift Aid form as this will boost your donation by 25% at no extra cost to you.

New PFCC partnership to help charities respond to COVID-19

21st April 2020

Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been made available to support voluntary and community organisations helping the most vulnerable people in Essex who have been affected by coronavirus.

The cash boost of £150,000 is the result of a new partnership between the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and Essex Community Foundation (ECF), which set up the Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme to support charities affected by the impact of COVID-19.

The £150,000 has come from PFCC’s Community Safety Development Fund. ECF will administer the monies, ensuring that funds are allocated to voluntary organisations that are helping local people.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “As an experienced administrator of funds, ECF is well-known amongst community and voluntary sector organisations and is well-placed to identify need, distribute funds into the community quickly and monitor how effectively they are being utilised.

“As people will be all too aware, the outbreak of COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the local voluntary sector and the most vulnerable in communities.

“Initiatives such as the partnership between the Community Safety Development Fund and ECF, in awarding the £150,000, will go some way towards helping deliver financial support, relieve pressure on public service and help co-ordinate a local community response.”

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive Officer at ECF, said: “This generous donation will provide vital support to community and voluntary organisations that are responding to the pandemic.

“The impact of COVID-19 has meant that charities have had to adapt their services to meet local needs and, in some cases, they have seen an unprecedented demand for their services.

“As well as providing practical help for people who need transport to hospital appointments or delivering food parcels to those who are vulnerable or homeless, many groups are using online tools to communicate with, and continue supporting, their beneficiaries.”

The PFCC’s Community Safety Development Fund has an annual value of £300,000 and would usually open to bids at the beginning of the financial year. This decision will see up to 50 per cent of the fund utilised for the Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme. Applications will be received and assessed by ECF and recommendations will be made to the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

ECF is an independent trust that manages charitable funds from multiple donors. They match applications from voluntary organisations to the funds they hold. ECF is also receiving funding from the National Emergencies Trust, individuals and companies and has repurposed some of its existing funds, to create the Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme.

More information about Essex Community Foundation and the Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme can be found here.

For details of the PFCC’s Community Safety Development Fund visit: