Essex Community Foundation

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Colne Housing grant helps people with dementia

22nd February 2019

A social enterprise says a grant from a local housing association has helped them provide much-needed support to people with dementia.

The Bridge Project, which supports disadvantaged people in the local community, runs a café and other activities from its Gainsborough Street premises in Sudbury, with every Monday 11am-3pm set aside for ‘Decaf’, a free drop-in group for people with dementia and their carers.

A £4,600 grant provided by Colne Housing’s Colne Community Builders Fund, which supports charities in Essex and Suffolk that make a difference to communities, was used to provide training for volunteers, create marketing materials for its activities, and buy puzzles and games to help keep people’s minds active. Colne provides affordable homes in Suffolk and Essex and their Community Builders Fund is administered by Essex Community Foundation.

Bridge Project Service Manager Becky Nicholson said: “As a charity, we rely on grants to help us provide invaluable services, so we’re extremely grateful to Colne Housing. The café makes such a difference to people with dementia and their families as it gives them a friendly space where they can socialise and meet others in the same situation.”

Its main café is open Tuesday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm plus it also has a dementia-friendly pop up café which runs regularly at St Peter’s Church on Market Hill between 10am and 2pm.

Sarah Cawley, who co-ordinates the Colne Community Grant fund, said:  “Colne is an organisation which is all about enabling people to live independently and encouraging communities to thrive and, since launching our fund four years ago, we have now awarded more than £40,000 to local charities and voluntary projects which support people to lead independent lives.”

Other organisations to receive grants from Colne in the past year include:

  • We Walk The Line, a social enterprise café at Firstsite in Colchester, for the salary of a mentor to support disadvantaged people get into employment
  • Mid and North East Essex Mind for a pilot course of Mindfulness sessions as part of ongoing support for a group of people with mental health problems who have completed counselling
  • Sailship Training and Learning for Life to support and expand a project providing horticultural and retail training for people with learning difficulties in the Tendring District

For further information about The Bridge Project and Decaf, please visit or call 01787 313691

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.  For more information on how to apply, please call Essex Community Foundation on 01245 356018.