Essex Community Foundation

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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.