Essex Community Foundation

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Grants available to tackle housing issues

21st October 2019

Local community housing projects and charities are being urged to put their case forward as Nationwide, the world’s largest building society, makes £500,000 available to help make a difference to communities across the region.

The Society is inviting applications for grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 for housing projects that will support the most vulnerable in local communities.  

So far Nationwide has awarded £7 million in grants to more than 180 projects and will be investing over £20 million in housing projects across the UK over 5 years. The programme is being delivered with support from UK Community Foundations, the national network for all accredited Community Foundations across the country.

Charities, community land trusts and housing co-operatives in Essex can apply for grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 for one or two years to make a change in their local area. The deadline to apply is Friday 22 November at 5pm.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of Essex Community Foundation, said: “Finding safe, affordable and sustainable housing is a growing challenge for communities across our region. That’s why we’re pleased to work with Nationwide Building Society to fund the organisations tackling this issue on the ground and supporting those who need it most.”

Andrew Westhead, Nationwide’s Regional Director for the East of England Region said: “In 2007, our members voted for us to donate at least one percent of our pre-tax profits to good causes and asked that we focus on tackling housing issues. We recognise there is a housing crisis, resulting in many people living in unsuitable, insecure or unaffordable accommodation.

So, to help make a real and lasting difference, we are aiming to make over £20 million available in grant funding for housing-related charities and organisations across the UK over 5 years. We are delighted to open the local application process and encourage housing related charities and organisations to apply so that they can collectively benefit from the £500,000 award that is available to communities across the East of England.” 

Projects funded previously through the programme include:

  • Homeless Action Resource Project (HARP): £50,000 to employ a Housing Co-ordinator, over two years, to support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • Safer Places: £50,000 to employ a Housing Support Officer for one year to work with women and families affected by domestic violence to find long term housing.
  • REACH Community Project: £31,588 to employ a Debt Advisor for one year to increase free face-to-face debt and housing advice offered to vulnerable people.

Gary Turner, HARP’s Service Operations Manager, said: “This grant has allowed us to fund an innovative new post, that not only will help prevent people losing a tenancy and becoming homeless in the first place, but will also allow us to strengthen our relationships with landlords, letting agents, housing associations and Southend Borough Council housing departments, so that service users who are ready are able to take the final step and live independently in the community. We are very appreciative of the funding and have already increased the number and quality of relationships that we have with private sector landlords and letting agents to provide more affordable accommodation.”

A Community Board, which is comprised of Nationwide members and employees, will review all the grant applications and award grants of up to a £50,000. The Board and Nationwide branches within the region will also be providing time and expertise to these charities.

Applications to this funding programme are now closed. If you are in need of funding to support a housing project, please call the ECF grants team on 01245 356018.