Acorn Fund

Our Acorn Fund was our very first fund – starting small in 1996.  As more people and businesses have become aware of us and made donations, the fund has steadily grown.

Each year, through this Fund we help charities, voluntary and community organisations working in Essex that are providing a wide range of vital support to people in need and to date, this totals around £1.3 million.

The Acorn Fund is an ideal way to start your journey with us. A one-off gift or a regular donation will help to support local voluntary and community organisations, and can also be used by the trustees to support ECF, including its development and growth.

Whatever your level of giving or area of interest, the Acorn Fund is a great way to support local charities and voluntary organisations and make a difference in your community.

You can give online now or contact Perry Norton, Head of Development, to set up a regular payment.

Examples of how grants from our Acorn Fund are helping

Dig It Community Allotment is an initiative combatting health inequalities and isolation through gardening and environmental activity in a safe space for people of any age and ability level. They described the impact of the grant like this:

The grant has enabled us to continue to operate as a small charity following a very challenging time earlier this year.  We have also been able to continue our “Open to All” Monday and Thursday sessions delivering activities for those in our community who need it most.  As a result of being able to continue these sessions, we have gained 10 new beneficiaries to these groups and supported some who have a variety of complex needs.

Dig It is supportive in improving mental health and wellbeing, while gaining valuable support from our sessional staff and referral agencies. We work closely with our Social Prescribers, Mental Health Teams and Bromfield House to ensure our beneficiaries have the right support outside of our activities and that they develop strong relationships.

We are continuously working on new avenues and applications. None of this would have been achieved if we had not received this initial support from ECF and emergency funding to keep our core costs going.”   Laura Thompson-Harper, Project Manager

The Ark Family Resource Centre used their grant to pay staff salaries and keep their doors open for the benefit of families in Harwich. This is what they had to say about the impact their grant had on their work:

The funding provided meant that services such as counselling and play therapy didn’t need to be stopped… it gave us enough time to get additional support which means that we are now sustainable and have a strong forecast projected for 2024 and 2025.

We have been working with families in Harwich since 1953 but the need for our services was putting a direct strain on our bottom line. The grant meant we could reset.  We were able to take a breath and make some  changes that meant new and exciting prospects for our preschool, including SEND holiday clubs and wraparound care for working parents, as well as maintaining our growing waiting list for play and art therapy.

We have been elated with the feedback from the local community. When we publicised our position in the local media, we received responses from a wealth of local businesses and individuals who wished to fundraise for us. It is this attention that has highlighted our role within the community and what it is that we do. More importantly, it highlights the struggle that charities are under at the moment in the cost-of-living crisis.

Your grant ensured that we retained all our amazing staff and made all our changes possible. If we weren’t able to remain open, none of this could have happened.”  Christie Heath, Charity Business Manager