New year funding boost for life-changing charities

New year funding boost for life-changing charities
16th January 2020 Amanda Bhavnani
One man and his goat

Families struggling to afford food, lonely older people and those receiving help for anxiety and depression will be able to access continued support from local charities thanks to grants awarded from the Braintree District and Greenfields Community Fund.

The fund is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and was set up by Braintree District Council and Greenfields Community Housing to provide local voluntary organisations and charities with the opportunity to apply for funding annually.

In the latest round, grants totalling £108,720 have been awarded to four organisations over the next three years that address a wide range of issues:

  • Abberton Rural Training: £35,200 to provide outdoor rural skills training to people who are unemployed or have mental health problems in the Braintree District.
  • Braintree Area Foodbank: £40,000 to employ a full-time project manager to oversee the expansion of the foodbank.
  • Families InFocus: £20,820 to support local families that have children with disabilities or special needs.
  • Witham Town Luncheon Club: £12,700 for a lunch club that provides hot meals to older people three days a week.

Jacqui Stone, CEO of Abberton Rural Training, said: “Our rural skills training helps local people that suffer with mental health problems.  It gets them outside into the open air, being active and feeling proud of what they achieve. We also provide mental health counselling, career guidance and help to move closer to employment or further education.”

Dorothy Lodge, Funding Co-ordinator at the Foodbank, also expressed thanks for the grant saying: “We are delighted to receive this funding.  The demand for our services is growing and this money will enable us to expand our work providing emergency food and support to people in poverty.”

Karen Dillane, from Witham Town Luncheon Club, said: “Our club provides a wonderful opportunity for older people to come together to share memories and to make new friends.  Receiving this grant means we can continue to serve healthy, hot meals, three times a week.”

Sandra Crosby, Greenfields’ Executive Director of Housing & Customer Services, said: “We’re very proud to have the opportunity to improve lives through supporting these fantastic organisations to continue their essential work. Each of them truly makes a difference to the health and wellbeing of people in our communities.”

Councillor Wendy Schmitt, of Braintree District Council and panel member, said: “It is amazing to see the difference community groups and charities are making in our District to help improve the health and wellbeing of our residents. It was truly inspiring to sit on the judging panel and see the great work being done and to be able to support them by providing funding to develop their work.”

For more information about ECF and how to apply for funding, visit: or call 01245 356018.