The first round of charitable grants to improve the health, well-being and life chances of local people in the Braintree District have been awarded – providing nearly £95,000 to five organisations who transform people’s lives through the work they do.
The Braintree District and Greenfields Community Fund, which is managed by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), was set up in 2008 by Braintree District Council and Greenfields Community Housing.
The charitable fund provides voluntary and community organisations with the opportunity to apply for funding of up to £40,000 (distributed over a time period of up to three years) to support projects which help to either improve health and wellbeing, increase aspirations and opportunities, or develop skills through training.
The first five groups to receive grants are:
- Braintree Area Foodbank
£30,000 towards the running costs of providing food and support to those in crisis
- Families InFocus (Essex)
£20,500 to enable support to families of children and young people with disabilities or special needs
- Witham Town Luncheon Club
£13,000 to help support the three-day operation of the Witham Town Luncheon Club for older people
- Home-Start Witham Braintree & Halstead
£16,970 to provide additional support to vulnerable families to address poor mental health
- Relate North Essex & East Herts
£13,746 to provide a Conflict Resolution Programme.
Karen Dillane, Witham Luncheon Club cook said, “Isolation can be a real problem for the elderly so we are thrilled to receive this funding boost because it means the club can continue to provide not only hot, nutritious meals three times a week but also a friendly place for pensioners to socialise.”
Pat Kent, the Family Support Adviser with Families InFocus for Braintree District, said: “Having children who have disabilities or special needs can put strain on a family. Support for the parents is important. Our drop-in sessions offer professional and peer support where knowledge can be shared, isolation can be reduced and parents are given “me time pampering” with our alternative therapist. This enables them to relax and restores a sense of balance – thus enhancing family life.”
Cllr Wendy Schmitt, Chair of the Fund Panel for the first year, is looking forward to seeing the groups benefit from the grants given:
“I’m really pleased with the range of organisations we’ve been able to help via this first round of funding from people in crisis, to families of children and young people with disabilities and families experiencing mental ill health. It shows that funds like this one really can help us to promote resilient communities and I’m hugely looking forward to seeing the impact of the funding on the projects and how it will help and support residents to live well in our district.”
The Fund is managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF), which has a strong track record of managing funds and channelling grants to support voluntary and community activity in Essex. Since the fund was established more than £1 million has been distributed to local voluntary and community organisations working to improve the lives of people in the Braintree District.
Organisations in need of funding can contact the ECF grants team on 01245 356018 to discuss a potential application or visit www.essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk for more information.