When we realised the difficulty of choosing one single charity from so many deserving causes, and the challenge of impacting on a whole region, our Community Fund Initiative was born. Now in its 11th year, in 2023, we’re awarding a record sum of £75,000 to charities, community groups, and volunteer organisations all across the East of England.
Working in partnership with the Essex Community Foundation (who administer our fund), with great pleasure we awarded our first £50,000 at the start of the year across these 18 recipients; 1st Chesterford Scout Group, Bishop’s Stortford Child Contact Centre, Bishop’s Stortford Youth Project, Braintree District Mencap, Colchester Gateway Club, Dig It Community Allotment, Herts Inclusive Theatre, Lighthouse Furniture Project, Newport Meet and Eat, Next Chapter, Rehabilitation, Education & Assessment Care for Hippotherapy, SNAP Special Needs & Parents Ltd, Stansted Mental Health Initiative, Support 4 Sight, Tabor Centre, The OutHouse, Wilderness Foundation, and Heads2Minds.
Our panel had the difficult task of selecting the recipients from an extensive list of entries, they were struck by the extraordinary work they do to offer support and care to their communities.
If you know a charity or community group who would be eligible, applications for our next round of funding opened on the 28th of April, find out how you can apply here.
You have to see it to believe it they say, and our community business partner Claire Hunnable is currently enjoying the privilege of visiting the first of our 2023 fund recipients to see how it's supporting them. She has been amazed at the dedication, and constant drive to improve the support they offer the people in our communities.
On visiting one charity, our CEO Colin Field remarked; “Without these vital organisations communities would suffer to quite a serious degree – what they bring to individuals, families and communities is totally invaluable.”
Meet the recipients
Ware Inclusive Theatre
A national award-winning charity; offering a vibrant programme of inclusive theatre and arts activities for all.
“We believe that everyone should have opportunities to enhance their lives through creative and educational activities in environments that are positive and welcoming to all, regardless of people’s background or abilities”.
Thirst Youth Cafe
A safe space, run by Bishop's Stortford Youth Project for young people to come, eat, relax, play and enjoy each other’s company whilst also being a place where they can be creative, receive support and advice from experienced youth workers and positive role models.
A charity which specialises in Equine Assisted Therapy.
“At REACH we work hard to provide a bespoke service to our clients and are now able to help those with physical and learning disabilities, Mental Health Challenges and those finding it hard to access mainstream education. Our centre provides a natural environment and an alternative learning experience for those not wanting the pressures or confines of a classroom. We provide physiotherapy, Therapeutic riding, Equine facilitated learning and alternative education.”
The Lighthouse Furniture Project
Re-purposing furniture for those that have no way of affording it otherwise, and helping save on household waste
“The Lighthouse Furniture Project work hard in the community to provide new and refurb goods to people in need and furniture to people on low income. Our Company works with others to provide food parcels and the relevant items to make a house a home. With a bed to sleep, somewhere to wash their clothes and something to cook a meal, it gives a person or family the starting blocks to build a future.”
SNAP supports over 3,800 families who have children with additional needs or a disability in Brentwood and has been a vital part of the community for almost 30 years.
“We literally do not have the words for what SNAP has done, and means, for us as a family.”