£100,000 for essential support to life-changing charities

Staff from CARA

Four fantastic organisations have received grants totalling almost £100,000 to support hundreds of local residents.

The Braintree District and Eastlight Community Fund was set up in 2015 by Braintree District Council and Eastlight Community Homes with Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and has now awarded £1.1 million to local charities and causes.

Abberton Rural Training’s (ART) “lifeline” programmes help to support people’s mental health and save lives.

ART provides education and training in a range of land-based studies, to help vulnerable people to gain confidence, hope, qualifications and employment in an outdoor-setting. The £25,800 funded will help them to continue to support the disadvantaged, vulnerable and isolated, through supporting more people at their Cressing Temple site, providing transport for Braintree residents to various sites, developing a Halstead programme and tree-planting.

Jacqui Stone, ART Chief Executive Officer, said: “The current financial situation is having a huge impact on our participants. We served 94 free bowls of soup a week over the winter due to people attending who hadn't eaten for days. We are a lifeline to so many vulnerable and isolated people who depend on us to give them hope, get them out of the house, learn new skills, keep them active and healthy and to be able to access mental health support.”

£27,000 has been awarded to the Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse (CARA) to continue vital counselling sessions to people of all ages affected by sexual violence.

Helen Parr, Chief Executive Officer, said: “This is the third multi-year grant CARA has received from the Fund and we very much appreciate this continued support for our work. 

“The grant will contribute to the costs of our specialist sexual violence counselling service for people in the Braintree area - supporting around 120 victims and survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse.”  

Essex Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs has been funded £24,000 to provide events, activities and outdoor pursuits to pupils from three schools in Braintree who are disengaged and struggling.

Sue Pell, Club Support, said: “We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from this fund to enable us to deliver the Respect Project in the Braintree area.

“Since its inception in 2000, the project has made a huge difference to many young people. It has given opportunity for life changing experiences.”

Soul Food was started by The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Andrew with Holy Trinity Halstead during the pandemic to get hots meals to those who need them. It’s receiving £20,750 to continue to provide a weekly takeaway service, as well as sit-down community meals to anyone in need in Halstead.

James Green, Eastlight’s Community Investment Director, said: “We are committed to supporting people in our communities to feel safe, well and connected.  Many local organisations and charities have been hit really hard by the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis and that impacts on those they provide lifeline support to. We will continue to be here to help to make a real difference to the lives of local people.”

Cllr Frankie Ricci, Cabinet Member for Communities at Braintree District Council, said: “Community groups and initiatives such as these provide much needed support to residents of the Braintree District. I am glad we have been able to provide this important funding to help them continue at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is making it a difficult time for many.”

Andy Payne Worpole, Head of Programmes at Essex Community Foundation, said: “It is a tough time for local charities and voluntary groups as they try to cope with the rising cost-of-living and increased energy prices. 

“The funding that will be given to organisations over the next three years from the Braintree District and Eastlight Community Fund will hopefully help to ease their immediate financial concerns and enable them to plan their work over a longer period so they can continue to support their clients.”

To find out more about the Fund, visit www.essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk or call 01245 356018.