Community Cares Fund grants recipients

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Meet our Community Cares Fund grants recipients

Congratulations to all of the local groups and charities who were awarded a grant through the East of England Co-op Community Cares Fund earlier this year!

As a co-operative, we've always supported our local communities. By working together, we aim to make life better for everyone. We’ve supported the work of these local groups and charities because we believe that they share this vision and can help people in our communities to thrive.

We awarded over £112,000 to 30 local groups in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Community Cares Fund was very oversubscribed for the first round as many organisations re-opened and expanded their services as a result of the Covid pandemic. It was clear to us that many were in urgent need for support, so we responded by bringing the first two funding rounds together. 

Meet three of the groups we've been able to help through the Community Cares Fund and click on the themes below to see the full list of groups we've helped so far. 

REACH, a charity based in Haverhill, Suffolk which aims to lift people out of poverty, received £5,000 towards the cost of expanding their foodbank provision across rural West Suffolk and North Essex. The funding is going towards helping residents of rural areas who struggle to access foodbanks. REACH has already started making healthy food boxes available to these isolated families through opening further hubs in rural areas, allowing both an in-person and delivery service. The charity will also provide support to help these families to get on top of their financial difficulties so that they don’t have to rely on food boxes anymore. 

Jo Goodhall, Community Outreach Adviser at REACH said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you from all of us at REACH here in Haverhill to the East of England Co-op Community Cares Fund for their very generous donation towards our work.  

“Every food box that we give out and every home visit that we make to people is making such a massive difference in people’s lives. People who live in rural areas, people who live in smaller villages surrounding our community who don’t have transport are so overwhelmed that we’re able to go out and see them and help them in whatever situation they’re facing.” 

Ferriers Barn provides a range of activities for adults with disabilities from their day centre in rural Essex, near Bures. Ferriers Barn received £4,000 to help with some essential upgrades to the centre where they run activities including cookery, woodwork, pottery, gardening and arts and crafts. 

Nicola Goodman, Administrator at Ferriers Barn said: “The grant the East of England Co-op provided was a god send, we had to close last year due to Covid-19 and since reopening have had to change the way in which we work, including more ventilation. 

“Our existing heating system was antiquated and ineffective, not to mention noisy. We froze in the winter. We have used the grant money to replace the heating with wonderful infrared heating, which is highly efficient and silent. The difference is incredible. We are able to have the doors and windows open and still stay snug and warm. 

“We honestly cannot thank the East of England Community Cares Fund enough for this grant, it means we can operate safely and still make sure our members are comfortable at all times.” 

Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing (Minidonks), a Norfolk based charity that brings gentle and friendly mi niature donkeys to community groups, special needs groups and dementia groups to help with wellbeing, received just over £2,000 to help improve their IT equipment.  

The pandemic meant that the charity was unable to do their in-person visits and, as many of the users they support are in 'at risk' groups, volunteers worked hard to maintain engagement by digital means. Developing virtual visits has become a key part of the Minidonks service and this funding will allow them to enhance the quality of their virtual visits. 

Sarah McPherson, Founder and Managing Director of Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing said: "We would like to thank the East of England Co-op for their generous grant, which will enable us to upgrade our IT equipment with the intention of being able to film and edit videos so that when we can't get out to visit care homes etc, we will be able to send them video messages from the Minidonks. We would not have been able to do this without the support of the East of England Co-op. Thank you from the bottom of our Minidonk Hearts." 

  • Community Action

    Ferriers Barn in Essex were awarded £4000 towards the adaptation of facilities to ensure activity can continue for adults with learning difficulties.

    The Victor Batte Lay Foundation in Colchester were awarded £5000 towards the creation of arts activities within a new community hub in the town centre. Working with Community 360 they are planning an exciting creative programme of activities appealing to all ages and backgrounds.

    Hive in Sudbury are looking to purchase the former United Reformed Church and were awarded £5000 towards the cost of creating this new community hub for the town.

    Ipswich BMX Club have been awarded £3,119 to install a disabled ramp for their new Clubhouse.

    Leiston United Church are looking to make the community hall more accessible and have been awarded £5000 towards the cost of a disability ramp.

    Suffolk Artlink who are based in Walberswick have been awarded £3,980 to build a ‘virtual venue’ to share their creative activities with more people online.

    Woodbridge Tide Mill have been awarded £1,041 towards improvements to make visits for SEND families and individuals welcoming, accessible and inclusive.

  • Food Justice for all

    We awarded ENYP in Norwich £3000 to provide families and vulnerable groups with food through their Picnic Project.

    Top Banana who support people in the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston area have been awarded £5000 to provide a series of free family cooking sessions during school holidays.

    We awarded £4,953 to Access Community Trust in Lowestoft who are looking to produce 6 videos and hold 6 livestreaming sessions to inform, support and educate disadvantaged local people identified through the Pink Orange food poverty project.

    REACH have been awarded £5000 towards the cost of expanding their foodbank provision across rural West Suffolk and North Essex, targeting rural residents who need food but struggle to access foodbanks.

  • Mental health and wellbeing

    Age Concern, Colchester & North East Essex have been awarded £5000 towards re‐establishing pop‐up dementia cafes across Colchester and Tendring to aid the mental heath and wellbeing of carers.

    We awarded £5000 to Colchester & Tendring Youth Enquiry Service towards the development of counselling services for young people in Colchester whose mental health has been affected by the pandemic.

    The Dance Network Association CIC in Colchester have been awarded £5000 towards the creation of dance classes and a social programme for older adults, people living with Dementia and Parkinson's and their families.

    Build Charity covering Norwich and the surrounding area have been awarded £3,784 to reinstate their activities including dance, circuit‐training, swimming, walkabouts that encourage and promote healthy lifestyles benefitting the long‐term mental and physical health for people with disabilities and complex needs.

    £3,342 was awarded to Gatehouse Caring in East Anglia to deliver an online Mindfulness for Later Life course for Norfolk residents over the age of 65.

    During lockdown Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing organised virtual visits. They have been awarded £2,059 to support the expansion of the service.  

    Nelson's Journey based in Norfolk have been awarded £3,648 to support the work of their Child Bereavement Support work.

    New‐U Enterprises provide support for unemployed young people and have been awarded £3,500 to run workshops to improve confidence, self‐esteem and develop employability skills.

    Wellspring Family Centre in Dereham were awarded £5000 to support the running costs of the Well‐come project helping people recovering from mental illness.

    BSEVC Mid Suffolk have been awarded £2000 towards their Later Life Community service which offers and activities to improve wellbeing, reduce loneliness and social isolation amongst older people.

    Christian Youth Ministries has been awarded £4,191 to support students and teaching staff at Chantry Academy in Ipswich.

    We awarded £2,500 to Family First Ipswich so they can continue to support vulnerable families via their mentoring programme and parenting courses.

    Footsteps Walking With You in Suffolk have been awarded £2500 towards increasing their counselling provision for 11‐25-year-olds and support for their families.

    Through their Call Companions service, Re-engage helps tackle isolation and loneliness in older people across Suffolk. They have been awarded £2000 to continue to run the service.

    Riding for the Disabled (Woodbridge & District Group) have been awarded £3,458 to adapt their 'Pony Time' activity to meet the needs of those living with dementia and to use their Horse Care & Stable Management activities to encourage more children with social, emotional and mental health needs to attend.

    We awarded £3,753 to Suffolk Family Carers to help family carers have more understanding of how to look after their own mental wellbeing, to help family carers be able to connect with their communities and each other, to help family carers understand trauma, identify the signs, and be able to use coping strategies.

    The East of England Faiths Agency CIC have been awarded £3000 towards the production of a game to be used in care homes in Suffolk to improve mental wellbeing.

    The Mix in Stowmarket have been awarded £3,449 to support the Greenlights mentoring project to deliver 1:1 mentoring for local primary school pupils aged 9‐11 struggling with anxiety, social skills, emotional management and poor resilience.

    The Seagull Lowestoft CIC have been awarded £3,720 towards the running of their Girls’ Confidence and Wellbeing group to help girls aged between 10-15 years to build their confidence and self-esteem and to improve their mental health.