Meet our Community Cares Fund grantees

In this section

Congratulations to all the successful charities and groups!

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 have awarded over £89,000 to 33 local groups in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. We expect this funding to help over 23,000 people in our region. Together with the previous funding rounds, we have awarded a total of £201,789.15 in the past year alone.

Once again, we received many applications for support as groups and charities adapt to new ways of working. As the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt, many are seeing a sharp rise in the numbers of people needing support.

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. 

ActivLives are a charity working across Suffolk to providing local support and motivating people to improve their own health and well-being. They have been awarded £2,980 towards a new 12-week chair-based exercise programme in Ipswich, Woodbridge and the Shotley Peninsula. The sessions will help to improve fitness and will also provide information on how to reduce falls at home.

Julie Stokes CEO said, “We are really excited that the East of England Co-op has part funded our new ‘Keep on Moving’ project, which will enable ActivLives to establish four new 12 week fun seated dance / chair-based programmes in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Woodbridge and one on the Shotley Peninsula. The activity will involve music and singing, dance steps and chair-based exercise that can help improve upper body strength, flexibility, improve mood and reduce social isolation and loneliness.”

“Although we currently deliver Otago Better Balance sessions in Ipswich & East Suffolk, when we speak to our members and older people who approach us for support, who are frail, have lost confidence in their mobility, perhaps living with Dementia and other long-term health conditions, they sometimes feel that the Better Balance sessions are 'one step' too far for them at that moment in time. This project will help us to introduce older people to exercise to either maintain their health and well-being or progress them on to the Better Balance sessions in the future. If there is enough interest from the local community, we aim to keep the sessions running after the initial 12 week programme.”

Inclusion Ventures Ltd, a charity which works to improve the lives of vulnerable young people from Jaywick and West Clacton, supporting them to discover a wider perspective and a positive future that fulfils their potential. The charity has been awarded a £4,500 grant to create a new community garden in Jaywick, Essex. The new space will be used by both children and adults to grow fruit and vegetables to help promote healthy eating and encourage appreciation for food.

Project Director Sarah Hannass, comments: “News of this funding was so welcome in January; what a great start to the year. It will enable us to bring some warmth and nourishment to a variety of activities for our children, families and seniors from our brand new community hub in Jaywick.” 

Creative Support for Vulnerable Families and Children is a charity based in Norfolk. They work to creatively promote and protect good mental health in vulnerable families, individuals and children. They have been given £2,000 to provide art therapy sessions for those in need in North Norfolk. 

A spokesperson has said: “Creative Support for Vulnerable Families and Children helps young people and adults who have in some cases undergone or are undergoing mental health trauma from various causes including self-harm, domestic trauma, bereavement, isolation, stress and life-limiting illnesses. We help heal trauma and reframe grief creating a sense of new meaning and purpose.

“The funding from East of England Co-op’s Community Cares Fund will enable us to provide art therapy sessions for vulnerable families and children in North Norfolk. The issues that have impacted the individuals vary from trauma to grief and despair. The causes of this can include relationship issues, educational problems or changes in domestic living environments, and we have seen a rise in referrals since the start of the pandemic. We are very grateful for this support.”

  • Community Action

    Leiston Town Pastors have been awarded £2,500 towards their regular community engagement work which also supports local people and businesses in the town. 

    Somersham Tennis Club have been granted £3,500 towards their new clubhouse; this new resource will provide a new community hub for everyone to enjoy. 

    Chapter15 in Thetford will be using their award of £2,787 for the creation of shower and laundry facilities for people who are homeless. 

    NR5 Community Hub in Norwich have been given £1,980 to support the huge range of activities they provide for local residents, including weekly play and stay, homework clubs and holiday meals. By bringing people back together, they are rebuilding resilience and social connections. 

    Castle Hedingham Parish Council are using our grant of £5,000 to create an accessible village garden for all residents to enjoy. There’ll be quiet spaces as well as vegetable beds to grow produce for sharing with the wider community. 

    Earls Colne Recreation Ground have been awarded £2,600 for refurbishing their sports and recreational facilities so that everyone can enjoy affordable activities. 

    Empire Theatre Trust CIO will be using their grant of £2,000 to offer free afternoon film sessions for those living with dementia, illness or similar personal circumstances in Braintree and Colchester.  

    Essex Carers Network CIC have been awarded £2,600 towards a pilot scheme which will provide arts and craft activities for families caring for those with learning disabilities in Tendring.  

    Harwich Festival of the Arts Trust’s grant of £4,340 will help with the creation of a new arts café for the whole community at the Harwich Arts and Heritage Centre.  

    Lawford C of E Primary School PTA have been given £1,500 to replace their old raised beds to support the children’s learning experience. All the children will have the opportunity to learn about growing, caring for and eating good, healthy food. 

    Toppesfield Community Village Shop will use their grant of £2,000 to create a new café for their rural community. They are aiming to provide fresh local produce and stock eco-friendly goods.  

  • Food Justice for all

    Emmaus Suffolk in Ipswich have been given £4,000 towards running a Cooking Club for their clients who are vulnerable, socially isolated, homeless or unemployed.  

    Firstsite in Colchester are using our grant of £2,500 to help run a holiday club providing food and activities for families facing challenging circumstances. Every day there’ll be a fun physical and creative activity for the children, alongside a hot nutritious meal. 

    Friends of Terling School have been awarded £2,250 to support the creation of a new breakfast club for the children. They’ll be able to enjoy a range of activities alongside a healthy breakfast so they’re ready to start the learning day. 

    Inclusion Ventures Ltd will be using their grant of £4,500 to create a new community garden in Jaywick. Residents of all ages will be able to grow and share fresh, healthy food to share with the community. 

  • Mental health and wellbeing

    ActivLives have been awarded £2,980 towards a new 12-week chair-based exercise programme in Ipswich, Woodbridge and the Shotley Peninsula. The sessions will help to improve fitness and will also provide information on how to reduce falls at home.. 

    Disability Advice Service (East Suffolk) have been granted £3,000 towards providing a Crisis Project Worker, who will support clients experiencing financial, social or personal crisis. 

    Eden’s Project in Sudbury will be using their award of £3,336.30 to run a range of positive wellbeing interventions, including creative sessions and counselling, for young people aged 11 - 25 years old.  

    East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice have been given £2,500 towards their bereavement support provision for family members who have lost a child or sibling. 

    Eye Opportunity Group are using our grant of £2,500 towards providing one-to-one help for children with complex needs. 

    Inspire Suffolk have been awarded £2,500 to support their wellbeing service, which provides counselling and early intervention for young people aged 10 - 25 years.  

    Leiston, Saxmundham & District Citizen’s Advice Bureau will be using their grant of £2,000 to develop tailored support for clients experiencing mental health difficulties such as budgeting and debt advice. 

    Rock, Paper, Scissors Arts CIC in Ipswich have been awarded £1,787.85 towards their creative workshops in collaboration with Suffolk Mind to enable children and young people to identify their wellbeing needs and develop their own tools to address them. 

    Walton Parish Nursing’s grant of £2,000 will fund a Mental Health Nurse to continue and develop their mental health support in the community. Demand for this service has increased rapidly since the start of the pandemic.  

    Creative Support for Vulnerable Families and Children in Norfolk have been given £2,000 to provide art therapy sessions with vulnerable families and children in North Norfolk. 

    Norwich City Community Sports Foundation will use their grant of £3,900 to fund their 'Run for Me' programme, which supports young adults to increase their mental and physical wellbeing through the power of sport. 

    Off the Record Counselling Service (Norfolk) have been given £2,500 towards providing affordable counselling sessions for vulnerable people.  

    Colchester Toy Library have been granted £2,981.50 towards their service, which provides high quality toys and stay and play sessions for all children, including specialist support sessions for those with special educational needs.  

    Headway Essex are using our grant of £3,000 to run social groups for adults with acquired brain injury living in north-east Essex, helping them to develop new networks and friendships. 

    Home-Start Colchester, Jaywick and Clacton will be using their award of £2,981.50 to create a new service called Time 4YOU, a space where parents and young people can openly share their story, describe their feelings and, together with professional support, create plans to make helpful changes.  

    Home-Start Harwich have been awarded £3,000 to set up a pilot parent and baby support group in Harwich and the surrounding villages. 

    Mistley Kids Club will be using their grant of £2,000 to expand childcare and respite for families of children who have special and additional needs in north-east Essex. 

    Wivenhoe Bumps and Babies have been awarded £725 towards restarting their sessions which offer support, guidance and friendship for new parents and families.