Previous Community Cares Fund grants recipients

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Meet some of our previous Community Cares Fund grants recipients

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.

Since the launch of the Fund in April 2020, the total amount given to organisations totals £591,000, which has been donated in grants of between £1,000 and £5,000. These are given to organisations supporting one of our three key focus areas – community action, food justice, and mental health and wellbeing. 

Click below to see the local good causes we have supported through the Fund and find out more about the projects they have delivered.


  • Essex

    Age Concern, Colchester & North East Essex have been awarded £5,000 towards re‐establishing pop‐up dementia cafes across Colchester and Tendring to aid the mental heath and wellbeing of carers.

    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. 

    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.  

    We awarded £5,000 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 £5,000 towards the creation of dance classes and a social programme for older adults, people living with Dementia and Parkinson's and their families.

    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.  

    Ferriers Barn in Essex were awarded £4,000 towards the adaptation of facilities to ensure activity can continue for adults with learning difficulties.

    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. 

    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.  

    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. 

    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. 

    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. 

    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. 

    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.  

    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.

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

  • Suffolk

    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.

    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.

    Communities Together (formerly BSEVC) have been awarded £2,000 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.

    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. 

    The East of England Faiths Agency CIC have been awarded £3,000 towards the production of a game to be used in care homes in Suffolk to improve mental wellbeing.

    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. 

    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.  

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

    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 £2,500 towards increasing their counselling provision for 11‐25-year-olds and support for their families.

    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.

    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. 

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

    Leiston United Church are looking to make the community hall more accessible and have been awarded £5,000 towards the cost of a disability ramp.

    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.

    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.

    Through their Call Companions service, Re-engage helps tackle isolation and loneliness in older people across Suffolk. They have been awarded £2,000 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.

    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. 

    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.

    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. 

    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.

    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.

    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.  

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

  • Norfolk

    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.

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

    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. 

    We awarded ENYP in Norwich £3,000 to provide families and vulnerable groups with food through their Picnic Project.

    £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.

    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. 

    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. 

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

    Top Banana who support people in the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston area have been awarded £5,000 to provide a series of free family cooking sessions during school holidays.

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


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."