Colchester Nursery receives £5,000 donation from East of England Co-op’s Community Cares Fund

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A nursery in Colchester has welcomed a £5,000 donation from the East of England Co-op to help fund its work supporting children with special educational needs.

Stepping Stones Play and Learn Group is one of 15 local charities which have each received grants of between £1,800 and £5,000 from the East of England Co-op's Community Cares Fund which is expected to benefit over 13,000 people across Essex.

The East of England Co-op is donating £220,000 in total to 54 charities across East Anglia.

Stepping Stones Play and Learn Group, which caters for children with and without special educational needs, will use the grant to fund the salaries of key workers who support children with complex additional needs.    

This includes children with disabilities, children from disadvantaged backgrounds and any child struggling to be included within an educational setting. The funding ensures the nursery can continue to help families that would be otherwise unable to attend an early years setting.

Liz Taverner, Senior Administrator at Stepping Stones, said: “We’re so grateful to have the support of East of England Co-op. The roles of our key workers and their impact on the lives of the children and families they support cannot be understated.

“It is vital that every child, no matter their background or ability, has the opportunity to benefit from early years education. With this funding, I have no doubt that we will be able to continue to make a real difference in the lives of those in our local community and beyond.”

Other recipients of the funding in Essex include, but is not limited to, the British Gymnastics Foundation, Proud of Mersea, St Helena Hospice, and Braintree Rethink Art & Social Group.

Each year, the East of England Co-op invests part of its profits through its Community Cares Fund to support local charities and community initiatives across East Anglia. Since its launch in April 2020, the co-op has donated over £1million through its Community Cares Fund and this support has helped over 95,000 local people. 

Doug Field OBE, Chief Executive of the East of England Co-op, added: “We’re pleased to support Stepping Stones and we hope our donation will help them continue to deliver their important work.

“For over 155 years, our East of England Co-op has proudly served our communities. We strive to make a real difference by supporting those in need. Our focus has always been, and always will be, on strengthening our local communities. This latest round of funding from our Community Cares Fund will directly benefit over 43,000 people.”

For more information about the East of England Co-op’s Community Cares Fund or to apply for funding visit: