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New Year windfall for life-changing charities

New Year windfall for life-changing charities

Braintree District Mencap and Braintree Rethink Carers Support Group are among six invaluable local charities to benefit from grants totalling £135,000.

The money has been awarded from Braintree District and Greenfields Community Fund, set up by Braintree District Council and Greenfields Community Housing and managed by Essex Community Foundation. Grants are awarded from the Fund annually to support the work of local voluntary organisations and charities over a number of years, who are working to improve the lives of people living in the district.

Organisations to have been awarded a funding boost in this latest round are:

  • Home-Start Essex: £39,000 to expand a wellbeing programme that engages vulnerable families in social and physical activities to promote mental and physical health.
  • InterAct: £26,300 for workshops in Braintree schools aimed at raising the career aspirations of young people with learning disabilities and/or additional needs.
  • Braintree Rethink Carers Support Group: £15,000 to continue an art support group for people with mental health issues.
  • Braintree District Mencap Society: £13,426 to run a life skills programme for young adults with learning difficulties. 
  • Essex Boys’ and Girls’ Club: £30,000 towards an early intervention programme for 13-14-year olds aimed at increasing their ability to deal with life’s problems and become more resilient.
  • Carers FIRST: £12,074 to deliver a programme that promotes emotional and physical wellbeing for people that are caring for a loved one.

Yvette Wetton, chief executive of Braintree District Mencap Society, said: “Our life skills classes cover important topics including nutrition, budgeting, healthy relationships and how to keep safe both in the home and when out and about. Developing these skills will help people with a learning disability to increase their confidence and abilities and, for some, be an important part of enabling them to live more independently.”

Braintree Rethink Carers Support Group offers a non-judgmental, safe space for those with mental health issues and their carers to come together and create art. The £15,000 awarded will cover their rent costs and enable them to take members on trips.

Katrina Whittaker, who runs the group, said: “Having a friendly environment where our members can come on a regular basis and feel safe with people who understand them is so important.  They produce some amazing pieces of work and get a real boost from the outings, which include visits to art galleries and the seaside. Many of our members would never dream of taking these trips alone and it really opens up their world. We are so grateful for the funding boost”.

Councillor John Goodman, Chairman of the decision-making panel, said: “Braintree District Council is proud to be a part of this fund which is significantly contributing to the wellbeing and aspirations of local people. It is great that organisations can apply to receive funding over a number of years, as this enables them to plan and develop their services.”

Sandra Crosby, Greenfields’ Housing Director and panel member, said: “We know how vital these local causes are to so many of our residents, which is why we are very pleased to support them. I would encourage any group that is in need of funding to contact ECF.”

Local charities and voluntary organisations are invited to contact Essex Community Foundation’s grants team on 01245 356018 to talk about their work and potential funding needs. More information can be found at: