Grants tackle pandemic impact in Braintree district
Grants have been awarded to six Braintree-based charities to help hundreds of local people to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.
Parents who have struggled with loneliness, children who are anxious about returning to school and older people who have not been able to enjoy fun activities with others are among those who will benefit from the Braintree District and Eastlight Community Fund.
The fund, set up in 2015 by Braintree District Council and Eastlight Community Homes with Essex Community Foundation (ECF), has now awarded £1 million to local charities and causes.
The latest awards include £26,700 for Families in Focus, which provides advice and emotional support to Braintree families who have children with special educational needs or disabilities.
Families supported by the charity include those who have struggled with reduced income during the pandemic and many whose children have struggled to return to education because of increased anxiety.
Home Start Essex’s funding boost of £13,210 means 60 parents and carers in Braintree who are facing challenges with raising young children will attend weekly peer support sessions over the next two years.
While their children play, parents and carers, many of whom have struggled with isolation and loneliness during the pandemic, have the opportunity to connect with others while receiving support and enjoying well-being sessions.
The Wilderness Foundation’s Brave Futures programme, which will receive £38,400, offers group therapy out in nature to people of all ages who have experienced grief, trauma, addiction, isolation and other experiences which have affected their mental health.
A spokesperson from the charity said: “We are incredibly grateful to the Braintree District and Eastlight Community Fund for their support which will make a huge difference to so many vulnerable people who seek our support each year.”
The £15,000 grant awarded to Halstead Day Centre is a “tremendous boost” for residents aged 60 or over facing isolation, according to manager Veronica Harman. The grant will fund fun activities ranging from bingo games to music classes as well as morale-boosting trips to the centre’s beach hut in Brightlingsea.
A £26,841 grant will help Witham Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade turn 11 acres of forest near Twinstead into a space where children from across the region can discover the great outdoors. The funding will help make the area safe and accessible and allow the brigade to hire an education officer to put on activities such as “minibeast hunts” and building birdboxes.
Hearing Help Essex will receive £22,110 to help fund Hearing Help Sessions in the district, where trained volunteers clean and maintain NHS hearing aids while offering advice and support. Last year, the charity helped 597 of the 20,000 Braintree district residents with hearing difficulties and visited a further 67 homes to meet residents who could not travel to them.
James Green, Eastlight’s Community Investment Director, said: “Charities are doing brilliant work in Braintree district and it’s our privilege to support some inspiring organisations who are helping residents begin connecting again and recover from the impacts the pandemic has had on so many.”
Cllr Frankie Ricci, Cabinet Member for Communities at Braintree District Council, said: “The Braintree District and Eastlight Community Fund is a great example of partnership working and provides grants to wonderful causes throughout the district, helping to provide support to those who need it most as we work to recover from the disruption Covid has had to us all across the past two years. Along with our Councillor Community Grants, they are a great way of providing much needed funding to community groups and organisations.”
Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, said: “There are so many smaller, local voluntary organisations that work in the heart of Braintree communities. By working with the decision-making panel for this Fund, we are able to give many of them the financial support they need so they can either continue their work or expand it”.
To find out more about the Fund, visit www.essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk or call 01245 356018.