When Community360 (C360) marked their 50th anniversary in 2018 they had cause to celebrate their achievement but wanted to honour this very special birthday in a way that had the community at heart.
They chose to embark upon a programme of year long fundraising events to raise money for local community groups in Colchester and Braintree.
The Community Chest Fund was set up and throughout their 50th year, staff and volunteers organised and supported over 50 events to raise money. From sponsored walks to skydiving, quizzes and public engagement events a whopping £10,000 was raised!
Local groups were asked recently to bid for projects for a share of the C360 Community Chest Fund, a total of 17 bids were received totalling £28,779.76, a sum way beyond the pot of £10,000!
“We decided we had to be fair about how we distributed the funds.” Said Tracy Rudling, CEO at Community360. “After deliberation we thought the best way to decide on how the funding was awarded was to set up a panel consisting of staff who had been involved in the fundraising. They were then tasked to select 8 groups; 4 from Colchester and 4 from Braintree that would go through to a ‘presentation event’ at our Colchester and Braintree Fundraiser Network Groups.”
She added: “It was a tough decision, with so many worthy charities and volunteer groups in Essex. But I am delighted to say that all 8 shortlisted projects received a share of our fund. The added benefit of us doing this piece of work has also enabled us to identify other pots of funding that are available through One Colchester that could support excellent Asset Based projects enabling the C360 team to support their capacity and helping even further.”
In Colchester £2,200 was awarded to ‘Wellies On’ for their friendship project called Together on Tuesdays where socially isolated people come together to make friendships.
“I can’t thank Community360 enough for our award.” Said Ellie Goff, Managing Director of Wellies On.
She added: “Our Together on Tuesdays Project will now benefit from a lovely cosy room where people visiting can come together and cook, eat good food and socialise. We were in desperate need for heating and this money has enabled us to buy heating units for our rooms. Many of the people who visit our project are already exposed to the cold, they could be homeless or have a home they cannot afford to heat. After a day out on the farm too at least our visitors can now come into the warm and enjoy our facilities.”
“Special thanks have to go to Joanna Bryant an Occupation Therapist who has been on a role emerging placement with us from the University of Essex. She tendered and pitched on our behalf. Her efforts will now make a difference to our projects development.”
The runners up who also received a share of the funding were MS-UK for their therapies project, Ability Through Sport for their disability sporting activities and the 1stMonkwick Guides to increase their number and activities for girls living in the Monkwick area.
In Braintree £2,350 was awarded to Carers FIRST to run social groups for socially isolated people across Colchester and Braintree.
“Carers FIRST are delighted that representatives from other local community and voluntary organisations voted our project the winners of this award.” Said Karen Johnson, Trust and Foundations Manager at Carers FIRST.
She added: “However, we are all winners and what all the organisations do is amazing to support and help local residents. Funding means that we will have resources to deliver ongoing wellbeing activities, events and training to support unpaid carers across Braintree and Colchester. We are looking forward to working with Community360 in the future”.
The runners up who also received a share of the funding were Baby Stuff Braintree to provide clothing and baby equipment to parents in Braintree, the First Stop Centre to provide a drop-in service for disadvantaged people in Braintree and All in the Making to provide woodland and conservation activities on land in Halstead.
“I’m very proud of the Community360 team and what we have achieved.” Said Tracy. “One of the reasons we set up the Community Chest Fund was to be able to help some good causes and charities in Essex, and I am delighted we have been able to achieve this. However, without the dedication and commitment from our staff and volunteers this would not have been possible, they really went the extra mile and what a fabulous legacy we have created in our 50th year.
Photo 1 Shows: Left: Ellie Goff, Wellies on Right: Bridget Tighe, Community360
Photo 2: Carers FIRST