Here's a taster of the work that has been funded by the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF).
Finchingfield Guildhall restoration
Applicant: Finchingfield Guildhall Trust now Finchingfield Guildhall Charitable Incorporated Organisation
CIF grants awarded: £8,000 in 2007 / £7,500 in 2012
Other funders: Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, Braintree and Bocking Civic Society, D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, DHJ Currie Memorial Trust, Emmanuelle College, Essex Heritage Trust, Finchingfield Parish Council, Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, John and Ruth Howard Charitable Trust, Pocknell Studio, Sir Robert Kempe Education Foundation, Stephen Clarke 1957 Trust, The Rayne Trust, The Wolfson Foundation, The Worshipful Company of Grocers, Viridor Credits and many local villagers.
The project: The guildhall was built around 1470 by the Guild of the Holy Trinity to house a guild of priests and to provide a schoolroom for the boys of the village. The guild room has been used for a place of learning for more than five centuries.
The building fell into disrepair and following the second world war attempts were made to restore the site. Unfortunately, inappropriate materials were used and architectural details were covered up.
In 2008 the Finchingfield Guildhall Trust was formed to save the site from dereliction. After several years bidding for funding, the build started in earnest in 2011. Expert craftsmen were employed using ancient techniques, and local materials were sourced.
“Thanks to all our funding partners and everyone who has donated, the guildhall has gone from a building with serious problems to one with a great future as a stimulating heritage based facility for all.“
Des Fahy, Finchingfield Guildhall Charitable Incorporated Organisation
Gardens of Easton Lodge
Applicant: Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust
Project began: January 2017
CIF grant: £5,000
Other funders: The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust - generous donations and fundraising.
The project: To reconstruct the garden’s historic tree house, designed by one of Britain’s leading landscape architects, Harold Peto, in 1902.
The 20ft-high hexagonal, self-supporting wooden structure, with thatch or shingle roof, will rest within the branches of the ancient oak tree which held Peto’s original structure.
“We’d like to thank Essex County Council for it’s vital funding; with planning permission now in place we can’t wait to get construction underway of this wonderful tree house. We anticipate lots of interest in the project which I’m sure will attract even more visitors from Essex and much further afield.”
Sue Gilbert, Trustee
Brentwood Leisure Trust
Applicant: Brentwood Leisure Trust - Brentwood Centre, Brentwood
Project opened: July 2016
CIF grant: £20,000
What: The fund enabled the purchase of 12 new sports wheelchairs and two day chairs for members to get involved in numerous events, including Sportsfest and Wheelchair Basketball.
“The tournaments were a great success involving many local school pupils and since then the funding helped us to launch many Inclusive activities such as Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Fitness and Wheelchair Netball. It has allowed the Brentwood Centre to open so many more doors and remove barriers for a lot of the community.”
Mike Le-Surf, communications and press officer, Brentwood Centre
Bounty Club Harlow
Applicant: The Michael Roberts Charitable Trust (MRCT)
Project began February 2016
CIF grant: £17,912.
Other funders: 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, Essex Community Foundation and general donations from the public
What: To purchase a new refrigerated van to support local families/people on low income and others finding it difficult to make ends meet.
The project aims to help reduce companies’ low-dated/end-of-line surplus fresh food, which would normally be treated as wastage, by picking it up and redistributing it into the community via front-line professional care and support agencies.
“We picked up the new refrigerated Bounty Club van from Bristol Street Motors in Harlow, and on the following day it started its work for the charity, distributing free fresh food to local front-line agencies, schools, children’s centres, women’s refuges, homeless projects and other community charities and organisations.” Gary Knott, Director of Community Services, Michael Roberts Charitable Trust (MRCT)
Chelmsford Men’s Shed
Applicant: Chelmsford Centre Supporting Voluntary Action,
CIF Grant: c. £3,700
Launched November 2016
Other funders / supporters: Chelmsford City Council, Backhouse solicitors , QBE Foundation.
Men’s sheds offer a community space for men to get together and take part in practical activities such as woodworking, repairing items and various crafts. The new Chelmsford Shed aims to offer a space for older men to share skills, feel less isolated and become part of a community. There are a range of health benefits from being involved with a shed project.
“This project could not have got this far without the help and support of many local people. Our Shedders can now start to make the place their own.’ Lorraine Jarvis, Chelmsford CVS