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Christmas comes early for Essex not for profit groups

Organisations across the county are today welcoming good news from the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit (VVU) as the VVU confirms the recipients of its community grant programme.

Over 50 applications were received and after evaluation 20 organisations were awarded a combined total of £370,499.

The calibre of applications was so high, and the need for financial support within the voluntary sector so strong, that the Community Safety Development Fund of the Essex PFCC joined with the VVU to provide a larger combined pot of funds.

Not for profit local organisations could apply for up to £20k to deliver work that is proven to have a positive impact on priority issues for young people. These priority issues were identified over the last 12 months through running listening workshops with young people across Essex.

The issues young people deem priority are those relating to serious violence, exploitation or young people’s mental health. They were also keen to see more detached youth work, increased safer spaces for young people and opportunities for young people to learn life skills and participate in community based or volunteering session. The need for better communication between schools, youth groups and the police was raised and young people were keen to support projects that recognised this.

The grants awarded all support work within these priority areas and range from funding youth workers, counsellors and mentors through to youth club sessions, outdoor activities and educational sessions.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex and Chair of the Violence and Vulnerability Round Table said: “We know that if young people have the knowledge, the support and information, and the divisionary activities in place, they are less likely to become involved in crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour.

“The voluntary and not for profit sector work incredibly hard in communities with young people to provide them with this support. However, these organisations have been hit really hard financially over the last 18 months, while the need for their support within these communities has not gone away.

“After seeing the calibre of work happening across Essex to support our children, young people and their families, it was an easy decision to increase the level of funding to support more projects.

“I’m delighted we’ve been able to fund so many varied initiatives and I look forward to seeing the work in action and the difference it makes to so many. Congratulations to all involved.”

The funding is for projects running from January 2022 through to March 2023. A full list of organisations and their location is below.


AFI UK African families in UKYouth work in youth settings across Colchester and Tendring, looking at wellbeing, parenting, linking with other provision / positive activities and raising cultural awareness. Offering positive diversionary activities while addressing the issues that are impacting on the young people and providing them with safe spaces to explore and discuss. Linking with community leaders from a range of backgrounds (including Colchester Nepalese Society, Bangladeshi Women Association Essex, the Colchester Chinese Culture Society, and the Colchester Malayalee Community) to engage a wide range of young people and identify youth settings to include in the youth work.



£19,500Colchester / Tendring
ATF (Action Through Football)Work with young people in an area of Basildon, running sessions within the community, the project includes access to an NHS trained counsellor that provides instant access to support at crisis point; indoor/ outdoor safe spaces (linked to the local primary and secondary schools). Developed in response to a request from Basildon Community Safety Partnership.



Building Lives ProjectProvide 1:1 coaching and mentoring to children and young people aged between 9-18 years old, at risk of or involved in serious violence. Chelmsford based, though takes referrals from any part of the county.



Cara EssexIncreasing the counselling and therapeutic support provided to young people (aged 12-19) who have been victims of sexual violence. A specialist young person’s practitioner working on a one-to-one basis with up to 15 young people at any one time.



£20,000County Wide
Changing Lives, Harlow Supporting the development of the Community Hub for young people to feel safe and have access to sports activities.



Colchester UtdWorking with schools and youth clubs in areas of Colchester and Tendring (Clacton, Jaywick, Shrub End and Greenstead).  Creating a new workshop package to schools and youth clubs in the areas focusing on reducing crime and increasing awareness of the exploitation of young people. For the programme to also provide an avenue for young people to gain work experience through volunteering opportunities with the organisation and the football club. Using the brand of the football club to shape career pathways for participants of the workshops, with the long-term goal of creating new employees of the football club (linked with Kickstart).



£13,750Colchester / Tendring
Doddinghurst Road Church, BrentwoodSupporting the funding of a detached youth worker (funding being sought from other sources to sustain for three years – now confirmed), working to build relationships with disadvantaged young people, aimed at those young people most at risk of exploitation. Including through pre-existing work, for example Brentwood Foodbank. Developing new projects that promote greater communication and positive engagement between the police, youth groups and schools.£20,000Brentwood
Inclusion Ventures, Tendring Working with young people in their communities, Jaywick and West Clacton. To include supporting individual young people in the steps back into employment or education; working closely with Police children and young people officer in the provision of activities; weekly night cafe for the older young people exposed to drug culture and the violence that arises around it; and respond to young people’s suggestions for diversionary activities.



Kids InspireHealing Connections – early help therapeutic services to children and young people who are at an increased risk of engaging in violence/ crime. With referrals from health, social care, police and education sectors. Support sessions delivered by qualified, accredited therapists. Countywide offer.



Maldon CVSSupporting young people in Maldon through The Maldon Power of Gaming project, to build social connections and confidence through gaming. The project is aimed at 13 – 19 year olds with sessions in a social environment (online and in person) with sessional workers who are there to help the young people feel comfortable. Power of Gaming was a project set up by a local computer business in 2019 though stopped due to Covid, lessons learnt from this earlier work have been captured and this work incorporates these.



Motivated MindsWorking with the communities of Basildon, to raise awareness of the “HAPPY Hub” as a safe space for young people; dedicated youth club sessions for children and young people; workshops for young people on staying physically safe and positive relationships. Along with building partnerships with police and other professionals to use the space for delivery of talks to young people and parents.



Open DoorDeveloping Social Isolation project aimed at Care Leavers, 16-21 year olds, living in Thurrock. The project provides regular group meetings which involves a structured programme of support including, independent living skills, social activities, guidance and support about keeping safe, healthy & unhealthy relationships, Looking after their mental health and community volunteering. As well as help with budgeting, and employment and training opportunities. The project aims to help young people build new networks within their own communities as well as new networks amongst group members. Mentoring supports those young people who find group activities more of a challenge.



Outhouse EastSupport and access to specialist counselling for those vulnerable or at risk, with a focus on  LGBTQ+ young people, whose experiences are often impacted because of their sexuality or gender. Colchester based, covering north Essex. The work includes drop-in services in schools to reach out to young people, as well as raising awareness of support organisations and services.



£12,615Colchester – north Essex
ScoutsFor a “Growth and Development Officer” for 15 hours per week for 15 months, to support Essex Scouts in their growth and development of new provision in areas of need, so more young people at risk within communities can access Scouting and its activities. The work includes recruitment and support of local adults, Young Leaders (14-18); reaching out and providing taster sessions for young people and adults in communities in need of provision; offering the 4 Week Challenge to identified communities.  Developing high quality and inspiring activity programmes – where young people can take chances and learn from this in a safe environment.



Southend UnitedEarly intervention and early education for children in years 5 and 6 at primary schools in Southend, with a focus on raising awareness and understanding of the dangers of getting involved with drugs and gangs. The project includes improving the awareness and understanding of these issues amongst parents, with a focus on social media. Workshops and events will be delivered in targeted schools. In addition, for a large-scale event at Roots Hall stadium aimed at increasing overall awareness of the project.



Teen Talk HarwichTendring – working with 16 –25 year olds and 10-11 year olds, (year 6) age ranges. Responding to issues from ‘Youth Voices project’.  To revisit the groups which took part in the “Youth Voices project” and develop youth led ideas in response to the issues identified. As part of this to continue to develop relationships with young people through schools and through detached youth work, creating awareness of existing services and focus on how young people can get involved. Examples of the issues identified, in the Tendring area, “feel a lack of role models and positive community members that young people can talk to” and “want more community based activities”.  including “feel a lack of role models and positive community members that young people can talk to” and “wanted more community based activities”.



The Children’s SocietySupporting the development of an early intervention referral pathway and group work programme for young people who are stopped and searched and are found to be in possession of cannabis (and not covered by current provision). With an offer to the young people referred into the service a one to one assessment to understand their life as they experience it as well as identify barriers to engagement: and participation in group sessions.  For the sessions to focus on and allow the young people to explore: associated risks and consequences and the health impacts of cannabis use; physically and mentally; harm reduction methods and ways to stop the use of cannabis, including advice on diversionary activities; peer pressure/grooming behaviours – what forms these can come in. Countywide offer.



£20,000County wide
The Wilderness FoundationProviding wilderness therapy, aspects from of counselling along with environment-focused activities, centred around a nature-based experience. To provide intervention programmes for those who have experienced youth/gang violence. The approach includes outdoor activities led by an outdoor facilitator offering training and skills in bush craft techniques, camp craft, outdoor volunteering such as tree planting or conservation; visiting specialist support in areas such as money management, employability training; and onsite counsellor to provide additional help to individuals in the group, for example to support those who have experienced trauma. Countywide offer.



Waltham Abbey Youth 2000Providing support for young people at King Harold Academy, (Epping Forest) and sessions at Waltham Abbey Youth 2000 hub, Brooker Road for young people and their families. Working with young people, either through self-referral or from the school, to identify patterns of behaviour and support through counselling. Also providing arts, crafts, and mindfulness sessions as part of a Parent Drop-In facility, giving parents the opportunity to socialise with other parents, have the support from their peers and reduce their stress levels.



£10,000Epping Forest
Canvey Island Yellow DoorWorking with young people between the ages of 11 and 25 in Canvey Island. To provide a youth worker to support young people through one-to-one mentoring and supporting the provision of a range of clubs and activities which will provide young people with safe spaces and offer them informal education on a range of issues, including substance misuse, internet safety, criminal exploitation and healthy relationships£20,000Canvey Island