Do you care?

Plastics are affecting our waterways, rivers and oceans.

Dawn Wood (aka Smiffy) a former resident of South Woodham & a student at William de Ferrers School, does care. She has taken on this initiative as her personal challenge to raise awareness of the problems affecting our oceans.

How is she doing this? …she plans to row solo across the Atlantic. The challenge primarily is to raise awareness about the amount of discarded plastics in our oceans and how this is affecting the marine ecosystem. Dawn is also talking to the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton to develop a way of filtering sea water during her Atlantic row to determine how micro-plastics are affecting our oceans.

Dawn will be training on the River Crouch throughout the coming months. If you see her in ‘True Blue’ her very distinctive small rowing boat, give her a wave and shout some encouragement!

We sincerely hope that school children and local communities along the Crouch will be able to witness for themselves a dream being put into reality by a local lass.

This young lady is no stranger to ‘salt’ water. Dawn is a yacht master and skipper with the Essex Police Marine Unit. She’s made several trips to China as part of a team to train Chinese students in preparation for their own Ocean row.

The Challenge will commence in January 2019 when ‘Smiffy’ will leave Gran Canaria, to row solo unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean to Barbados, a crossing of 3000 miles.

For more details on all aspects of this Solo Atlantic Challenge please visit

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Walking for Health!

Heart and Sole is Chelmsford’s very own healthy walking scheme. Could you help our community put it’s best foot forward?

As a volunteer walk leader, you’ll be helping people in your community to get active and healthy, providing vital support that they otherwise might not get.

Our walk leaders love their roles and tell us great stories about how much they enjoy helping others to get active and get walking. Plus you’ll stay active, develop your leadership skills, get to know your local area and meet lots of new people.

All it takes is enthusiasm and a little time, as we will supply the training. You will only be asked to commit to covering at least two walks a month, but more if you are able. As a leader you will join a team of leaders who take regular groups of people walking around the beautiful parks and gardens Chelmsford has to offer, often finishing with a cup of tea! All walk leaders will be required to attend a one day Walk leader Course.

The next course is Thursday 13 September at Chelmsford City Council.

For more information, including how to apply, please contact Sally on 01245 250731 or email

PS. Why not combine your new healthy walk with our friendly Weight Loss Programme?  Find out more by contacting the Volunteer Centre.

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The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for volunteer groups was created by Her Majesty to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002 to recognise exceptional contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers.

Do you know an exceptional volunteer group positively impacting the lives of others in your local community?

Learn more about the award and how you can nominate by visiting:

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When Women Rule – National Democracy Week

Image may contain: 3 peopleWhen women enter politics, they make a difference. So why are so few in the highest ranks of power?

World Leaders have pledged to achieve women’s equal participation in politics by 2030. But there are concerns that progress is too slow to reach this United Nations goal. Currently only 23% of national parliamentarians are female.

Join Chelmsford City Life for a screening of ‘When Women Rule’ followed by a panel discussion as part of National Democracy Week across Essex.

The documentary, produced by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was created in an effort to understand the structural, legal and social barriers women face when entering public life, following women who went against the grain to become politicians.

Tickets are FREE, but registration is essential, click here for more information.

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Epilepsy Family Fun Day

Join Epilepsy Action for their Family Dun Day on Saturday 2 June from 10:30am to 4pm at Springhouse Sports and Social Club.

Meet other families, epilepsy nurses and doctors and join in the fun! Activities on the day will include Volleyball, badminton, swingball, face painting, table tennis, pool, a dedicated teenager space, welly womping, egg and spoon races and more.

This day gives families a chance to meet each other and make ongoing friendships; exchange what works for them; helps the children to talk to each other and to the professionals; have fun and games; meet the professionals in an informal way; find out about support available locally.

Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

This event is open for all families affected by epilepsy, a £5 booking fee per family applies.

To book your place click here, or contact Marie Edgar, South East Manager on 01708 479536.

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Funding to Support the Development of Small Charities and Social Enterprises (UK)

The Fore Trust has announced that the next funding round to support the development of small charities, social enterprises and community interest companies will open for registrations on the 3rd April 2018 at 10 am.

The Trust is offering development funding of up to £30,000 and business support to expand the capacity of small charities, social enterprises and community interest companies. To qualify applicant organisations will need to have a turnover of less than £1 million per year).

To apply for funding, organisations must register at the start of each funding round. Numbers for each round are capped and registration are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once the cap is reached, the round is closed. Once successfully registered, organisations are invited to submit a simple application.

The closing date will be the 30th April 2018 with funding decisions announced on the 13th July 2018.

Examples of previous grants awarded include:

  • Street Doctors who received a grant of £30,000 to enable the organisation to transition from being a small-scale student voluntary organisation to a national movement.  The funding enables the organisation to employ a part time CEO and to develop the infrastructure to formally contract with Youth Offending Institutions and Teams.
  • Art Against Knives which uses art as a tool for communication and personal development for 16-25yr olds received a grant of £27,510 to help fund the strategic development of the organisation to strengthen its longer-term sustainability.
  • Circle Crew for Change which is the UK’s first youth mutual organisation owned by young people, led by young people and for young people received a grant of £30,000 to fund a part-time Project Development Manager to drive the organisation at the critical transitional period in its development.

For more information and to apply, click here.

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Would your club/organisation like to access grant funding to increase the physical activity levels of the local community?

The Community Sport and wellbeing Team at Chelmsford City Council will be running two funding workshops on Monday 30 April led by Kerry McDonald a highly successful bid writer, who has accessed hundreds of thousands of pounds for community groups across the country.

These workshops will be for not for profit, clubs or organisations that have a committee and constitution and who would like to implement a project to increase physical activity levels in Chelmsford.

The three grant funds they will focus on are: The Big Lottery FundSport England Small Grants and Comic Relief Core Strength

The workshops will be held in the Marconi Room at the Civic Centre in Duke Street (on the corner of Broomfield Road and Coval Lane.

To attend one of the workshops please send an email to with the following information:

1. The name(s) of any attendees.

2. Your contact details – email & mobile number

3. The name of your club/organisation and what it does

4. Which workshop you wish to attend.

Please also send in answers to the following 3 questions:

1. What do you want to do?

2. How will this increase physical activity?

3. What will you spend the money on?

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ESAB Training 2018/2019

The Essex Safeguarding Board have a brand new Training Brochure available. To see the full list of courses on offer click here.

Some of thew upcoming training in Chelmsford includes:

Safeguarding Adult Basic Awareness Training | 23 April

This course is aimed at anyone working with adults in any setting. On completion of this course you will, be aware of legislation relevant to safeguarding, explore what is abuse including signs and symptoms, be familiar with the procedures for reporting abuse, discuss good practice procedures if someone discloses abuse, explore factors that may lead to abusive situations and or poor practice, know how deal with disclosures, preserve evidence and how to record incidents according to policy requirements.

Informal carers and safeguarding | 7 June

This course will look at the role of informal carers, how they can be supported in order to reduce safeguarding concerns as well as dealing with issues that have arisen.

Unwise decision an safeguarding | 21 May

This course will examine the perceived tension in adult safeguarding between the protective element – and people’s rights to control their own lives and choices.

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Limbless Association Race Night

The Limbless Association (LA) are hosting a fundraising evening, the LA Race Night at Reids Bar, Billericay on Friday 6 April 2018.

This year the Limbless Association are proud to be celebrating 35 years of supporting amputees and to have 5 runners representing them in this years London Marathon. It will be fun-filled evening with opportunity to have a flutter on some pre-recorded horse races that will be projected onto the big screen! You will have the chance to win cash prizes on each race.

For more information about the event and to book your tickets click here.

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Funding to Develop the Sustainability of Organisations Working with Unpaid Carers 

The Triangle Trust has announced that the next closing date for applications to its Development grants programme is noon on the 3rd May 2018.

During this funding round, the Trust will provide grants to not for profit organisations working with unpaid carers, The Trust would like to see applicants use these grants to develop sustainable income sources, so that when the grant comes to end the applicant organisation’s income will not be reduced. Grants are available for up to £80,000 over three years with a maximum of £35,000 in year one.

The Trust also holds a separate funding round for organisations working with the rehabilitation of offenders or ex-offenders. This is due to open for applications in October 2016.

Previous projects supported include:

  • A grant of £49,405 over three years to Carers of Barking to fund IT improvements to both the organisation’s website and the monitoring and reporting systems to improve efficiency, professionalism and ultimately the sustainability of the organisation;
  • West Norfolk Carers which received a grant of £37,082 to diversify its income and is using Triangle funding to cover the cost of a part-time Income Generation and Marketing Manager.

For more information see The Triangle Trust’s website.

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Small Charities – Self Assessment Tool and other FAQs on GDPR

If you are tempted to do nothing about GDPR please first read the ICOs recently published FAQs and take the Self Assessment Tool as soon as possible. This will clearly indicate if GDPR applies to you and your next steps.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new, Europe-wide law that replaces the Data Protection Act 1998 in the UK. It is part of the wider package of reform to the data protection landscape that includes the Data Protection Bill. The GDPR sets out requirements for how organisations will need to handle personal data from 25 May 2018.

For more information view the ico website here.


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Keep Warm, Keep Well During Cold Weather

As colder weather sweeps across Essex this week, NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (MECCG) is urging local people to take extra care. Prolonged periods of cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with long term conditions.

Dr Caroline Dollery, a local GP and Chair of MECCG said: “Encouraging people keep warm and healthy during the winter is extremely important as well as caring for those who need extra support at this time of year.

“When temperatures drop and weather gets extreme, please take some time to check on a neighbour or relative and make sure they are warm and well.”

Top five tips to keep warm and well:

1.    Heat your home well
By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18-21ºC) you can still keep your home warm and lower your bills. If you feel cold at night, use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but never use both together. It is especially important if you’re at home all day.
2.    Wear sensible clothing when outdoors
Wrap a scarf loosely around your mouth when outdoors – add a hat and wear shoes with a good grip, too. If you have a heart or respiratory problem like asthma or COPD, stay indoors during very cold weather – check our #Scarfie for more top tips.

3.    Eat well and have plenty of fluids
Food and water are vital sources of energy, and they help keep your body warm. Try to make sure you and your family have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.

4.    Keep your medicine cabinet well stocked
If you’re on medication, make sure you get your repeat prescriptions in time so you don’t run out. Check to make sure you have enough over the counter remedies for coughs and colds so you don’t need to leave home unless you have to.

5.    Look after yourself and others
On cold days try to avoid going outside. However, if you do need to go out, remember to wrap up warm and take care on slippery surfaces. If you have an older neighbour or relative, look out for them during the winter to make sure they are safe and well

If you’re worried about a relative or elderly neighbour you contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174 (8am-7pm every day).

If you’re concerned that the person may be suffering from hypothermia you should contact NHS 111.

For more information on keeping warm and well click here.

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Safeguarding & Reporting: Are you prepared?

It is near impossible to miss the headlines relating to our sector at the moment, but whilst it might be easy to consider these as ‘big charity’ issues, the problems surrounding Oxfam present important lessons for smaller members of the sector too.

All charities operating at an international, national or local level, have a duty not only to safeguard their beneficiaries, volunteers and staff but also to have clear and robust policies in place for reporting serious incidents. Last year the Charity Commission published concerns over the ‘significant under-reporting of serious incidents’ from charities, urging trustees to ‘act quickly and responsibly in reporting serious incidents as soon as they occur’.

Read more here.

Serious Incidents: What, Who & How?

The Charity Finance Group has published a guide for charities to support them in identifying what is deemed a ‘serious incident’, who should report the incident and how it should be done. Please read this and share amongst your network to build on the good work we know that many charities are already doing in creating a transparent and responsive sector.

Find it here.

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External Job Opportunity: Braintree District Mencap CEO

Braintree District Mencap Society is an independent charity, celebrating 62 years of supporting people with a learning disability and their families. We provide services, information, social events and general support for children and adults. Working within the community, the organisation is active across the Braintree District, including Halstead, Witham and the surrounding villages.

Braintree District Mencap Society are looking for a new Chief Executive Officer, in this role you will oversee and lead its further development. The Board wish to appoint a visionary, tenacious, resilient and motivational person who will join the Braintree District Mencap Society team, share their commitment to the delivery of quality services, work well within the existing organisation and who demonstrates the flair to lead the Society into the future.

A proven manager ideally with some experience of working with statutory and voluntary bodies. An understanding of the social care market is required. This could include winning and delivering on contracts, building partnerships and managing service delivery. Desirable experience would include income generation, knowledge of and empathy with people with a learning disability and experience of financial management that would help you grow the charity.

For the full advert and info see below.

Braintree District Mencap CEO advert and info

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Anglia Ruskin Newsletter- Spring edition

Anglia Ruskin have released their Spring Newsletter, jam packed with loads of interesting and free events for the next few months.

The Essex Book Festival runs from 1 March to 30 March and Anglia Ruskin are hosting a number of exciting events with various speakers attending the Chelmsford campus.

You can view the full newsletter below.

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NHS STP Consultation Summary

“We all want the very best health and care for you and your family.”

While there are many examples of excellent care in mid and south Essex, the NHS Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) know they could do better.

In this consultation, they are facing up to these challenges with an honest and meaningful discussion with you about how, together, they can improve. 

What is the plan?

Over the next five years, our vision is to unite our different health and care services around you and all of your potential needs, with physical, mental and social care working together.

You can view a summary of the consultation below.

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We need Cycle Riders!

Are you a keen cycle rider? Do you have a passion for cycling and want to get involved with rides in your local community? If so Chelmsford City Council and Women Time need your help!

They are looking for volunteer Ride Leaders for their cycle rides that take place on a Tuesday and Saturday morning.

You will be fully trained and mentored in how to lead and instruct group ride sessions.

If you are interested in this opportunity, contact Pauline or Julie now on 01245 250731 or email 

You can find alternative volunteering opportunities on our Latest Volunteering Opportunities page.

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World Cup Wine Tasting

Kids Inspire are hosting a World Cup Wine Tasting fundraising event at Ingatestone Hall on Thursday 22 February. With wines from around the world, all supplied by Ingatestone Wines and delicious artisan cheeses provided by Abigail’s Deli it’s an event you wouldn’t want to miss!

For more information have a look at the poster below, or contact Kids Inspire directly on 01245 348707

World Cup Wine Tasting

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Become a Volunteer Walk Leader…

Heart and Sole is Chelmsford’s free health walk scheme. Throughout the year their trained volunteer leaders take group walks around local parks and green spaces.

Without their volunteer walk leaders, the Heart and Sole walking scheme would not
be possible.

The training is FREE and will give you all the skills you require to act as either a
front leader, a middle marker or back marker during the walks.Walks take place during the week and at weekends.

Location: Civic Centre Chelmsford (Duke Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1JE)

Time: 9.30am-4pm

Date:Thursday 5th April 2018

FREE parking is available on request


Location: Civic Centre Chelmsford (Duke Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1JE)

Time: 9.30am-4pm

Date:Thursday 13th September 2018

For further information on Heart and Sole, please contact them directly:
01245 606979

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Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

InterAct are running a Youth Mental Health First Aid training course. The course is for you if you want to learn new skills and strategies, enhance your CV and if you care for or work with vulnerable young people (age 8 upwards).

What you say, how you say it , and how well you listen can have a profound impact on someone who is emotionally distressed or having a difficult time. Everyone can learn and benefit from YMHFA skills.
Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training is an interactive and practical training course to help you spot the early signs of a mental health problem. It will equip you with tools and techniques to help you, your family, friends and colleagues.

“Course very informative on all levels. Will be helpful, moving forward, in school environment to help support students with mental health difficulties”

“This course has been very informative and useful to benefit my family”

The course runs over four mornings: 9.30am—1.00pm—specifically for parent carers

Dates: 23rd Feb to 15th March Every Friday 2018

Venue: Board Room Moulsham Mill Parkway Chelmsford Essex CM2 7PX


Those who wish to attend over 2 days: 9:30 to 4:30

Dates: 23rd Feb & 8th March 2018

We require a contribution of £20 to cover course materials and to book your place
payable on the first session via cash or cheque.

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