What are you looking for?


On 1 July 2020, we merged with Greenfields Community Housing to form Eastlight Community Homes. Click here for the latest information on Covid-19 service changes.

Apply For a Grant

We enable independent living by encouraging our communities to thrive.

What is Colne Community Builders?

We have a £20,000 pot of funding available through Colne Community Builders to registered charities and other official not-for-profit groups that can make a positive and lasting impact in the communities in Essex and Suffiolk where Colne has homes.

Who can apply?

We are keen to hear from organisations of any size. Unlike many other grant makers we do not restrict our funding to particular ‘themes’ such as disability, employment or the elderly; we encourage innovation and believe that local people know best what’s needed in their neighbourhood.

We’re particularly interested in proposals that engage volunteers, improve the quality of your service, help you reach more people, can attract matched funding from elsewhere or involve working with other groups.

Who decides?

Our people, customers and board members all have an opportunity to help us decide which applications we approve . This ensures people who know our communities and residents shape the decisions.

When do I apply?

We have one or two grants rounds a year and we communicate about our deadlines in advance. 

How can I find out more?

To  find out more or apply contact our partners Essex Community Foundation which manages Colne Community Builders for us:

Call: 01245 356018
Email: grants@essexcf.org.uk

Who has benefited?

Last year Colne Community Builders gave four grants to projects that helped an estimated 1,925 people. Our contributions secured additional support worth approximately £98,000, and once the grants came to an end, three out of four recipients reported being confident of their project’s survival beyond 12 months.

We awarded:

  • Colchester Foodbank, holistic training package for clients and volunteers £4,000
  • CIC Living Room, provide decluttering and home organisation £2,400
  • Hythe Community Centre, Older Person's Community Inclusion Project £4,500
  • YMCA, youth on Greenstead project  £4,000
  • Only Cowards Carry, schools training programme £2,500
  • Disability 4 Sport, pan-disability clubs £1,150
  • Nurture Dogs, establishing therapy farm £4,000

How Colne Community Builders helps

"We were so grateful to Colne for their start up grant, as well as the practical advice they gave us to help launch our pan disability sports club. We now have thriving U/12, U/16 and adult sessions as well as a big name patron in local Paralympian Zoe Newson!”

Abigail Saxon, Founder and Director, Disability4Sport 

“Colne’s approach to grant funding is highly refreshing. Instead of dictating the agenda they support the best sustainable ideas that come from local people themselves. Colchester Catalyst values its close working relationship with Colne Community Builders which helps get projects up and running with a mix of financial support, advice and access to contacts.”

Rodney Appleyard, Development Officer, Colchester Catalyst (funder) 

Case study

Parkston Welfare Park is a perfect example of the sort of project we look to back. It’s an initiative led by local people that enhances the quality of accessible public space and, most crucially, brings the community together to create life opportunities for people of all ages.

The idea was sparked when a group of residents became frustrated by vandalism at a neglected park. Convinced that they could do better they formed an association and persuaded the council to grant a long lease on peppercorn terms.

With vision, energy and resourcefulness they have since landscaped the park, installed new equipment and set up a broad range of activities including a craft workshop, football team and an angling club. Colne’s £4,000 contribution enabled them to construct wooden walkways next to a river, which were built with volunteer labour.

“We’re grateful that Colne understand the benefits that come when you support local people to take accountability and control. It builds communities and makes for happier, healthier neighbourhoods.”

Bill Davidson, Chair, Welfare Park Association


Helping people to find their voice

People living in Colchester and Tendring, who have learning disabilities, mental ill-health and autism are to receive extra support to help them communicate more effectively, thanks to a grant of £2,000 awarded by Colne Community Builders.

Bright Lives Social Enterprise, which is based at the Abbots Community Centre in Colchester, is receiving the money from the grant programme run by Essex housing association Colne Housing. It will enable them to train a regional Makaton Tutor to work with the adults who attend the centre. Read more here.

Not what you’re looking for? Your answer may be on our FAQs page.