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Colchester's Big Choice 2017 Winners

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Colchester's Big Choice is now in its second year, and is a grant scheme which gives residents a voice in where £100,000 funding for community projects goes.

Organisations have submitted ideas for projects that will provide long-lasting benefit to Colchester's residents. Projects have either asked for £5000 or £20,000 funding and Colchester residents have been voting for their favourite.

Sixteen organisations made the final shortlist, which was a great achievement in itself. The eight winners were: 

£5,000 award Open Road - offers treatment for people affected by alcohol and drug addiction

Their project will provide support for individuals affected by drugs and alcohol and addressing digital exclusion. This will widen the opportunities to use digital services and address digital exclusion by providing a suite of laptops and desktops at their Centre in Queen Street.

£5,000 award to Find Your Spark who offersresilience training programmes for parents of children with Aspergers / Autism

The funding will provide free or low cost resilience training programmes to parents across Colchester to families that may not be able to afford this training otherwise. The sessions for 40 adults will be held at the Stanway Federation Learning Centre for two hours each week over a period of six weeks and will be run four times through the year.

 £5,000 award to Signpost who provides a comprehensive resource centre in Greenstead to respond creatively to the specific needs of the non-employed in Colchester

This funding is to run a series of monthly three hour workshops to help eight unemployed people with CV writing skills. Four unemployed volunteers will be trained to support the sessions giving them valuable skills and experience.

£5,000 award to Wivenhoe Repair, Reuse, Recycle who delivers weekly repair cafes in Colchester and Wivenhoe library

The Repair Café helps residents to repair and reuse 1000s of household items with the help of volunteers. The funding will assist in volunteer training i.e. sewing, repairing basic household electronics and furniture.

 £20,000 award to Colchester Hospitals Charity who are  an NHS charity for Colchester Hospital University and works to benefit patients of the hospital by providing extra amenities and equipment, improvements to the environment and extra staff training.

Their project is to build a Time Garden and will be a special placed designed for use by people in the last days and weeks of life to spend with loved ones.  The TimeGarden at the Colchester Hospital, for dying patients and their families, will make a great difference to a patient's quality of life, however short it is.

£20,000 award to Colchester Korban Project and has been in operation at Bethany Place since 2008 providing accommodation for homeless young people

This funding will pay for thesetting up a 'move-on' house, a stepping stone for three young people to become fully independent. The project is also being funded by Quaker Housing Trust, Colchester Borough Homes and Green Pastures to purchase the property in Colchester.

 £20,000 award to Dedham Therapy Farm - covers 12 acres of land and provides therapy and/or work skills.

This is foranimal facilitated therapy / occupational therapy for vulnerable people. This includes occupational therapy, gardening, woodworking or building. The project will help 20 more people in 2017 which necessitates the purchase of more animals and being able to use more of the land which will require necessary attachments for the tractor, wood and fencing for the paddocks to keep the extra animals in.

£20,000 award to Citizens Advice Bureau - provides free impartial independent and general confidential advice to members of the public.

To Provide rehabilitation support for patients of The Lakes Psychiatric Unit at Colchester General Hospital .CAB has been working outreach for half a day at The Lakes over the last 12 months and assisted 40 at a high level but they have no specialist resource to help clients. This funding will enable CAB to gain a greater understanding of how additional long term support can help reduce incidence of relapse.