Past beneficiaries have urged charities and community groups in south Essex and east London to submit funding applications in their latest chance to benefit from the National Express Foundation.

The Foundation, which is the charity arm of local train operator c2c’s parent company, is making £100,000 available for the fourth successive year for charities, community groups and colleges. The grants are aimed at projects providing positive activities for young people, and for colleges to provide grants to help students continue their education.

The money is only available for groups based along the c2c line, plus in the West Midlands where National Express is the local bus operator. Essex and London community groups have a strong record of success over the last three years, with eight different groups being awarded a combined £30,000. South Essex College has also received £50,000 to provide grants for students from the Foundation.

Clifford Oliver, Artistic Director of the Arc Theatre in Dagenham, who were awarded £2,500 IN 2014, said: “Last year we used funding from the National Express Foundation to run a specially-devised project examining how anti-social behaviour affects those around us. It culminated in a street theatre performance at Barking station in front of the Mayor, and repeat performances at the Town Hall and local community centres. It was the most amazing week, with phenomenal performances from the young people. None of this would have been possible without the National Express Foundation.”

Denise Rossiter, chief executive of the Essex Chambers of Commerce and a Trustee of the Foundation, said: “The National Express Foundation provides great support to local community groups who work with young people. We’ve seen so many excellent applications in the last couple of years, and the incredible difference that these local groups can make. So if you have a good idea that can help young people, and you’re looking for funding, we urge you to put in an application.”

Anthony Vigor, Chairman of the National Express Foundation, added: “We’ve been impressed by the number of applications from south Essex and east London in the past, and the creativity behind their ideas. With so many people actively supporting their local community, we expect there will be a strong field again this year so anyone who is interested should check out the details on our website.”

Past successful applications include:

–          £7,500 for the Helping Hands Job Club in Lee Chapel NorthBasildon to run job club sessions for local 16-24 year-olds

–          £5,000 for the B’3 Foundation in Newham to run media and film course for local NEETS, helping to build their media and interpersonal skills

–          £5,000 for the Theatre Royal Stratford East to run programmes providing an introduction to the arts for volunteers aged 13-24, and for workshop sessions for young poets.

–          £2,500 for the Arc Theatre in Dagenham for a summer workshop programme exploring anti-social behaviour issues through video and performance

–          £2,500 for the East London Community Sports Association to provide a youth rugby programme at Memorial Park, near West Ham station

–          £2,500 for the Green Shoes Arts community interest company in Dagenham to run a creative leadership challenge in August for 15 local young people

–          £2,500 for Saint Stephen’s Church in Southendto fund and equip their youth football teams for children aged 10-13

–          £2,500 for South East and Central Essex Mind, based in Southend, to support mental health counselling sessions for students and youth focus groups

To be eligible a community group or college must be based within five miles of the c2c route and provide positive activities for young people in deprived areas.  Full guidelines on how to apply can be found at Applications need to be received by Friday 20 March.