HEALTH projects will benefit from a share of nearly £117,000 to improve the lives of the homeless, children with special needs and those with Alzheimer’s.

Beacon House, AFiUK (African families in the UK), Dogs for Development, the Alzheimer’s Society and St John Ambulance were chosen as Colchester Catalyst Charity’s 2017 beneficiaries.

Vivienne Wiggins, chief executive office of Beacon House, which has received the lion’s share of £70,000, plans to build a medical centre inside of its future premises in Ypres Road.

She said: “For people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, this new centre will be a place for them to receive substantial primary health care support, offering more specialised care than local GPs.

“These services will be provided in a safe environment for people to develop mental and emotional resilience, so they will be stronger when facing the challenges on their route into stable and settled lives.”

The Alzheimer’s Society’s £14,000 will help set up innovative new service, Side by Side, which will pair volunteers with someone affected by the condition in order to tackle isolation.

It will be the first service of its kind in Essex.

Colchester Catalyst Charity has recently expanded its reach to consider grant applications in Sudbury, Suffolk.

Applications can be made to purchase equipment, receive specialist mental health support or like St John Ambulance, to train staff at Colchester General Hospital to work with dementia sufferers.

The £5,000 project will be run in collaboration with Essex University, but £12,500 has also been awarded to buy a mobile treatment centre.

Tony Hall, chairman of St John County Priory Group, said it is “badly needed” by volunteers in north east Essex to support their first aid duties.

Victims and the perpetrators of female genital mutilation are to receive much-needed mental health support from AFiUK.

Charity founder Rachel Walton said: “Our £4,300 grant will be used to reach out to 30 men, women and young people.

“The activities will enable them to develop greater independence and give them the ability to make informed choices on matters which affect their daily lives.”

“The activities will also help to decrease their dependence on social services, plus give them the tools to be more independent and autonomous.”

Natalie Bates, chief executive officer of Dogs For Development, which uses one-to-one canine therapy to help children with learning disabilities and mental health needs, also welcomes £11,140 to train a new puppy.

To apply for a grant, contact Rodney Appleyard on 07784 425268. Or email