A HOST of organisations across Colchester have been awarded £26,000 to help people across the town.

The five groups have been handed cash at the Essex Fund Awards.

The fund, managed by the Essex Community Foundation, awards grants to voluntary organisations that support carers, the environment, community resource and young people.

The Colchester Rough Sleepers Group was handed £6,000.

The team is launching its rough sleeper bus which will be able to take eight rough sleepers off the streets.

Essex Carers Support was handed £5,000 and the Colchester and Tendring Youth Enquiry Service was given £4,000 towards an allotment project.

African Families in the UK, which runs workshops for young people in Colchester, was awarded £5,000.

Colchester-based Together We Grow, which provides horticultural therapy to people with mental health issues, was awarded £6,000.

It will use the money to create a space for activities such as crafts and cooking.

Wayne Setford, founder, said: “We run sessions 12 months of the year at our beautiful off the grid gardens in Colchester.

"This funding boost means we can establish an inviting and warm space for our service users to access well-being and education activities including crafts and cooking.”

Grants totalling £93,237 were presented from the fund at a ceremony held at the Chelmsford City Racecourse.

County Hall chairman John Jowers, who presented the awards, said: "One of the most satisfying areas of my role is to visit many charities and community organisations.

"Meeting the outstanding individuals who help to improve the lives of others less fortunate or those working to make their own communities a better place, is a privilege.

“The impact that their work has on the lives of local people, of all ages, is immeasurable and I am so pleased that the grants awarded will help to further their work.”

Organisations looking for funding to support their work should call the Essex Community Foundation grants team on 01245 356018.