Community programmes land funding to continue improving lives

All four All In Community Teams, including 20 people, stood together holding certificates. All members are smiling and facing the camera.

12 months ago, Eastlight offered Essex residents a unique opportunity: the chance to get a full-time salary to dedicate a year of their lives to creating new solutions to the big social issues in their communities.

Through All In, the UK’s first full-time community incubator, our four teams of 20 residents have worked with thousands of local residents to create four outstanding ideas that are already improving lives in our communities.

Fast forward to today, and Eastlight are proud to announce that we are providing funding and support to turn these ideas into new organisations that can make a difference to local people’s lives over the long-term.

Colchester – Trusted

Karen Badenoch and Jessica Taylor will be spearheading Trusted, which saw 10 participants save more than £40,000 in just six weeks during a pilot programme. The unique cost-of-living support programme features weekly sessions where the experts in the room are local residents who know better than anyone, through years of experience, how to make their money stretch.

As well as hosting programmes with Eastlight colleagues, residents and local communities, the pair will also empower participants to become future course leaders so that Trusted can spread throughout Colchester and beyond.

To get involved with Trusted, email or find Trusted on Facebook here.

Karen said: “We are so grateful for the opportunity and so proud of what we, together with the Colchester community, have achieved. Now, we are planning the next sessions as Trusted continues into the future.”

Witham – Popcorn

Paulina Kostas will lead Popcorn, with support from Carrie Chesterton. Witham’s Popcorn scheme will run four sessions throughout the rest of the year to support young people who are struggling to reconnect after years stuck at home during the pandemic.

Its friendly and welcoming group sessions are perfect for those aged 16-30 who want to boost their confidence, meet new people and learn new skills.

To sign up to the next Popcorn sessions, email:

Paulina said: “Being able to build a unique service and being trusted to take it forward is both exciting and terrifying, but I know how much young adults need Popcorn.”

Halstead – Grow with the Flow

The Grow with the Flow team will be headed up by Suzanne Hunnable-Letch and Carlie Williamson, who will deliver period positivity sessions in local schools and sports clubs to build knowledge and confidence and reduce stigma around menstruation.

Working alongside football coaches, they will develop workshops suitable for girls’ football clubs and are also aiming to work alongside local leisure centres to help young women embrace their period power.

To get involved with Grow with the Flow, email

Suzanne said: “We are really looking forward to working with young women to empower them with their menstrual health, and watch as they grow into confident Flow Sisters who are able to support their younger peers.”

Braintree – Kinder Minds

Partnering with mental health charity Heads2Minds, Braintree’s empowering wellbeing programme, Kinder Minds will be led by Gemma Griffin. Opening a safe space in the town where people can drop-in for activities proven to improve mental wellbeing, Kinder Minds promises to contribute to Braintree’s mental health needs, whilst developing a flourishing community group of support.

Email to find out how you can get involved. Join the Kinder Minds group on Facebook here.

Gemma said: “I can’t believe that a dream of mine is finally becoming a reality, and I can offer the long-awaited support that people need daily to better their mental wellbeing in Braintree.”

Social Innovation and Community Empowerment Director James Green said: “Twelve months ago, we offered a unique opportunity to Essex residents to get paid a full-time salary to dedicate a year of their lives to tackling a social issue in their community.

“The ideas they have created with thousands of local residents have huge potential, which is why Eastlight has awarded each of them funding and support so they can continue to improve lives in their communities.”