HALF a dozen independent charities are set to benefit from a major cash boost.

The Braintree District and Greenfields Community Fund has announced it will be offering out grants to six charities based in the Braintree area as part of an annual programme aimed at supporting voluntary organisations.

Home Start Essex,will benefit from the biggest grant - £39,000 - which will go towards a wellbeing programme which encourages vulnerable families to get involved with social and physical activities.

Essex Boys’ and Girls’ Club is set to receive £30,000 to go towards its early intervention programme aimed at strengthening the resilience of teenagers, while the Braintree Rethink Carers Support Group will be getting £15,000 to allow it to continue an art support group for people with mental health issues.

Further grants will be awarded to InterAct, Braintree Mencap Society and Carers First.

Katrina Whittaker, who runs Braintree Rethink Carers Support Group, says the extra funding will help it to run more day trips for members.

She said: "Having a friendly environment where our members can come on a regular basis and feel safe with people who understand them is so important.

"They produce some amazing pieces of work and get a real boost from the outings, which include visits to art galleries and the seaside. Many of our members would never dream of taking these trips alone and it really opens up their world. We are so grateful for the funding boost."

The community fund is a joint-run venture between Braintree Council and Greenfields Community Housing which is managed by the Essex Community Foundation.

Councillor John Goodman, chairman of a decision-making panel which chose this year's charities, said: "Braintree Council is proud to be a part of this fund which is significantly contributing to the wellbeing and aspirations of local people.

"It is great that organisations can apply to receive funding over a number of years, as this enables them to plan and develop their services."

Greenfields’ Housing Director Sandra Crosby added: "We know how vital these local causes are to so many of our residents, which is why we are very pleased to support them. I would encourage any group that is in need of funding to contact ECF."