AN exciting new fund is being launched with a £25,000 match-funding challenge to help and inspire people across Essex to take part in every kind of sport.

The initiative is the brainchild of businessman and entrepreneur Peter Butler and his lifelong friend, Joe Sims, who have teamed up with Essex Community Foundation (ECF) to establish the fund, with the aim of distributing grants to individuals and voluntary organisations to make sport flourish at grassroots level around the county.
Peter, who lives in Chelmsford, founded the Essex and Southend Sports Trust (EASST) in 2002.  Since it was set up, the Trust has made more than £800,000 of grants to improve sports facilities and equipment, help talented youngsters in Essex and encourage disabled people to compete in sport at the highest levels.
Now, Peter and his fellow trustees have set their sights on expanding the support given to sporting activities in Essex by launching the new fund, managed by ECF, called the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund, with a generous donation of £25,000, which will be used to match other donations, on a £1 for £1 basis.
The challenge is now on for ECF to encourage local people and companies who are interested in providing grassroots sporting opportunities across the county, to contribute to the fund and boost the amount available for distribution.
Grants will be given through the new fund to talented individuals and to voluntary and community organisations in Essex in an all-encompassing bid to encourage sport and make it more accessible to everyone.
Peter said, “I am immensely proud of being from Essex and I want to see more and more of our young people participating in sport and having access to quality facilities and equipment.
“The trustees are very excited about this new sports fund with ECF.  The matched funding, added to monies donated from EASST, means that we will be able to make more grants to more Essex applicants, to help talented Essex youngsters develop their sporting skills and encourage everyone to get more involved in sporting events.”

A lifelong Southend United and Essex County cricket enthusiast, Peter was born and bred in the Southend area and played football for Old Southendians for nearly 40 years..
Joe Sims was born and bred in Shoeburyness and is also is a lifelong supporter of Southend United and Essex County Cricket Club.  He ran his own London based Graphic Design company for over 30 years and first met Peter in 1968 when they were both invited to join the Southend United Programme Committee; Peter as a journalist/editor and Joe as the programme designer. 
After a London-based business career spanning 40 years Peter has been able to devote more time to the activities of Essex and Southend Sports Trust (EASST).  He established the trust in 2002 and chairs the trustee board which consists of his wife Linley, a sports loving New Zealander, and Joe.
EASST has over £3.5 million of permanent endowment funds, the income from which is used to fund charitable grants relating to sport in Essex and Southend with particular emphasis on cricket and football.
Now, through the new fund with ECF, sports of all kinds in Essex will be given backing.
Lisa Renton, development director of ECF said, “We are delighted to link with Peter and his fellow trustees from EASST to launch this new fund and to set the match funding challenge.
“The combined strengths of ECF and EASST, coupled with the enthusiasm and generosity of people in Essex, will mean that we can reach into the heart of the community to support and encourage a wide diversity of sport at a local level, so that everyone can take part and reach their full potential.”
For more information about Essex Community Foundation visit or call 01245 355947.

To make a donation please send a cheque made payable to Essex Community Foundation, to 121  New London Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 0QT, stating it is for the Essex Sports Fund.