Local MP commends our fantastic work in the Southend community

On the 1st of July, we invited James Duddridge, MP (Rochford & Southend East) to our Victoria site to show him our work at South Essex Community Hub.

Friday was a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the services we provide at SECH. We were able to show him our spaces and highlight how we are helping the local community through the support we provide.

Our volunteers also had the chance to speak to James about the charity’s impact on them, giving James insight into the power of volunteering with SECH.

“It was great to have James down to talk to him about the work we volunteers do for the community, ” said Michael Taylor.

James Duddridge speaking to volunteer John Pickering.

We were able to feature our successes, such as receiving the Queen’s Award for voluntary service and our recent establishment of a new Youth service offer, a service the local community has been missing in recent years.

David Preston showing James Duddridge the Queen’s Award.

The members at the Youth Hub worked together to create a video presentation for James, welcoming him to the Youth Hub, presenting the activities offered at the youth hub, and talking about how much they love, enjoy, and appreciate the youth’s space Hub provides.

Youth hub members working with volunteer John to create the showcase for James Duddridge.

We thank James for taking the time to come and visit us at SECH. Being able to show a local MP the value of our service is a fantastic opportunity.

“We were delighted to invite James to visit our community hub and show all the positive work Sech is doing in our new city.” – said David Preston, Chief Operating Officer.

A photo of our staff and volunteers with James Duddridge.

Making IT Friendly and Digital Easy for ALL in the Community

A Digital World

We live in a digital world. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become more apparent than ever that we need to be computer literate to thrive in the world today. Many things we do daily have moved online: keeping in touch with family and friends, writing emails, accessing services and information such as the NHS and government forms, banking, job hunting, and so much more. Although this has streamlined the process for those tasks, it has left many feeling isolated, trapped, and unable to approach these services. Many feel anxious or nervous about using technology they otherwise wouldn’t have to use. 

You Are Not Alone

It is easy to feel alone when you struggle to access online services, but that’s where South Essex Community Hub comes in. At SECH, we strive to ensure everyone, no matter age, employment status, disability, or life circumstances, has an equal opportunity to feel confident and comfortable accessing the internet and online spaces. 

We offer a unique, flexible, and sociable learning model to help you get online today through a ‘Learn My Way’ platform. For 1 hour a week, you will sit 1 to 1 with a tutor working you through the free course at your own pace. 

Learn My Way starts right at the basics, learning how to safely and effectively use the keyboard and mouse, and from there, you will learn all the skills you need to flourish online. These skills include but are not limited to writing and sending emails, filling in online forms, using social media, and so much more.

A Tutors Perspective

Hello, my name is Holly, and I have been a volunteer at South Essex Community Hub since November 2019. I have first-hand experience working with people who have found it challenging to get online.

Frequently, when people have started their course with me, they have expressed a fear of computers and the internet. Some have revealed they are worried about pressing the wrong button and breaking something and the dangers of the internet. Additionally, many have communicated that they feel self-conscious asking questions, often choosing not to, so they avoid looking ‘stupid.’ 

These concerns described to me put into perspective the lack of education in digital literacy. Furthermore, it highlighted the notable gap between the confidence of those who grew up with technology and those who didn’t. It was an eye-opening look into something I had never considered.

It has been a pleasure supporting my clients, evolving their digital skills, and watching them take their first steps online. They have a noticeable boost in their confidence. It has also been enjoyable developing relationships with those I have helped, allowing them to come to lessons feeling relaxed and more open to asking for help. 

Sounds Good?

If this sounds like just the thing for you, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can call us on 01702 611199 or email us at info@sech-uk.com. Alternatively, you can drop into our hub on the first floor of the Victoria Shopping Centre, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 5SP.

SECH is a Proud Partner of the Anchoring Southend 2050 Project

SECH is proud to be a partner in the ambitious Anchoring Southend 2050 Project.

Anchor Programme

Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded just over £400,000 to deliver a landmark project in Southend.  The aim is to support people most in need to secure quality work within our Southend Hospital site – or in another local health or care organisation.

The money has been awarded by the Government’s UK Community Renewal Fund (UKCRF) and is part of the Trust’s ‘Anchor Programme.’

Mid and South Essex Hospital Trust have launched a new and innovative programme called ‘Anchor’ to show how local hospitals can make their neighbourhoods healthier, happier and greener. The programme supports our communities in Basildon, Southend and Chelmsford.

The Anchor Programme is about large organisations investing back into their communities and is a concept fully supported and endorsed by NHS England and the Health Foundation. As one of the largest employers in the region, this ambitious new programme will enable us to understand better how our Trust can be a force for good by using our assets and influence to bring about change.

By teaming up with health and care partners, local councils and the voluntary and education sector, we can reduce our environmental impact and create exciting and innovative employment, volunteering, internship and network opportunities for those we serve.

Graphic diagram of the elements within the programme

South Essex Community Hub (SECH)

At SECH, we are providing a community access point to the Southed Anchor Programme where you can drop into our Southend Hub to receive:

  • Job Searching support, free Digital Skills and IT training, Information and referral to partners in the program, access to computers (so local people are not digitally excluded);
  • Free face-to-face and telephone counselling for people who need help with mental health or emotional wellbeing;
  • Volunteering opportunities to learn new skills and build confidence;
  • Plus, the opportunity to meet new people and make a real difference to their local community in Southend.

We are here to help and support empower people to realise their full potential.

Find out more here.

Anchor Programme Partners in Southend

SECH is proud to be working with the following partners to realise this project in conjunction with Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

A Better Start Southend ABSS

  • A Better Start Southend, supports local parents and carers of children under four years of age and expectant  parents into work, volunteering and education across six wards of Southend: Shoeburyness, West Shoebury, Milton, Kursaal, Victoria and Westborough.
  • Five free events are run each month to inspire and provide new skills to attendees.
  • For our Anchor Programme, there are routes into NHS work, and other course and events aimed at assisting participants move toward work, have been expanded to enable those living in the Better Start Southend area to take part whether or not they have children under four.

You can find out more information here.

Anchor programme a better start southend logo graphic

Generation Medics

Generations Medics believe that there are talented individuals who can become great doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals if they have access to unbiased up-to-date information advice, support and networks.

They are a dedicated, diverse full-time team of professionals and volunteers who devote their time to a single purpose: to empower people to fulfil their potential by making medical and healthcare careers accessible to everyone.

You can find more details here.

Anchor programme handshake graphic


Halo provides fully-funded online training to eligible people who are unemployed and looking for an exciting and fulfilling career in health and social care.

  • The four-six week employment and skills programme, delivered by Southend Council, is designed in collaboration with employers, including us. It helps give trainees the skills they are looking for and prepare them for a career as a healthcare professional.
  • There are many roles available in healthcare. They offer long-term employment prospects, job security and opportunities for progression – including the potential to go on and complete an NHS-accredited degree.
  • Our NHS staff will be on-hand to promote all current care roles, including apprenticeships, and will advise how you can progress. Candidates get advice on how to apply for these roles and tips on completing their application form and interview. There will be an opportunity to speak to our NHS healthcare assistants and support workers, as well as having a fantastic ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at us as a key employer.

You can find out if you’re eligible here

Anchor programme halo logo graphic


If you’re from Southend, unemployed, over 25 and are looking to learn new skills, why not explore a career in the NHS.

The Pave programme will give you hands-on employment training, take you through mock interviews and provide specific advice as to how to access to the wide range of non-clinical careers in healthcare, such as Portering and Logistics. They’ll even set you up with a real interview with local organisations, where possible.

This is a six -week online course, where candidates train every day and in week five three they receive support from NHS speakers who help them to take the first steps in applying for non-clinical roles.

You can find out more here

Anchor programme pave logo graphic

Want to know more?

The programme is now expanding across the whole of our Trust in coming months. It is through established partnerships like these that we can continue to seek new ways to improve the wellbeing of our staff and local communities. For more information about Anchor institutions, visit https://www.essexfuture.org.uk/boards-networks/anchor-institutions.

To find out more information on the Mid and South Essex Anchor Programme, please email: mse.ukcrfsouthend@nhs.net

Christmas Closure

Christmas closure – 22nd December – 4th January

Citizens Advice Southend are back!

Citizens Advice Southend are back working out of our Southend Victoria site every Tuesday morning 10am-12pm.
Need some advice? Please drop in!
Working together to support the community of Southend.

Brook – Sexual Health Drop-In

Southend Sexual Health Service via Brook will be at our Victoria site the first Tuesday of each month. Confidential information and advice available for all, please drop in no appointment necessary! STI testing kits and free condoms!

First Tuesday of every month, 1oam – 12pm

SECH Welcome Day!

We are excited to let you know we are hosting a Welcome Day event at our new site at The Chapel (SS0 7AH) on Friday 10th September, 1pm – 5pm.
Please spread the word, we can’t wait to see you there! 🙂👍🎉

SECH presented with Queens Award for Voluntary Services 2020

SECH, a group of volunteers based in Southend on Sea, have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (2020), the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

SECH aims to build an ever improving community in Southend, based on shared values & social cohesion through the provision of information, advice, projects, events and services that inform. The service is delivered in HUBs located throughout the Southend area. The HUBs primary purpose is to provide help when and where it is needed. The HUBs are person-centred places bringing together skilled people from all sorts of organisations, able to advise and help pick apart those things which are causing stress and worry.

SECH is one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award in 2020. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those that need them.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups that benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant of Essex said: “We are delighted that your group’s work to provide a wide-ranging services in Southend has been recognised, pay tribute to hard work and commitment of your volunteers and dedicated staff.”

In October 2020, Mr Vincent Thompson, Her Majesty’s Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Essex presented South Essex Community Hub (SECH) with Queens Award for Voluntary Services. All though this was only a small event, it was sure a memorable one!

We plan to host another event in the future to celebrate in style with all those who made winning this award possible!

Volunteers and staff of SECH have worked tirelessly over the last few months to support the local community and the recognition of everyone’s hard work really means the world. We safely reopened our doors to the community as soon as possible. This has enabled us to support many people with various issues during their time of need.

“SECH has now been in existence for five years and I am immensely proud of how far we have come; I look forward to many more years of great community work” Malcolm Clark – South Essex Community Hub Chairman