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.

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

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 Covid Vaccination Volunteers Report

Since the 19th January 2021 South Essex Community Hub (SECH) stepped in to help support Southend Central PCN with volunteer support at their two main vaccination sites, Saxon Hall and Belle Vue. 

Volunteer Southend (run by SECH) had already been supporting local GP surgeries by providing volunteers who the surgeries were then able to  manage directly. As the rollout continued at pace, it became clear that Southend Central PCN did not have the capacity to manage volunteers themselves so SECH offered to support and coordinate. In the first few weeks Achievement Through Football and South Essex Homes also kindly contributed  staff and volunteers to support the growing need. 

Over the following weeks SECH organised a team of dedicated volunteers. These volunteers have been providing full support  at the centres for the last twenty weeks. It is an important point to note that Volunteers have contributed 4,676 hours over the two sites. If these volunteers had been paid at the minimum wage (£8.91) that would be a total of £41,663.16. 

However, there is a cost for SECH providing this support. This includes hire of a new staff member, additional staff hours and volunteer expenses. SECH has not received any funding for this and as a result regretfully, we are now no longer able to continue this support. Southend Central PCN will hold all responsibility and management of volunteers from the 14th May 2021. 

The staff and Volunteers at SECH have thoroughly enjoyed this experience and are overjoyed that we were able to play such a vital role in supporting the community to receive their vaccines and help with the fight against Covid.

Volunteer comments:

  • “This was my first volunteering experience and I think my enjoyment of helping out during this COVID crisis was largely due to the organisation, kind spirit and professionalism held by the organisers (Kasey & Amber)”
  • “Helping out with the vaccination roll out was enlightening. Just seeing all the patients that had been shielding getting their jabs and the look of relief on their faces made the whole thing worthwhile.”
  • “The loyalty and perseverance of all the volunteers has been very inspirational to me. As an experienced volunteer myself their professionalism has been very impressive and they have been a pleasure to work with and a credit to themselves and SECH. Hopefully I will work with them again at some point in the future.”
  • “I felt very honoured to be working as part of SECH. The organisation of the system was very thorough and I loved my time there. Kasey was brilliant with us volunteers and made us all feel like a little family. From having to stay at home in lockdown this opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time mentality for me. I really felt I was giving something back and I can only thank Amber and Kasey for making this such an amazing experience and one I will never forget.”
  • “My personal experience of being involved with the volunteer programme has been an extremely positive one. I have enjoyed it immensely and have formed friendships which I have no doubt will continue into the future. I have greatly admired the efforts made by yourself and Kasey to provide good support to the medical staff while at the same time ensuring that us volunteers felt valued and supported. I can’t praise the two of you highly enough. SECH is an amazing organisation and it has been my pleasure to be involved in their contribution to the national vaccination programme.”

This data really shows the true impact this experience has had for volunteers, SECH and the local community. 

With a positive increase in individuals’ mental health (91%) and the likelihood to volunteer for other charities in the future it is clear that this opportunity has not only benefited the community in the short term but will continue to positively affect the local community in the future.

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