An organisation which has supported thousands of people in the Epping Forest community is celebrating its 29th anniversary.

Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) is an independent charity and was launched in April 1993, with a mission to work with the people of the Epping Forest district and Harlow district to support and develop voluntary and community activity.

VAEF constantly develops new initiatives to meet community needs such as Ace Activities for people with learning difficulties, benefits advice, befriending for older people who live on their own or in isolation and gardening and handyman services, providing help from trusted workers to people who need it. The charity also provides a comprehensive volunteer service to help local people become involved in volunteering.

Carole, a VAEF gardening services volunteer, said: “I wanted to feed back on my recent morning of volunteering in Waltham Abbey. I really enjoyed helping as I love gardening, but what made it so special was seeing the difference in the gardens and how much the elderly folk appreciated our help.

"I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for all you do with this much needed and valuable project. It really does showcase what a massive difference VAEF makes to the lives of those who have a bit of a struggle and how this helps with their well-being.”

VAEF has supported thousands of Epping Forest residents in the past 29 years and looks forward to supporting many more.

If you would benefit from one of its services, contact VAEF on 01992 910 701 or email