A firm of estate agents has taken its long history of supporting communities a step further by embedding this value into the company’s ethos.

Douglas Allen Estates has been working with the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF), to set up the Douglas Allen Foundation.

Grants will be given out to charities and voluntary groups providing vital care and support to children with mental or physical disabilities and their families in Essex and East London, particularly in areas where the Douglas Allen offices are based such as Epping and Loughton,

Michael Wright, Douglas Allen’s operations director said: “This is a great partnership for us and makes perfect sense. ECF has the expertise we need to help us achieve our corporate charitable aims and ensure that the money we give away is used in the most effective and efficient way.

“We want our staff to be involved in fundraising for our foundation and have a say in the decision-making. ECF can help us achieve this.”

Epping Forest Guardian:

Set up more than 60 years ago, the estate agents came to life in East London as ‘Dennis Garrard Spiro’, representing the names of its founders. In the 1970s, Martin Garrard left to open his own agency and Cyril Dennis and Ivor Spiro bought an old chain of surveyors and estate agents called ‘Douglas Allen’.

Over the next 12 years, the company expanded rapidly, opening branches in North and East London and Essex. Following the collapse of the property market in 1991, Arun Estates, based in Kent and Sussex was looking for an opportunity to expand into Essex and they purchased the business in 1993.

Wright’s predecessor, Jon Holden said: “For us, it’s important to invest in our local community. Our support goes beyond the occasional donation. We’re constantly looking for new ways to raise money, imploring everyone, from our staff to our customers alike, to get involved in fundraising efforts to help make a difference.

“We look forward to taking the next step on this journey by working with ECF.”

The first round of grants have gone to:

  • BOSP (Brighter Opportunities for Special People) - £13,250 to provide a range of support and activities for children with disabilities in South Essex.
  • Candles (North Essex Down Syndrome Support Group) – £3,841 to run activities, events, clubs and specialist sessions for families with young children who have Down Syndrome.
  • Children Today - £793 to buy a specialist buggy for a young boy in Braintree District who has various disabilities.
  • Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity - £7,429 to provide transport and support to families in Essex with a severely ill child in hospital.
  • SNAP - £191 to buy a specialist car seat for a three-year-old girl in Basildon who has a range of sensory issues.

Caroline Taylor, CEO at ECF, said: “We are pleased to be working with Douglas Allen and Arun Estates.

“It can sometimes be difficult for companies to know where to give support and what impact it will have. At ECF, we have over 25 years’ experience of working with our donors, connecting them with the issues and causes that they care about and helping them to achieve their charitable aims.”