VAEF Services

VAEF runs a number of projects in the Epping Forest district and surrounding areas. Click on the tabs below to read about each service.

Ace Activities – Day Activities for people with Learning Disabilities

Activities and Training for Adults with Learning Disabilities.

Essex County Council Supplier Recognition Awards 2018

ASDAN Accreditation

About the project: 

Ace Activities is a multi-activity project for people with Learning Disabilities. We have a range of opportunities to choose from to suit your needs.

Day opportunities that Ace Activities currently run: 

  • Cooking with Confidence
  • Multi Sports
  • Upcycling/Carpentry
  • Gardening
  • Singing and Signing Fun Sessions
  • Art

Ace Activities – Project of VAEF has it’s own website – for full details click here or visit

The Community Clubs Service funded by The Big Lottery and The Joseph & Lilian Sully Foundation aims to provide support and friendship for those living on their own or in isolation.



This project was developed to address the need of the socially isolated by providing a befriending service across the Epping Forest District to the elderly aged 65 years or over and their carers and includes short respite for carers whilst social clubs operate.



Currently clubs are run three times a week:

Tuesday North Weald – Leonard Davis House, Kiln Rd, North Weald Bassett, Epping CM16 6BS
Wednesday Loughton – St John the Baptist Church, Church Lane, Loughton, IG10 1PD
Friday Waltham Abbey – Jubilee Court, Ninefields, Waltham Abbey, EN9 3JB

As well as offering weekly social clubs, Voluntary Action Epping Forest Befriending offers fortnightly day trips out which include visits to the theatre, boat rides and much more. These outings provide much needed stimulation to many whilst reducing their social/rural isolation improving quality of life and if required, we can provide transport to these clubs.


In addition to the weekly social clubs and day trips we offer a volunteer home visit befriending service which provides a ‘friend’ who will be able to offer companionship by forming a trusting and supportive relationship offering a smile, a listening ear, links to other services and regular visits to the client’s home.

Please watch a clip of a recent day trip on the Canal Boats below!

VAEF Befriending Canal Boat Trip


Watch a clip of clients and their thoughts of this service by clicking the image below!



All project volunteers are carefully screened and trained. Personal information is kept strictly confidential.

For further information about these clubs or volunteering for them please contact

Voluntary Action Epping Forest Befriending on

07708 171 116

Quotes from Befriending Service Users

‘As you know Peter passed away recently and I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what being a member of the club meant and brought to his life.  He was suffering from a number of health conditions which led him to become isolated and de-motivated.  Once at the club his whole persona changed.  His face lit up and the twinkle returned to his eyes.  Significantly his memory improved too.  Sincere gratitude to you and your team for all your hard work’

‘I just want to thank you for introducing my father to the Befriending club.  Since being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s earlier this year he started to get depressed.  The service you are providing, collecting my father from the house, taking him to the club, entertaining him for the afternoon and bringing him safely home has made such a difference to his week.  He really looks forward to his Wednesdays now.’

‘Just a quick note to say thank you to you and everyone at the club.  Mum really enjoys it, has made some good friends and it has given her, her confidence back.  Thank you again for all the care and understanding that you give to Mum (I don’t know what she would be like without the clubs to look forward to).’

‘I am extremely grateful for your help in introducing me to Josie (volunteer) who is a lovely, kind person and a super befriender.  I would also like to say that your work for Voluntary Action is a wonderful achievement’


The benefits advice and information project is available to those whose personal circumstances make it difficult for them to access services in their area or outside of the home. A home visit can be made and information provided on benefits available to the individual along with assistance to complete application forms. The service is available to those who live in the Epping Forest District.


Assistance can be given to apply for:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independance Payments (PIP)
  • Employment Support Allowance (Capability for work assessments)
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Council Tax Discount
  • Housing Benefits
  • Pension Credit
  • Blue Badge

This is predominantly a home visiting service however, assistance and application support can also be provided over the telephone for all applications.

From April 2015 to End March 2023 VAEF Benefits Advice has advised and supported 1911 Epping Forest housebound residents and £2,675,434.96 has been awarded in annual benefits following assistance from VAEF Benefits Advice in addition to Council Tax reductions, Blue Badge applications, Pension Credit and Housing benefits.

For further information please contact 07835 310 550

The VAEF Community Services Hub was set up during the covid-19 pandemic to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ of voluntary services support for people, most impacted by public health restrictions and personal circumstances.

The Community Services Hub supports Epping Forest residents; including, where appropriate:

  • Essential shopping
  • Prescription deliveries
  • Volunteer Centre services
  • Supported volunteering for people with mental health needs
  • Digital assistance
  • Befriending
  • Information and signposting to other services
  • Ukranian Family Support

It also delivers short-term programmes, consultations and activities in the Epping Forest community which aim to improve public health and wellbeing in key, identified areas.


Current VAEF Community Services Hub projects include:

  • Mental Health community services as post-discharge support
  • Epping Forest Men’s Shed Project
  • Digital Learning workshops

For further information about the VAEF Community Services Hub, please contact: or call: 07967 726 851.

Or visit us in person:

Voluntary Action Epping Forest are based at the EFDC Epping Community Hub

(Civic Offices, 323 High Street, Epping CM16 4BZ) on:

Mondays 11.15am – 4.30pm


Wednesdays 10am – 1.30pm

Each day, people will be able to enquire about any of our services however, Monday there will be a focus on volunteering, people wishing to volunteer or organisations looking for assistance from volunteers are welcome to drop in and talk to us about how we are able to support you.

Wednesday, VAEF Community Responders are there to discuss how we can support you. Our community Response offer includes assistance with shopping and prescription delivery if you are isolating due to Covid, information on accessing vaccines, digital support and how to access benefit advice in addition to much more. We are able to signpost you to other VAEF services or supporting organisations in the District.

No need to book, just drop by. Alternatively, if you would prefer to book:

Monday Appointment:

Email or call 07443 264 422

Wednesday Appointment:

Email or call 07967726 851


Do you have jobs at home you are unable to manage?

Are you over 60, disabled or in receipt of benefits?

 VAEF can help!

Fitting grab rails and key safes, door chains and extra locks, securing carpets, changing light bulbs,
hanging pictures, curtains, fitting toilet seats, building flatpack furniture and much more!
If you are in doubt, give us a call and ask if we are able to assist you.
As a charity we can provide Reasonable and Competitive Rates
Our friendly team are experienced and police checked.
Call 01992 910 701 or 07529 222862
for a quote

Helping seniors and those living with a disability in West Essex with their computers, tablets and smartphones.

If you’d like to learn how to:

  • use email
  • brush up on your existing computer skills
  • book a doctor’s appointment, shop online, etc

Even if you’ve never used a computer before but would like to learn, please get in touch.

We hold informal sessions where seniors and those living with a disability can learn more and get to know others.


To find out more, please call:

EPPING FOREST 07967 726 851

HARLOW 01279 308 150

UTTLESFORD 01371 404 674


Do you know a bit about computers or smartphones and have a couple of hours spare per week?

Would you be willing to help others in your community improve their computer skills?

If so, we’d love to hear from you! Please have a look at our website, fill in some details and we’ll be in touch.





Funded by:

Foodbank Benefits Guidance

Launched in November 2023, VAEF are working alongside Epping Forest Foodbank – offering benefits guidance and impartial, confidential advice to those accessing Epping Forest Foodbanks (part of the Trussell Trust network).

What we do:

We can assist with benefit advice/application forms and are able to refer and signpost on issues relating to improving your personal circumstances. Clients can visit one of our centres on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday, here they will receive not only 3 days of food but also signposting and benefits support.


Between launch in November 2023 and March 2024, VAEF/Foodbank Benefits Advice service has advised and supported 129 Epping Forest Foodbank support users whereby £113,189 has been awarded [in annual benefits, energy support, along with other utility caps, housing, consumer supplies via charities etc] following the assistance from VAEF/Foodbank Benefits Advice.

In addition debt referrals, amounting to £118,367, have been referred for management and in some cases have included ceasing court orders and subsequent evictions.

(These figures are not yet a complete picture of monies as some cases are ongoing plus figures of avoiding homelessness and the potential long-term cost to a service user long-term is unknown and is not included).

These benefits would have remained unclaimed and debts not dealt with, without our assistance.


Epping Forest Foodbank Centres where Benefits Guidance takes place:



Epping Community Hub, Civic offices, 323 High St, Epping  CM16 4BZ


10am – 12pm

St Mary’s Church, The Hope Centre, 201 High Road, Loughton  IG10 1BB


2pm – 4pm

Hazelwood Children’s Centre, Hillhouse Primary School, Waltham Abbey  EN9 3EL


10:30 – 12:30

Trinity Methodist Church, Mannock Drive, Loughton IG10 2JD

Working in Partnership

Volunteer Essex Epping Forest a project of Voluntary Action Epping Forest

For Epping Forest District contact the Volunteer coordinator

Telephone:      07443 264422

Twitter:         @vaef01

Facebook:     @vaef01


The Volunteer Centre Epping operates:  9:30am – 5 pm Monday to Tuesday


Voluntary Action Epping Forest also manages the Harlow Volunteer Centre, for further information on opportunities in Harlow, click here

Thinking about Volunteering?

Volunteer Centre Harlow is a local voluntary project existing to promote and support volunteering. The Volunteer Centre actively recruits potential volunteers from all sections of the community and places them with local voluntary organisations who are seeking volunteers to help with their work.

We are an equal opportunities project and believe that everyone has the right to volunteer without discrimination. We have information on a great deal of voluntary opportunities available in Harlow and new opportunities arrive daily. Volunteers are needed for a wide range of roles, go to the ‘I want to Volunteer’ tab to find out what opportunities are currently available.

Volunteer Centre Harlow offers support and information to voluntary groups working with or thinking of involving volunteers. This support also enables us to help promote good practice in working with volunteers and advocate the rights and responsibilities of volunteers.


For more details please contact:

Della Nash, Organiser, Volunteer Centre Harlow

Tel: 07910 075101



This service operates yearly from 1st October – 31st March

Do you require support this winter or know someone who does?


VAEF will be delivering services to residents in the Epping Forest District in support of Essex County Councils Winter Warmth Campaign.

The service will provide help to those whose health and wellbeing is at risk during the cold weather.

VAEF will support older and vulnerable people deemed in need in the District by providing:

  • food parcels
  • warm clothing / bedding
  • small heating appliances & microwaves
  • fuel tokens
  • fitting draft excluders & curtain rails
  • sealing windows

all of which will assist in keeping yourselves and your homes warmer.


Referrals to this service must be through a registered agency. Please contact your support worker to be referred.

Please contact 01992 910 701 or email where we will be happy to assist.


Funded By: