After-school clubs and weekend classes are a great way to keep children busy and entertained. But did you know they are also a fun way for them to learn new skills and gain fresh experiences?
A study of more than 6,400 children found that as well as achieving more at school, children who take part in extracurricular activities develop social, emotional and behavioural skills such as time management, confidence, teamwork and creativity.
The recent study, carried out by the Institute of Education at University College London, showed activities outside of school hours could help close the attainment gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those from wealthier families.
However, it also found there were still inequalities, as many low-income families struggled to afford the costs of sports clubs, private tuition and music lessons. With this in mind, the MCF provides opportunities for children and young people both within the masonic community and in wider society.
The MCF recently awarded a £37,000 grant to Boccia England, a charity that provides accessible activity opportunities for disabled people aged twelve to eighteen. Boccia is a ball sport especially designed to test muscle control and accuracy. It is practised in more than 50 countries and is also a Paralympic sport.
The grant will allow Boccia England to continue supporting young people with physical, learning and visual disabilities and encourage inclusion in physical activity for all.
All of the young people supported by the RMTGB have experienced tragedy and hardship. Rosanna is just one of them and tells her story here.
‘History is my true love. It completely captivates me and it would be hard to imagine not being an historian. My dream of studying history at university was threatened, however, when my father – a Freemason in the Province of Essex – had a brain haemorrhage and became unable to work. Immediately my life changed. Would I be able to afford to go to university? Or live away from home? Who would support my mother and brother while I was away?
‘As it turned out, I would have the most amazing support from a silent yet ever-present source. This support has encouraged me to be the best I can be.
It has proved to me that no challenge is impossible and no dream is unachievable. What is this brilliant support? And where can it be found? Well, it’s you, dear reader.
‘My family were lucky enough to be visited by Guy Charrison, a wonderful Case Almoner for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. He proved to be an invaluable lifeline for me, arranging support and financial help when I needed it most. The grant I received meant that I could go to university and pay for the essentials that I needed, such as books and other materials.
‘At the time of my graduation – one of my proudest achievements – I still felt academically unfinished and I wanted another challenge. My tutor suggested I apply for a Master’s degree. I thought about the competitive job market and knew that this would make my applications stand out, but could I justify another year of study and the cost?
Again, the RMTGB stepped in and I was delighted that they were able to support my tuition and, having moved back home to be with my family, the additional cost of my travel to and from university. This year I achieved my final mark: a distinction.
'Support from the RMTGB has proved to me that no challenge is impossible and no dream is unachievable'
‘I recently met up with Guy and it was lovely to catch-up and for him to see how I had grown since our last meeting.
I would like to thank everyone who made all this possible. I have achieved goals beyond my wildest dreams that would not have been realised without the support from Guy, the RMTGB and the generosity of Freemasonry.’
Rosanna is now training to be a history teacher at the Institute of Education and is on a path to a happy and fulfilled future. Sadly, her father died on 7 October 2012, aged fifty-seven