Thousands of disadvantaged children get boost from Essex Freemasons

Monday, 14 February 2022

Chelmsford based charity ‘Families InFocus’, currently helping almost 2,000 disadvantaged children across Essex every year, has received a grant of £13,500 from Essex Freemasons to fund their ongoing drive to give young people the best start in life

The money, donated via the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemason’s own charity, will be targeted directly at families in Essex with children and young people with special educational need or disabilities (SEND).

'Children with SEND have health, social and educational challenges which, if not met can impact negatively on health, schooling and social life,' said Kirsty Cornell for ‘Families InFocus’. 'The money from Essex Freemasons will help to continue operating our helpline and one to one support families with education, benefit, health, social care, housing, leisure and transport issues. It will make quite a difference'

The charity, which has a major aim to improve the quality of life for families, runs a weekly activity club for children and parents, providing fun and healthy activities as well as a monthly sibling’s support group.

'As a result, family anxieties can be significantly reduced knowing their voices will be heard and they feel more empowered to take control, and cope better with their circumstances and the issues they face,' said Kirsty.

And ‘Families InFocus’ is really making a difference across Essex with 80% of their clients reporting positive educational changes for their children and with at least 70% of families saying they now feel less socially isolated.

'I understand that almost 10,000 families are registered with the charity and in 2019 – 2020 they supported in total 2,000 families with educational and benefits issues,' said Paul Tarrant, Provincial Grand Master for Essex Freemasons.

'It’s a remarkable charity that is making a huge impact across our County and I am delighted that we have been able to help.'

During the pandemic, the charity had to stop working face to face but continued to provide information, advice and support by telephone, email and remotely via skype, FaceTime and zoom. As restrictions are being removed, they aim to restart weekly sessions and monthly siblings’ groups again.

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