Chill zones to help hundreds of disadvantaged children

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A Basildon based charity, dedicated to creating the best start in life for disadvantaged children and young people, is ready to create its own “Chill Zones” to provide vital respite and support for hundreds of parents and carers across south Essex, thanks to a major grant from Essex Freemasons.

The money, £14,874 has been donated to BOSP, short for Brighter Opportunities for Special People, via the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemason’s own charity and will be used to fund outdoor sports and other activities for young adults for at least the next three years.

BOSP provide a range of leisure and respite services to young people with complex disabilities or life-limiting illnesses in Basildon, the same activities and opportunities as their peers, allowing them to develop independence, self-esteem and social skills. Equally as important, their families also benefit from the vital breaks offered by these respite sessions.

Jodie Connelly, BOSP Chief Executive, explained: “We help families lead an active and ordinary life and aim to prevent crisis by keeping families together and children in their homes. The charity provides 12 different regular clubs and activities with care at evenings, weekends and during school holidays for children and young people from birth to 25 years, plus two parental support groups.”

“We identified a large gap in our services where we wanted to provide more outdoor activities and this grant from Essex Freemasons will enable us to run these or what we call chill zones. The money has really come at the right time when young people are facing increased mental health issues as a result of lockdown”

BOSP regularly supports 110 local children and over 400 parents and siblings who experience improved confidence and self-esteem, improved speech with use of signing plus emotional development, improved social skills, group participation and reduced isolation.

Paul Tarrant, Provincial Grand Master for Essex Freemasons, commented: “It is charities such as BOSP that make such a difference in the community and who really need our support. I have been very impressed by their work and have been pleased that we have been able to help.”

Picture caption: From left to right Colin Felton, Provincial Charity Steward for Essex Freemasons; Arsen Poghosyan, funding and development manager for BOSP; Paul Tarrant, Provincial Grand Master for Essex Freemasons and Jodie Connelly, BOSP CEO.