A club, which brings together children of all abilities as “one big family” has been given a major boost with a grant of £7,500.
The funding for Mistley Kids Club has come from the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and will mean that the club can buy new equipment for children with special needs and also provide extra training for staff.
The club, based at Mistley Village Hall, gives a vital service by running after-school and holiday activities for children from primary and secondary schools and much of its success comes from the fact that special needs and mainstream children mix together.
“All of our children at Kids Club are very special to us and we are like one big family,” said Claire Moss, manager of the club.
“We are a non-profit making and completely inclusive organisation, catering for children of all abilities, many of whom come to us on a daily basis. We have over 300 children registered with us and 147 of these have special needs ranging from mild to severe to life threatening conditions. All of the children who attend the club get along brilliantly. They help each other and all want to ensure that their friends are having fun while at the club. We are very happy that they all accept each other, despite their differences, and the fact that they mix so well will give them greater awareness of such issues in later life.
We are one of the very few organisations to cater for such a wide range of children. Each week we get a new family register with us and we have had to start a waiting list. One thing that has really increased is the number of families registering with us who have several children with special needs. The parents find it very difficult to cope during school holidays, so this is where we can give a lot of help. Our club brings a great benefit to the community because it enables parents and carers to study or work, giving them and their families a better quality of life and raising their standards of living. We work closely with families to help their children achieve their full potential and offer daily activities such as team sports and group play. We also teach qualities such as kindness, understanding and accepting differences.
All our children are able to learn basic skills such as cooking and crafting, as well as social skills such as eating politely and tidying up. Without being able to access our club we feel that the children and their families would have fewer opportunities. Funding is an ongoing struggle for us so we are really grateful to ECF for the grants we have received. The safety of our children is paramount and we give an excellent quality of care. Having extra funds means we can continue to provide this care and more extensive training for our staff which is always needed. We will also be able to buy new equipment for our sensory rooms for children who have special needs”.
ECF was able to pool grant money from three of the endowed charitable funds it manages; the Milsom Charitable Fund, the Blanc Family Fund and the Chiron Fund, to provide the £7,500 grant for Mistley Kids Club.
Paul Milsom and his wife Geraldine, set up the Milsom Charitable Fund with ECF in 2007 in memory of Paul’s father Gerald. To date the Fund has distributed nearly £14,000 locally.
Commenting on the latest grant awarded, Paul said: “We are delighted that money from our Fund has supported such a worthwhile organisation which is encouraging children to build their skills, be creative and help them reach their full potential. Mistley Kids Club is a great example of these aims being put into action. Our Fund with ECF enables us to support voluntary and community groups that are local and where a relatively small amount of money can make a significant difference. By pooling our funds with others our money can have an even greater impact.”.
To apply for grant funding or for more information about Essex Community Foundation and how we can help you channel your charitable giving to support local charities visit www.essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk.