Educational Opportunities Enhanced for Disabled Children with Donations from London Freemasons

W Bro John Little SLGR reports

A donation from the London Freemasons has enabled the Strongbones Children’s Charitable Trust to move forward its work in building a more inclusive society for disabled children with the purchase of a language communication aid for non-verbal children, which also serves as a musical instrument.

A national registered charity, Strongbones, was set up to increase inclusion by providing disability equipment and the organisation of educational opportunities as well as workshops, practical support for parents and carers together with respite breaks and family interaction days. 

The London Freemasons’ grant has been used to purchase Skoog equipment which enables children to use a coloured box as a verbal communication aid and also play instruments with easy-to-follow colour-coded soft-touch buttons for children with limited movement.

During the pandemic, 100% of the Strongbones Charity’ children were on the NHS vulnerable persons list and shielded due to their respiratory diseases or low immune systems. This caused severe stress and anxiety for many families in having to experience a challenging level of social isolation

Norman McNamara, a Strongbones Trustee, comments: ’Many people will not appreciate how much strength and resilience is needed to care for a disabled child. We feel society overlooks these parents, siblings and carers leaving them and their children feeling abandoned by the outside world.

‘There has been extremely limited support with education for our families during the last year, leaving them on a cliff edge, cut off from educational support. Strongbones is extremely proud to have been able to provide great support to our families during this period by providing educational activity packs, sensory equipment, light boards, sensory pods, sensory tables, tablets, computer software, and communication aids to support children during the pandemic. We are very keen to continue with home education items after seeing the direct life-changing impact these items have on our children’s lives.

‘Emerging from this pandemic, the Freemasons’ donation of £4000 is particularly welcome and timely in furthering our work. It will help us in our aim to encourage children, and young people with lifelong medical conditions, to grow by supporting them and their families and carers thereby allowing each young person to gain experience as individuals, enriching their lives through inclusion, stimulation, inspiration and education.

‘We believe that, by working with and supporting families, we can increase aspirations and widen understanding to ensure our young people live more fulfilled lives.’

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 47 January 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 47 here.