Families at risk of isolation in Bromley will receive crucial support that will benefit around 180 children with autism and their family members, thanks to a £49,000 grant from West Kent Freemasons to the charity, BeyondAutism.

The right support throughout a child’s early years can have a profound impact upon long-term learning and development, improving social and emotional outcomes for children with autism. The BeyondAutism Early Years’ service, aimed at children aged 15 months to five years, runs weekly sessions to improve communication skills and develop understanding around behaviour.

The service provides a safe and supportive space where parents are empowered to support their child’s development at the most fundamental time in their life, where the brain is most receptive to change. Through play, and focusing on the child’s unique preferences and interests, the team work alongside families to encourage language and communication development.

BeyondAutism Early Years’ supports a range of families in Bromley and the surrounding boroughs. Up to 90 per cent of the families accessing the Early Years’ service are from non-white backgrounds, families who are often underrepresented and struggle to access the right support. BeyondAutism ensures families have access to relevant techniques, guidance and support to overcome barriers to learning and wellbeing; and to boost confidence and understanding.

“My child’s behaviour has changed a lot. She was self-harming previously which stopped completely with help from BeyondAutism. Her emotional outbursts have also decreased considerably, and she has learned how to [play with] other children” – Parent

The grant from West Kent Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Head of Charity, Stephen Rozier, of West Kent Freemasons, said:

“We’re delighted to be supporting BeyondAutism in their service that will provide a safe space for children with autism to develop their communication and social skills, as well as build their self-confidence and make a major improvement in their quality of life.”

Bernadett Rankasz, Head of Early Years at BeyondAutism, said:

We’re extremely grateful to West Kent Freemasons for their generous grant which is needed now more than ever. Your funding will allow us to make a big difference to the lives of more families, helping parents to build their understanding and confidence and improving the lives of children with autism.”