A charity supporting disadvantaged children and young people will expand its services into Basildon after being awarded over £310,000 from the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund.

Basildon Council’s Community Involvement Team assisted Kids Inspire with its successful funding application. The grant will enable the Mid-Essex based charity to launch its Reclaiming Lives project in South Essex.

The project supports young people aged up to 19 who are affected by emerging mental health issues or trauma. Children referred to Kids Inspire often display dangerous behaviours such as suicidal thoughts, self-harm, eating disorders or substance abuse.

Reclaiming Lives provides each child with a tailored package of support including therapies that combine art, play, drama and music techniques.

Cllr Gavin Callaghan, Basildon Council’s Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, said: "This funding will make a huge difference to the lives of children and young people who are educationally, economically or socially disadvantaged. Many of the youngsters Kids Inspire help have experienced trauma, family breakdown, bereavement, anxiety or bullying.

"Our Community Involvement Team worked extremely hard to scrutinise the funding bid and bring the Reclaiming Lives project to Basildon and South Essex. We are determined to support families and keep children safe from harm so I’m delighted we have been able to work alongside Kids Inspire to achieve this."

The Big Lottery funding will also enable Kids Inspire, which celebrated its tenth anniversary this year, to expand its successful Mentoring Programme and share specialist knowledge by training teachers and frontline professionals.

Kids Inspire CEO and Founder, Sue Bell, said: "We are excited to have been awarded this substantial funding. Many young people are referred to us because other agencies consider them ‘too complex’ to help. Demand for our services remains extremely high, with referrals averaging 18 per week."

Janice Lee, Bid Development Fundraiser at Kids Inspire, added: "The process of researching and writing the bid opened a lot of doors in itself - we now have strong relationships with Basildon Council and Basildon, Billericay and Wickford CVS, which will help us to reach local children in need of our services."

To find out more about Kids Inspire visit kidsinspire.org.uk