Lifeline for parents awarded vital funding

19th February 2018

A funding boost of £8,200 has been given to an “amazing” organisation which offers a lifeline to parents who have children with additional needs.

The MAZE Group CIC has been awarded the grant by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF) to provide more training courses for parents in Colchester and Tendring.

The courses give vital help and guidance to parents, or carers, of children with additional needs, including those with a learning difficulty, physical disability, autism, ADHD or cerebral palsy.

Thanks to the training, called ‘the MAZE Approach’, families are able to build more positive relationships, develop communication strategies and improve behaviour.

Debbie White, from Colchester, is among the many parents who have found the 12-week long course to be life-changing.

She said: “MAZE is amazing, helping families to understand and manage their additional needs. My son Tom is now 22, but didn’t receive his diagnosis of ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) until he was nearly 20.

“Having received this diagnosis, we assumed we would be signposted to other organisations that could provide advice, but nothing happened.

“In 2016, we moved to Colchester and by chance were told about MAZE. I attended their course last January and it really has made a big impact on how we manage the challenges that Tom and our family face day-to-day.

“During my time with MAZE, they helped me to understand my son’s needs and how I can be more supportive to him. The skills that I learnt have not only made me a better mum, but it made me realise how lucky I am to have such a special, amazing son in my life.”

Debbie is now a mentor to other parents and enjoys volunteering with MAZE to give something back to help other families who find themselves in the position she was.

Sue Anderton, director of MAZE, welcomed the funding from ECF which will help the organisation to meet the demand for the services it provides.

She said: “When parents have a strong understanding of the additional needs their child has, they are better equipped to raise them. This understanding and the tools they learn on the programme creates happier parents, happier children and happier siblings, who enjoy a calmer more stable home life.

“MAZE continues to grow, and we are making plans for further development. We hope to increase what we can offer parents, and carers, later this year.”

As well as the training programmes, MAZE also holds social coffee mornings for parents once a month, meeting in Harwich, Clacton and Colchester. To find out more, visit

ECF pooled money from two of the endowed charitable funds it manages, the Blanc Family Fund and the Diana Tinson Fund to award this vital grant to MAZE.

For more information about ECF and to find out how to make an application for funding call ECF on 01245 356018.