Mums meet demand for special needs support

Tracy English with her son, Rian (aged three months) and Adele Richards at the Beacon Children's Cen

Tracy English with her son, Rian (aged three months) and Adele Richards at the Beacon Children's Centre in Drake Road, Chafford Hundred. Tracey English and Adele Richards are two mums who have setup the area's first special needs support group - Credit: Vickie Flores

Two Chafford Hundred mums have set up a support group for families and carers in the area who look after children or adults with special needs.

Tracey English and her friend Adele Richards, who both live in Drake Road, have five-year-old sons, Joseph and Oliver, who have special needs. They decided to set up the Chafford Hundred Special Needs Network when they couldn’t find any support groups close to home.

Tracey said: “The nearest group we could find was in Basildon which is difficult to get to, especially as I don’t drive. It’s hugely important to have groups like this for families with special needs children as there is so much misinformation out there especially about benefits and entitlements. It’s important for families or carers to be able to be around people that can understand what they are going through and just simply to be able to chat to others who have similar issues.

“Our first meeting was at the Sandmartin pub in Drake Road and we had eight people attending as well as the special needs co-ordinator from Thurrock Council. Our Facebook page is up and running and it has been inspiring to read some of the posts from families who have been opening their hearts to us. It’s clear there is a need for this group and we just hope that more and more people will come along to the meetings, including some local councillors.”

Both Tracey and Adeles’ sons are in the same class at Tudor Court Primary. Tracey’s son Joseph suffers from a bowel condition and delayed learning.

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She added: “We also have meetings at the Beacon Children’s Centre in Drake Road which is ideal for families with smaller children as they can bring them along to play with the toys there whilst we chat over a coffee. We are also hoping to raise some money so that we can arrange a day out in the summer for members of the group and their children.”

The group meets fortnightly at the Sandmartin pub on Wednesdays, 10am -11am and fortnightly at the Beacon Children’s Centre on Tuesdays, 10am -11am.

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For more information visit The Chafford Hundred Special Needs Network Facebook page or Twitter Chafford Network, or call 07538 874538 or email

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