BOSP Brighter Opportunities for Special People is a registered charity (1107392) which has been offering support to families for over 31 years by providing fun short break activities for their children and young people with learning and physical disabilities.
We are dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults with disabilities through fully supported social activities, whilst relieving family pressures by providing much needed support away from the home.
Originally known as Brentwood Opportunities for Special People, the charity was formed in 1991 by a group of parents of children with disabilities. Its original purpose was to support parents and carers by providing a meeting place while entertaining the disabled child with hall based activities. Within a few years this support group had evolved to enable the parents to leave their children in the care of Playworkers and volunteers. In 2005 BOSP changed its name and acquired limited company status. In 2009 BOSP became Ofsted registered. Today BOSP is known for the high-quality care and support it provides. In 2013/14 our work was recognised as Outstanding by Ofsted. In 2019 we changed name once again to Brighter Opportunities for Special People, to reflect our evolving programme of services for those up to 25 years, and that we offer much more than a free-play minding service.
We support Children and young people with any type of disability, from Asperger's and moderate learning disabilities to those with complex disabilities or life-limiting illnesses. They are vulnerable and extremely marginalised in society. Those with profound physical disabilities, require specialist feeding or have challenging behaviour are unable to access activities that are readily available to their peers and this can have a huge impact on their social and emotional development. Disabled children and young adults however have the same needs as other children and they value sport, play and youth activities just the same. Such group activities are essential to their well-being.
Supporting children and young adults with complex medical/behavioural conditions necessitates the need to employ and train specialist staff. Due to the increased costs associated with this, many providers are reluctant or unable to provide equal access services, resulting in disabled and very ill children with the highest needs being disadvantaged further as the availability of suitable clubs is reduced.
Our clubs are quite unique in South Essex and very important to families as they have expressed that they want ‘proper’ respite away from their home along with inclusive activities for their child/young adult within the community.
Many of our staff and volunteers have lived experience of disabilities. We truly understand the needs of our beneficiaries and the challenges that caring for a disabled child/young adult brings and are dedicated to improving their lives with fully supported social activities.
Accessibility for children, parent carers and visitors
All of our venues are accessible for wheelchair users, including The BOSP Office. We also have staff trained in trained in BSL (British Sign Language).
The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2022
BOSP was delighted to have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2022. This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.
We feel privileged to have been one of the last charities Her Majesty personally chose to be honoured with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service during the last year of her 70-year reign.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is a life-long honour and aims to recognise outstanding work provided to communities by the voluntary sector. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service crystal and certificate were presented to Brighter Opportunities for Special People by Mr Simon Brice, Deputy Lieutenant for Essex, Her Majesty’s representative in the County. Lady Rosemary Ruggles-Brise, DL read the formal citation.
In addition, two representatives from BOSP will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
Peter Davies, Chair says: “How delighted I am that our group’s vital work has been recognised. This award is a formal thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers and supporters for their time and commitment, which makes what we do possible”.