AN art scheme providing free materials to help disadvantaged children, vulnerable adults and people with learning disabilities will soon have distributed 25,000 mandala colouring books across Essex.

Get Started Art was founded in Thurrock back in November 2022 but is now starting to support people throughout the county, and even in the likes of Suffolk, London, Oxford, Kent and Scotland.

Initially funded by a £6,000 grant from the Essex Freemasons Community Fund, the scheme has already supplied 4,000 colouring books and 10,000 colouring pencils to 62 groups.

This includes nine NHS hospitals, five schools supporting children with special educational needs and 23 Alzheimer and dementia day care centres and homes, as well as a further 25 local charities and community groups. 

Further funding from local businesses as well as support from other Masonic lodges and Centres throughout Essex has also seen the distribution of 10,000 mini versions of the mandala style books.

They are currently being sent to 'co-ordinators' throughout Essex who are supporting children with special educational needs in the county's primary schools.

Yet more funding is now in place for a further 11,000 of the larger colouring books, which are intended to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve mood and create a sense of accomplishment for children and adults.

In addition to helping with the distribution of the mandala style colouring books, Essex Freemasons in Thurrock, Braintree, Southend, Colchester and Chelmsford continue to engage with charities directly and actively seek out new ones. 

Peter Low, the provincial communications officer for Essex Freemasons, said: “At a time when the awareness of mental health is so prevalent, both Essex Freemasons and Get Started Art want to support mindfulness and anxiety relief by helping others to reduce stress by engaging in these Art Therapy Colouring Books.

“The aim is to donate as many as possible to those community groups that can benefit the most, as well as raising further public awareness of a problem that can affect anybody at any time."

Discover more at