A project giving people with disabilities the opportunity to discover their inner magician has been given a funding boost.

Essex Freemasons donated £3,000 to the highly successful Music Man Project which is supported by Southend Mencap.

It is the UK’s first full-time music education service and was founded in south Essex by former deputy headteacher David Stanley to meet demand for musical opportunities accessible to everyone.

Paul Reeves, deputy provincial grand master for Essex Freemasons, who presented the £3,000 cheque, said: “We were pleased to support this excellent community project which allows those with learning difficulties to enjoy and play music at the highest level.”

“We have more than 2,000 masons who meet locally at Southend and Rochford so we are also very much part of this community and are delighted to be involved.”

David Stanley, founder of The Music Man Project, said: “We are hugely grateful to Essex Freemasons for their wonderful support. It will enable Music Man Project to maintain and expand our education and performance opportunities for our students, giving them the chance to entertain.”