DISADVANTAGED children will be given free karate lessons to help make a difference to their lives.

Maru Karate Kai has been awarded £4,565 by BBC Children in Need to boost the confidence of 30 deprived youngsters in Basildon.

Marc Grayston and his wife Clair, have been running the karate club since 2009 in Luncies Road meeting hall, Fairhouse Infant School and Whitmore Way Junior School to build youngsters’ self esteem and improve their physical fitness while having fun. They have been given the funding to offer 30 spaces in its children’s karate classes, free of charge, for a whole year.

Chief instructor Marc, who also works full time in the City of London, said: “As we celebrate our fifth anniversary this year, it’s fantastic that we reach such a milestone with support from Children in Need.

“We can now ensure children who may not have been able to afford to take part previously have the opportunity to try karate without the financial barriers.

“We have said time and again we aren’t just a karate club, but a platform to boost young people’s confidence. I couldn’t be prouder to do this in Basildon.”

The club, will work with Fairhouse Infant School and Whitmore Way Junior School every week, will work with the schools to identify children in the community who may benefit most from the free sessions.

Danny Lawrence, deputy mayor of Basildon and one of the clubs patrons, said: “I am delighted to support this project and was delighted to provide a reference.

“The grant will help disadvantaged children access karate and give them a sense of well being whilst promoting healthy living.”

It is not the first time Maru Karate Kai has been granted cash. It has also received funding from Active Essex to offer female self-defence classes.