The grant has been well received by both the masonic community and local branches of SSAFA, providing funding across the country at a local level. Money was distributed to every Province with many cheque presentations taking place during the autumn period.
Grahame Elliott, President of the Grand Charity, said: ‘Over the last few months whilst attending various events in my capacity as President, I have heard from numerous members who wished to express their happiness at this grant. The sheer volume of support for SSAFA and the work they carry out has been outstanding. Clearly, supporting the Armed Forces is an important cause for the masonic community, which the Council has recognised and gladly done its best to acknowledge.’
General Sir Kevin O’Donoghue, SSAFA chairman, added: ‘We are very grateful to The Freemasons’ Grand Charity for this generous grant. It will go directly to our branches who assist veterans of all ages and their dependants. The recent and current conflicts mean that our services need to be tailored to ensure that they remain relevant to the needs of our clients of all ages.’
SSAFA provides a reliable, caring and trusted service to more than 50,000 people each year. The association’s 7,000 volunteers help with problems and concerns ranging from those of a practical nature, such as employment or mobility problems, to emotional issues, such as loneliness.
The Grand Charity began funding SSAFA Forces Help back in 1981, and in 2008 donated £100,000 towards the opening of two SSAFA Norton Homes, one in Birmingham and one in Surrey. The two homes provide short-term accommodation so that families can stay nearby whilst visiting their loved ones at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham and the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court, Surrey.
The houses were designed as a ‘home from home’ and are the first of their kind in the UK. The homes were so well received that SSAFA was awarded ‘Best Disability Charity’ for this project in 2009.
In 2009, the Grand Charity also funded the following charities: Combat Stress, The Colonel’s Fund Grenadier Guards, King Edward VII’s Hospital Sister Agnes, Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, Royal Hospital Chelsea Appeal and the Colonel’s Fund Scots Guards, which received £50,000 each.
The Grand Charity considers it vital to fund charitable projects which are of importance to the Craft. A strong relationship has grown between SSAFA Forces Help and the Grand Charity, and it is hoped that this will continue to provide support to many Servicemen and women and their families, for years to come.
NEW GRAND CHARITY WEB SITE
Please visit the Grand Charity online – our new website has launched and contains more information than ever before: www.grandcharity.org