Devonshire Freemasons have donated £4,000 to the Devon Air Ambulance, bringing the total masonic support given to air ambulances across the country to £2.3 million since 2007

Ian Kingsbury, Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire, was on hand to present the grant to Devon Air Ambulance, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, accompanied by Dr. Reuben Ayres, Provincial Grand Charity Steward. The total contribution to Devon Air Ambulance since 2007 by Freemasons is £55,000 and when adding the donations made by individual Devon lodges, the total reaches over £116,000.

The Air Ambulance operates right across Devonshire and in 2017 assisted 990 patients, more than any other year. 50% of these incidents were medical emergencies such as heart attacks, with 49% being trauma related (for example, road traffic collisions and accidental injuries). 12% of all jobs attended were to children.

Devon Air Ambulance relies entirely on charitable grants and donations from the community, businesses and friends of Devon.

Caroline Creer, Fundraising and Communications Director for Devon Air Ambulance, said: ‘We would like to thank the Devonshire Freemasons for their continued support and generosity. Support like theirs really does mean a lot and helps to keep Devon’s two Air Ambulances flying.’

Ian Kingsbury said: ‘We are proud to be able to support the Devon Air Ambulance. Thanks to their team’s tireless efforts, many lives of local people are saved every year.’

During 2018, Freemasons from around the country will be presenting 20 regional air ambulances with grants totalling £192,000.

Buckinghamshire Freemasons have presented the charitable trust Harry's Rainbow with a donation for £2,500

Andrew Hough, Buckinghamshire's Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) Representative, and Mike Clanfield, Buckinghamshire's Provincial Charity Steward, visited Odette Mould and Emma Gilead from Harry's Rainsbow to present them with a certificate to mark the donation, which comes through the MCF.

Harry's Rainbow support children and young people in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas who have been bereaved of a family member. This is done in many ways including providing memory boxes with books and information relevant to their circumstances.

They hold a Rainbow group once a month which provides children with the opportunity to spend time with others going through similar circumstances, thus helping them feel less isolated and lonely. It includes activities that can help build self-esteem and confidence as well as instilling that it’s okay to have fun and smile. 

The families are also able to have holidays in a Rainbow home based in Camber Sands free of charge and they organise ad-hoc trips in the school holidays, with all trips that they provide free to both the children and families.

More than 800 cancer patients will receive therapy or counselling, following a grant of £60,000 to Cavendish Cancer Care from Yorkshire, West Riding Freemasons

The grant will be used to fund a new Assessor, who will put together personalised care plans to help those with a cancer diagnosis deal with the physical and emotional consequences of cancer, and the treatments that are prescribed.

Every year, 30,000 people in Yorkshire are diagnosed with cancer, and 320,000 in England and Wales, where there are currently over 2.1 million people living with the condition.

Cavendish Cancer Care supports people living with cancer in Yorkshire and their loved ones, offering complementary therapies such as counselling, massage and acupuncture.

Assessors are the first point of contact at the centre and form a fundamental part of the support process. The Assessor will talk through a person’s concerns and will help them to decide on treatments. At the end of a client’s course of therapy, they will undertake a review and will re-refer clients if they feel they would benefit from more Cavendish support, or refer them onto other services. As well as supporting patients, Cavendish also offers support to their carers and loved ones, including their children who can use the centre’s specialised young people’s service.

Carly Honeycombe was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 26, and visited Cavendish alongside her chemotherapy for sessions of reflexology and healing. 'My sessions were all about me and keeping my body as healthy as possible through this process,' Carly says.

'They helped me get through it. I don’t think people realise how valuable Cavendish is. I wasn’t picking between Cavendish and somewhere else to go for respite and rejuvenation. It’s invaluable because there’s nothing else like it.'

The grant from Yorkshire, West Riding Freemasons, comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018 11:27

Berkshire Freemasons donate £5,000 to Me2 Club

Berkshire Freemasons have donated £5,000, via the Masonic Charitable Foundation, to local charity Me2 Club

The Me2 Club helps children with a variety of difficulties attend mainstream activities. As part of raising the charity’s profile, on 17th September 2018 the Me2 Club hosted a tea party which was attended by HRH The Countess of Wessex.

Amongst the guests were Anthony Howlett-Bolton, Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire, and David Jarvis, the Provincial Almoner. Both were introduced to Her Royal Highness and explained how Berkshire Freemasons had helped the club in raising funds to support their activities.

Anthony Howlett-Bolton also joined in the fun at the tea party, helping children draw and read, as well as serving them cake and other goodies.

Bernadette Ferne, Me2 Club’s Chair, was delighted at the support from Berkshire Freemasons over the last two years. She said: 'It has supported general activities as well as trading courses for the volunteers. Without this support our charity would find things harder to achieve.'

Families struggling to cope will have somewhere to turn, thanks to a grant of £4,929 from Suffolk Freemasons to Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk

The grant, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, will support a service which helps parents who have at least one child under five. Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk looks at the challenges the parents can encounter and provides encouragement, understanding and help. In particular they will look at:

  • The child’s physical needs and development 
  • Dealing with their child’s challenging behaviour 
  • Support to play and interact with their child 
  • Enabling parents to facilitate their child’s language development 
  • Help with their child going to pre-school and school and being school ready

Other issues where parents may seek support include post-natal depression, mental health problems, depression and loneliness and isolation.

Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk’s work is all about early intervention which prevents a problem becoming a crisis. They empower parents to help themselves through the support of trained, dedicated volunteers who are parents themselves or have parenting experience. 

Staff train and support the volunteers to enable them to support parents either within the home visiting service or within the family group settings. Through the home visiting service a volunteer will visit and support a parent in their home for two or three hours on a weekly basis for a few months. 

The family groups are run by a staff member with the support of the volunteers who help for two hours a week. Parents attend with their children. In some areas the charity also has some groups run by volunteers with the support of staff. Volunteers also help at occasional family groups which are specifically for dads to come with their children for a few hours a month. 

Carol Read, Chair of Trustees at Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk, said: 'Anyone who has children knows how difficult it can be in the best of circumstances. We use the skills and experience of our volunteers to help those parents who are in need of support. We’re very grateful to Suffolk Freemasons for their generous grant which will allow us to provide essential advice and encouragement to people who really need it.' 

David Clarke, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Suffolk, commented: 'We are very pleased to be able to help Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk, who do outstanding work providing support for local families. Their trained and dedicated volunteers help to prevent a problem becoming a crisis.'

An intrepid group of veteran soldiers, who are suffering the mental and physical effects of their service, are heading across the continent to Greece and back, thanks to a grant from Dorset Freemasons

The Veterans in Action (VIA) charity were awarded £25,000 from Dorset Freemasons last year for the Veterans Expedition Overland project, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation. As a result, four Land Rovers left Freemasons' Hall this month on for an overland expedition driving from the UK to Greece and back, a journey of 7,000 miles passing through 14 different countries.   

Veterans in Action helps veterans who have suffered the effects of war or who have found the transition to civilian life difficult. VIA also works to enable people to understand more about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and veterans' mental health issues. VIA uses the outdoors, centre-based projects, adventurous activities and expeditions to help veterans re-build their confidence, self-esteem, and self-belief. The charity was one of four to be nominated by Freemasons in Dorset, with local people voting to decide the level of their award.

Work started on the vehicles in November 2017, with a group of veterans from all over the UK, plus serving personnel from the local Tidworth Garrison, coming together once a month to work on first stripping the vehicles then fixing and preparing them for the overland expedition. To date, over 50 veterans and serving personnel have taken part in the project.

These vehicles will give longevity to the project and will be used to train veterans in all aspects of expedition planning, off road driving and active expeditions. Mini expeditions are currently being planned which are aimed at the local military garrison Tidworth in Wiltshire, where there are 15,000 troops and their families.   

In 2019, after the expedition returns from Greece, Veterans In Action plan to do a year-long road trip around the UK to raise awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. They hope to raise funds to buy a property which will be set up as a veterans retreat which will include many workshops and outdoor activities.

Following the Dorset Freemasons' grant, VIA were also awarded £10,000 from AVIVA, £10.000 from The Veterans Foundation and £10,000 from the National Lottery. They have also received sponsorship from many companies which include Maltings 4x4, All Makes 4x4, Terrafirma 4x4, UPOL, Raptor Paint, Premier Group, Curry's/KnowHow, Teng Tools and Regatta Outdoors, as well as individual masonic lodges from across Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset.

Billy MacLeod, Chief Operations Officer of Veterans In Action, said: 'The initial support of the grant of £25,000 from Dorset Freemasons made the Veterans Expeditions Overland project a reality. That's why we've decided to set off on our expedition from Freemason's Hall. On our return we'd like the chance to visit as many lodges as we can around the country to show them what their support has achieved'.

Mark Burstow from Dorset Freemasons said: 'We're very pleased to be able to support Veterans in Action, who do outstanding work with veterans who are living with the effects of war. Our service personnel have given a great deal to our country and it's only right that we give something back to them.’

People in East Devon living with dementia and other degenerative conditions will be offered ‘armchair adventures’ and ‘musical life stories’ as part of an expanded reminiscence service, thanks to a £44,000 grant from Devonshire Freemasons to the Action East Devon charity

The Forget Me Not project will see trained volunteers and project staff run themed sessions for people with early onset dementia, helping them to collect music associated with their life stories. Music is downloaded onto portable personal music players, including headphones which can accommodate hearing aids.

The Armchair Travel sessions takes participants on an armchair tour of a chosen country, including music, large screen videos, food, celebrations, clothing and decorations from the destination country.

Memory boxes are provided for those with sensory impairment and memory loss, containing a collection of objects from the 1930’s to the 1970’s. The boxes are based on a theme such as Christmas Past, Looking Good, Staying Healthy, Royalty, In the Kitchen, School Days, Travels and Holidays, Tools and Gadgets, Home Front. The items are textured, scented, colourful and noisy, appealing to all the senses and prompting participants to share stories and compare past experiences. 

Dementia is now the leading killer in the United Kingdom. Dementia rates in East Devon are far higher than the national average, which makes Forget Me Not such an essential service to people in the area.

Charlotte Hanson, Chief Executive of Action East Devon, said: 'We’re very grateful to Devonshire masons for their generous grant which will help us to make sure older people in East Devon continue to have their stories valued and that they and their families and carers are supported throughout their lives.

'This year we are celebrating Action East Devon’s 20th birthday and we are very excited to be able to carry on this work for a further three years.'

The £44,000 donation comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Ian Kingsbury, Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire, commented: 'We’re very pleased to be able to help Action East Devon with this very valuable project to help people with dementia.

'Dementia rates in Devon being much higher than the national average, it’s especially important that we look at providing new services both for people with dementia and for their families and carers.'

Suffolk Freemasons Andy Gentle and Nick Moulton cycled all the way down to Freemasons' Hall on 12 September 2018, completing the final part of a four year challenge which has helped to raise over £21,600 towards their Festival 2019 for the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution

The Provincial Grand Master of Suffolk Ian Yeldham, together with his partner Amanda, wishing to show their support, accompanied Andy and Nick on this last cycle. All arrived safely and were greeted by Sir David Wootton, UGLE Assistant Grand Master, and James Newman, Chairman of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, along with around 70 supportive members from Suffolk.

Back in 2014, Andy and Nick came up with the idea of cycling to every lodge within the Province to attend a meeting, looking to raise awareness of the Festival whilst also hoping to gain an extra donation from each lodge they visited. With the added bonus of getting a little fitter and also being some of the very few to have visited all 68 lodges in the Province.

Their original target of £6,600 had to be re-evaluated due to fantastic support, as in the end the total amount raised was over £21,600 with 2,260 miles cycled. 

Andy commented: 'The cycling challenge has been just that, no easy task either physically or logistically, with one of the hardest aspects being the juggle with work trying to fit in around all the various lodges meeting dates. 

'But it was rewarding in so many ways, seeing the beautiful Suffolk countryside in a way we would never have otherwise seen it, making so many new friends amongst brothers and of course being so very well supported by all the lodges.'

Buckinghamshire Freemasons have donated £5,000 to Different Strokes, to assist the charity in their work to support and improve the lives of younger stroke survivors  

Andrew Hough, the Buckinghamshire Charity Representative, visited Different Strokes in Milton Keynes, on behalf of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, to present the cheque for £5,000.

Historically, stroke support has focused on those over the age of 65, but every year 25,000 people of working age and younger suffer a stroke. Often, they receive limited rehabilitation, emotional and practical help which they need to rebuild their lives.

The organisation seeks to help in a variety of ways including exercise and peer support groups, practical information on matters such as benefits and returning to work. They also offer an information line and collaborate with other organisations which champion the voice of the stroke survivor.

Austin Willett, Strategic Business Manager for Different Strokes, commented: 'We’re really grateful to the Buckinghamshire Freemasons for the grant they have given us. This will allow us to continue to provide quality services to younger stroke survivors and their families at a time when they most need help.

'As a charity that relies on the generosity of individuals and organisations to fund our services, it’s fantastic to know that the Freemasons recognise the impact of our work and are so supportive towards us.'

‘Suicide is the major cause of death in all people under 35 years of age’. That alarming statistic is one that will probably come as a major shock to many people. It certainly was to the group of West Lancashire Freemasons who were visiting the Warrington headquarters of the charity Papyrus, who have received a grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) of £65,342

The MCF has made the grant on behalf of the Province of West Lancashire, but on this occasion the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison was accompanied by his colleague from the neighbouring Province of Cheshire, Stephen Blank.

Papyrus, which was formed in 1997 in Lancashire, has three simple aims: provide confidential help and advice to young people and anyone worried about a young person; help others to prevent young suicide by working with and training professionals; and campaign and influence national policy. They summarise this as: Support, Equip and Influence.

The visitors were welcomed by CEO Ged Flynn, who explained the work that the charity does and also outlined the problems that are being faced nationally, as they try to de-stigmatise suicide and raise awareness of this tragic loss of young people. Ged stressed that the charity has values that it strongly promotes.

He said: 'We believe that many young suicides are preventable, and that no young person should suffer alone with thoughts or feelings of hopelessness. We believe that everyone can play a role in preventing young suicide.'

Stephen Habgood, who is the Chairman of Papyrus, then very movingly related his own story of the loss of his only child, Christopher 26, to suicide in 2009. Sarah Fitchett, a trustee of the charity, also shared her own tragic experience in speaking of the death of her 14-year-old son, Ben by suicide in 2013.

Their openness in speaking so frankly about their emotional experiences was a very moving revelation to the visitors but also cause for admiration, as they explained how they are working to try and prevent others having to experience the same trauma.

The £65,000 grant will enable the charity to engage another advisor to work on their HOPELineUK helpline (0800 068 4141), which is there to provide confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person.

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