Rennie Grove Hospice Care have received a £800 donation from Buckinghamshire Freemasons

The grant comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) and is part of a £600,000 grant made to 237 Hospices across England and Wales.

Buckinghamshire Freemason Peter Thomas (MCF Area Representative) presented the certificate to members of the Rennie Grove Hospice Care team, who are based in Tring.

Christine Goldsmith, Trust Fundraising Manager at the hospice, commented: ‘Thank you for the generous grant received from the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

‘Your grant has enabled Rennie Grove Hospice Care to continue to support local people with life-limiting illnesses and their families across Herts and Bucks. This grant provides 32 hours of specialist care from a Rennie Grove Hospice at home nurse.’

A charity providing life-saving support has received a cash donation of nearly £10,000 from Berkshire Freemasons

This huge sum was gathered through a series of contributions from Berkshire Freemasons and given to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance in January 2019.

The bulk of the funds were from the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the Berkshire Masonic Foundation, while further funds were being provided by individual lodges in Berkshire.

Anthony Howlett-Bolton, the Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire, said: 'We are thrilled to continue supporting the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Thanks to the tireless efforts of their doctors, paramedics and pilots, many lives of people in the Thames Valley are saved every year.'

Freemasons are very large contributors to the air ambulance charities; Berkshire Freemasons have contributed over £75,000 in the last ten years. Nationally, the contributions are in excess of £2 million.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance operates across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, providing frontline emergency car using four rapid response vehicles and one air ambulance.

Neil Harman, Director of Fundraising for Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: 'We are very grateful to Berkshire Freemasons for their continuing generosity. Without support like this our crew would not be able to provide advance critical care and our life-saving work could not continue.'

Buckinghamshire Freemasons have donated £400 to Florence Nightingale Hospice, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), as part of a £600,000 grant made to 237 Hospices across England and Wales

Peter Thomas, MCF area representative, presented the certificate to Jo Turner, CEO of the charity, which is based in Aylesbury.

Jo commented: ‘Thank you very much to the MCF and to Peter for delivering this generous donation.’

The hospice, which is now celebrating its 30th anniversary, has an in-house service and day hospice service. It also has ‘Florries’ which is a service specialising in supporting children with life limiting illnesses, and their families, in their own homes – the donation has been earmarked for this very important support.

This year, as part of their annual support of hospices throughout the country, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire Chris Yard presented Kings House Day Hospice with a donation of £800

Chris handed over a certificate denoting the amount on behalf of Devonshire Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) to Toni Hiscocks and Angie Phillips at Hospiscare’s Kings House Day Hospice in Honiton.

Devonshire Freemasons have been long-term supporters of Hospiscare’s Kings House and, along with individual donations made by many of the 133 lodges that meet throughout the county and the MCF, together have donated nearly £105,000 to Hospiscare since 1994.                         

On receiving the certificate, Angie Phillips, Clinical Nurse Practitioner for Kings House Day Hospice, said: ‘I am delighted to receive the £800 donation from the Masonic Charitable Foundation on behalf of Hospiscare’s Kings House Day Hospice. 

'This will go a long way in helping us support our patients in the East Devon area. We are reliant on 80% of our funding coming from voluntary sources and wouldn’t be able to deliver our care without the community’s support and organisations such as the Masonic Charitable Foundation.’

Hospiscare’s Kings House Day Hospice opened in 2015 with great support from the local community. Patients have access to specialist help and support, advice and treatment, and Hospiscare’s local team of Community Nurse Specialists that support patients in their own homes are also based there.

Assistant Provincial Grand Master Chris Yard said: ‘It is always a delight to be here with such dedicated and wonderful people, the Freemasons are very happy to be able to help by making this donation towards the on-going work of the Hospice.

'The dedication to the staff to the people of this area that need help is admirable – long may it continue.’

The Masonic Charitable Foundation, through the Province of Herefordshire, has supported local charity Hope Support Services with a grant of £4,719

Hope Support Services, founded in 2009 in Ross on Wye, provides support for young people aged 11-25 when a close family member is seriously ill with a life-threatening condition, especially those with cancer. They provide support at this stressful time through sessions where young people can gather together in Ross, Leominster and Hereford.

They arrange various activities and outings, and also provide support online, through Facebook and Skype, and are in the process of developing an app with help from Comic Relief which will enable young people to communicate with each other and to link with other charities which might be able to provide help.

Their aim is to provide emotional support for their young clients, of whom there are around 300, and to prepare them for bereavement. They also run a Building Better Opportunities course for those young people who are wanting to find work.

In 2017, they were approached by St Michael’s Hospice to run their services for the children of cancer patients being cared for by the Hospice. Children looked after in this way can be as young as five, and around 130 children and young people are cared for through this initiative.

They have eight full and part-time staff, plus a session worker and two online workers. There is also a Youth Management Team, who have benefited from the services themselves in the past and now help with planning and holding the charity’s range of activities.

On receiving the donation, Hope Support Services warmly thanked the Freemasons of Herefordshire for the generous grant, which will go towards developing the activities provided for young people at this difficult time in their lives.

As part of their annual support of Hospices throughout the country, Devonshire Freemasons have donated £988 to Rowcroft Hospice

Devonshire's Deputy Provincial Grand Master Nick Ball presented the certificate denoting the £988 grant, given on behalf of the Province of Devonshire and the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), to Debbi Shotton, Community Fundraising Officer for Rowcroft Hospice.

This year the MCF will give grants totalling £300,000 to 245 hospices in England and Wales including nearly £7,000 to seven hospices in Devon, as part of the £12 million given since 1984. This includes £300,000 which has been distributed between all the hospices that receive less than 65% funding from the NHS. A further £300,000 will be granted to the national charity for hospice care, Hospice UK, in a partnership aimed at developing and extending bereavement support services in hospices.

Devonshire Freemasons have been long-term supporters of Rowcroft Hospice and including individual donations made by many of the 133 lodges that meet throughout the county, combined with the MCF, have donated over £110,000 since 2000.

On receiving the certificate, Debbi Shotton said: ‘We are so grateful for the continued support of the Masonic Charitable Foundation. We care for over 2,000 patients and their loved ones every year across the 300 square miles of South Devon.

'In addition to our Inpatient Unit, our specialist palliative care nurses and Community Teams visit patients in their own homes, providing care and compassion where it is needed the most. It currently costs over £7 million to run Rowcroft’s extensive services and we have to raise over 70% of that ourselves. We rely heavily on the incredible generosity of the local community.’

Rowcroft Hospice have been serving the people of South Devon since 1982, helping to make every day the best day possible for patients with life-limiting illness, demonstrating real humanity in the delivery of end of life care to patients and equally importantly their families, enhancing lives to the end for thousands of people both at home and in the care of the hospice.

Deputy Provincial Grand Master Nick Ball said: ‘It is always a privilege for the Freemasons to be able to support Rowcroft Hospice and the work they do which is so valuable, not only to the patients but also to their families.’ 

Up to 2,400 older people living in parts of Exeter and East Devon will receive help to live full and independent lives in their own homes for longer, thanks to a grant from Devonshire Freemasons
 
The £37,184 grant to the Estuary League of Friends, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, has funded a new Volunteer Coordinator Marilyn Spencer, who will be responsible for creating 75 new volunteering opportunities for local people. It will help Estuary reach out to 1,000 more people in need over the next two years.
 
This new project comes at a critical time for older people living in Devon, where so many older people live out their retirement far from family and friends and are at risk of experiencing extreme loneliness especially as their health, or that of their partner, deteriorates. Devon County Council estimates that up to 57,000 people aged 65 years or more and living in the county experience loneliness or intense loneliness. 
 
Estuary’s new Volunteer Coordinator Marilyn will help combat loneliness experienced by older residents by creating meaningful volunteering opportunities, supporting local people to set up new activities that strengthen the community, and establishing new volunteer-led projects that reach out to the most vulnerable in our community.   
 
The Estuary League of Friends was founded by volunteers in 1987, and today, its staff and 165 local volunteers provide a wide range of services and activities helping over 1,400 people resident in Exeter and East Devon to live full and independent lives. Last year, Estuary was granted the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of community volunteering excellence. Yet, the charity has never had a staff member dedicated to supporting its volunteers.
 
Devon is also one of the 13 project areas across England and Wales in which the Masonic Charitable Foundation is working with Age UK in a £1 million initiative to reduce loneliness among older people.
 
Rachel Gilpin, Estuary’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted that Devonshire Freemasons have agreed to make a game-changing investment in the way that we work. This new Volunteer Coordinator post will help us reach many more of the vulnerable older generation who are part of our community and yet whose daily existence is one of isolation and loneliness.

'We would encourage local people who are interested in volunteering their time to get in touch with us today, to find out more about how they can help neighbours in need.'

Dr Reuben Ayres, Devonshire’s Provincial Grand Charity Steward, said: ‘The Freemasons of Devonshire are very pleased to be able to help the Estuary League of Friends, which does truly outstanding work helping older people overcome the loneliness and isolation that can make life thoroughly miserable.

'By employing Marilyn Spencer as volunteer coordinator we will reach out and enhance the lives of many more vulnerable people and we can then feel we have had a small part in achieving something worthwhile here in Devon.’

It was another sell out event at the annual Charity Boxing Night, organised by West Lancashire Freemasons, which helped to raise over £11,000 for charity

Held at the Cumbria Grand Hotel, Grange over Sands, on the edge of the Lake District, it was in this idyllic setting overlooking the natural grandeur of Morecambe Bay, that the tournament celebrated its 33rd year. With over 200 Freemasons and guests in attendance, a dinner and raffle preceded the main event, setting the stage for a great night of sport for everyone.

This year there were 14 bouts on the card which saw some very keenly contested competition between young boxers from amateur boxing clubs based in Barrow, Kendal and Carlisle, with each bout limited to just three rounds.

Peter Schofield, who is the chairman of the Furness and South Lakes masonic group, was full of praise for the organiser, Barry Bray and the evening’s regular MC Ralph Spours. Commenting on the amount of money raised by the event and its impact on local charities, Peter said: ‘I am personally delighted that the money given locally goes to those smaller, often unheralded, good causes who add so much to our communities and to whom a donation of a few hundred pounds makes a great difference. Some of the stories we hear at the presentation evenings are quite moving and confirm that our efforts really are worthwhile.

‘Last year saw this boxing event pass the £200,000 total as regards monies raised, we are now in a position to head for the £250,000 mark and that should be our focus over the next couple of years.’

It was confidently predicted at the end of the evening, that the total raised that night would exceed £11,000, which would be divided between the Masonic Charitable Foundation and local charities.

As usual, the event attracted widespread coverage in the local and regional press, giving many people an opportunity to learn a little more about the support Freemasons give to their local communities.

Lincolnshire Freemasons have given £5,000 to help improve the quality of life for those most in need in one of the country’s most deprived wards
 
This is the East Marsh in Grimsby, which has the unenviable status of being in the bottom 1% on a national deprivation league table. The money, which has come through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, has been given to Harbour Place who are based in Hope Street, Grimsby, and support rough sleepers, the homeless and other socially excluded people.
 
In September last year, the charity moved to the Hope Street premises, which allowed it to launch a permanent night shelter in support of its Street Outreach Project, which has been running since April 2011, and has now been expanded.
 
Project Director Robin Barr said: 'A key part of the project’s activities include supporting and advocating on behalf of clients through signposting, referral and access to a wide range of statutory and voluntary sector agencies. Since opening the Hope Centre in September 2018, Harbour Place has registered over 175 clients for the new service.'
 
'Since the move to Hope Street more than 50 people have been helped to find permanent accommodation, more than 30 of whom have been through the night shelter.'

Robin said that success was an indication of the significance of the £5,000 donation: 'Our records indicate that if we can work consistently with someone over a short period, we can usually assist them to find accommodation.'
 
The donation was made by Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master, David Wheeler, and Pete Tong, the Provincial Charity Steward.

Pete said: 'The message we brought away from the staff and volunteers at Harbour Place was that for more people than we might have imagined, the prospect of living on the street was too close for comfort. For many, the financial cushion which keeps the roof over their head is very thin indeed. 
 
'They told us of one man they were helping who had been a respected professional in the community, but after problems resulting from a marriage break-up he had been reduced to living on the street.
 
'The successes achieved by the team of staff and volunteers are hard won, and we trust our donation will help their efforts to be even more effective.'

Over 70 young people in and around Swindon will receive a major boost to their education, thanks to a £50,000 grant from Wiltshire Freemasons
 
The grant, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, will pay for a Villiers Park Educational Trust learning mentor, as part of the social mobility charity’s Scholars Programme.
 
The Swindon Scholars Programme is for high ability students in Years 10-13, who face barriers – such as a low household income or eligibility for free school meals – that typically have the knock-on effect of putting them at an educational disadvantage compared to their peers.
 
As part of the intensive and personalised four-year scheme, students will have regular meetings with their learning mentor, who will provide advice, guidance and support in helping each scholar to reach agreed personal goals.. The programme, which operates in seven schools and colleges in Swindon, has been shown to improve exam results, raise aspirations and motivation and increase vital skills such as confidence and communication.
 
Villiers Park Educational Trust is a national charity providing support to 14-19 year olds to raise their academic, employability and personal skills. The Swindon Scholars Programme has been running in the area for eight years. Last year, 62% of Year 13 students on the programme achieved A*-B grades in their A-levels (compared to a national average of 53%) and over 64% went to university (compared to 33 % nationally).
 
Rosie Knowles, Deputy Director of Development at Villiers Park, said: 'We’re very grateful to Wiltshire Freemasons for their grant which will make a tremendous difference to the lives of the young people we work with. By providing support that’s tailored to their specific strengths, as well as areas for development, we know they will be helped to understand their options and accomplish their best.'
 
Philip Bullock, Provincial Grand Master of Wiltshire, said: 'The best possible start in life is to get a good education. By helping promising young people in our community to gain confidence and other vital skills, Wiltshire Freemasons donation will give them the opportunity to access top universities and transform their life chances.'

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