Essex Freemasons have approved a grant of £15,000 to the County’s Cricket Foundation to help fund a programme to develop wheelchair cricket, enabling people with a disability to take an active part in the sport

The money, donated via the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), will enable the Essex Cricket Foundation to help develop the skills of disabled cricketers, particularly children and adapt the cricketing environment for all levels of ability.

The grant will particularly cover the cost of a specialist Wheelchair Cricket Coach who will be employed to run the sessions for the project. Currently, there are between four to 10 players attending regular sessions and the aim is to get a core of 10 to 12 taking part each week and to gets sessions going at further locations in Essex.

Rodney Bass, OBE, Provincial Grand Master for Essex Freemasons, commented: ‘We have seen through the Invictus Games that wheelchair users are capable of anything which is why I am particularly delighted to have been able to make this donation on behalf of our members.

‘It will help those with disabilities to overcome obstacles that have previously prevented them taking part in the sport and I hope that wheelchair users who enjoy cricket will take advantage of this opportunity to learn the more practical skills via the Essex Cricket Foundation.’

Wheelchair cricket is a new format of the game played indoors. The game is designed to be played all year round by participants who require sport wheelchairs. Essex Cricket Foundation is now looking at venues across the County that already have these chairs to encourage as many as possible to take part.

Patrick Ward, Community Engagement Manager for Essex Cricket, added: ‘The basic equipment for wheelchair cricket includes plastic stumps, a compound rubber ball, fielding aids, cones and an adapted bat.

‘The bat is a shorter version of a standard cricket bat and the handles will be such that it will suit both one handed and two handed batsmen. The bat can also be lightweight and will reduce the degree of difficulty for the batsmen to score runs. Now that we have this Grant from Essex Freemasons it will help us expand the sport to wheelchair users and make a huge difference across the County.’

Wheelchair cricket sessions will be held at established sports centres which are fully accessible. The Foundation will seek to work in partnership with centres, when setting up sessions, to keep the costs of hiring the venues down.

The Foundation does not currently charge for sessions to avoid excluding children who might otherwise not be able to afford to take part and while that may change in the future (to cover hall hire costs) this grant will enable the Cricket Foundation to continue to offer free sessions for the foreseeable future to encourage people to try the sport.

Around 200 West Lancashire Freemasons and their partners enjoyed a ‘grand day out’ at a charity event staged at the very top of their Province, in the town of Grange-over-Sands, and raised £2,500

The very appropriately named Cumbria Grand Hotel was taken over for the evening with the ticket price including overnight accommodation, which was supported by the Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire Tony Harrison, together with his wife Maureen.

The themed ‘Black and White Ball’ started with a ‘Fizz Reception’, followed by a four-course dinner, a spectacular firework display and then dancing into the early hours to the ten-piece band, ‘Soul Survivor’. To keep the party goers on their feet till late, a ‘Lancashire Hot Pot’ supper was served around midnight.

Organiser Richard Wilcock, who is the local charity steward, was delighted with the success of the event and paid tribute to the immense help given to him by his wife, Jackie. He said: ‘We’ve had yet another fantastic night, well supported not only by our local members but also by our friends from across Morecambe Bay in the Lancaster masonic group.

‘This year the event has raised at least £2,500 for charity and has been so popular that we are considering extending it to run over two nights next year.’

The Province of West Lancashire is currently hosting a festival in support of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, ending in 2021.

East Kent Freemasons have donated £4,000 to the Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance service

As an independent charity, they strive to save lives by providing the best possible medical care every minute of the day, every day of the year, which means every donation they receive is vital. Last year alone, they were called out to help over 2,000 people in life-threatening conditions.

On 30th October 2018, the Provincial Grand Master of East Kent, Neil Johnstone, presented a cheque to the Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance service at Rochester Airport for £4,000. The grant was donated by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) and has brought the total Masonic support given to the Air Ambulance Service to over £4 million since 2007, supporting over 22 Air Ambulances across England and Wales.

Presenting the cheque to the Air Ambulance crew, Neil said: ‘Words will never truly describe the life changing differences that you make to the people of our local communities who call upon your services. I am certain that many people today are grateful to you and we are glad that we can help to support the service now and in the future.’

The grant from the MCF was co-ordinated through the main charity for the Masonic Province of East Kent, the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons' Charity. Supporting Neil from the charity were the CEO Peter Rhodes, Chairman Pat Thomas, and the Head of Charities for East Kent, Mark Bassant.

A donation of £4,000 from Lincolnshire Freemasons will help more people survive life-threatening injuries and illnesses because of the work of the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance and its crew

It costs an average of £2,500 every time the Air Ambulance scrambles for another life-saving mission from its base at RAF Waddington.

Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master David Wheeler said: ‘The Air Ambulance provides a vital service in our largely rural Province, and we are pleased to say that by helping to fund it with our donation we have played a small role in ensuring that there will be people alive tomorrow who might otherwise have passed away. 

‘We see ourselves as part of a community, with a duty to help everyone in it. Support for the Air Ambulance is a positive way to do that at life-changing moments for patients and their families.’

The £4,000 grant came from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), and was part of the latest round of Air Ambulance funding, which totals over £4 million since 2007. This year, 20 services will share in £192,000 from the MCF, which administers funds raised through personal contributions from Freemasons.

The Lincs and Notts donation was handed over by Provincial Charity Steward Peter Tong, who said: ‘The Air Ambulance service in our region has been there to help more than 192,000 people since its inception in 1994.

'It already flies two or three times a day, but the organisation’s ambition is to make itself available to fly to where it’s needed on a 24/7 basis. That could lift the number of missions to five a day, which is a tremendous financial commitment. We wanted to play a small part in helping to make that happen.’

Sally Crawford, the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance head of Fundraising and Communications, said: ‘Thank you so much for supporting the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance; £4,000 is an incredible amount of money and we are most grateful. The critical care we provide gives people their very best chance of survival and recovery. We receive no direct Government funding, and are not part of the NHS, so your donation really is essential in helping us to save lives.’

South Wales Freemasons have donated £4,000 to Wales Air Ambulance, which operates right across South Wales and has made many lifesaving flights so far this year, transporting seriously injured people to hospital and treating patients on the ground

The grant comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation and brings the total masonic support give to air ambulances across the country to over £4 million since 2007. During 2018, Freemasons from around the country will be presenting 20 regional air ambulances with grants totalling £192,000.

Steffan Anderson-Thomas at Wales Air Ambulance said: ‘We are very grateful to South Wales Freemasons for their continuing generosity. Without support like this the Wales Air Ambulance would not be able to carry on flying and our life-saving work could not continue.’

Roy Woodward, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of South Wales Freemasons, said: ‘We are proud to be able to support the Wales Air Ambulance. Thanks to the tireless efforts of their doctors and aircrew, many lives of local people are saved every year.'

Roy Woodward, accompanied by South Wales Freemasons Charity Steward Robert Payne, presented the cheque to Steffan Anderson-Thomas of Wales Air Ambulance, at a recent visit to their Llanelli air base.

Devonshire Freemasons have donated £4,000 to the Devon Air Ambulance, bringing the total masonic support given to air ambulances across the country to OVER £4 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.'

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