Telling the world
While the role of Freemasons in raising funds for worthy causes is crucial, the Grand Charity believes it is also important to publicise its work to a wider audience
The Freemasons’ Grand Charity works hard to raise awareness of the generosity of masons. In recent years it has seen an increase in the number of publicity mentions it has received and was included more than six hundred times in the regional press (newspapers, online media and radio) and charity websites/publications last year.
This level of coverage is made possible by the Grand Charity working closely with Provincial and Metropolitan Information and Communication Officers, who are responsible for gaining a great deal of recognition for the charity’s work in regional press.
For example, news of the Grand Charity’s support for air ambulances was publicised more than one hundred and forty times, featuring on ITV news online and several radio stations. The hospices programme also received frequent recognition, with more than one hundred mentions in regional press.
The Grand Charity also works closely with the charities it funds, many of which show their thanks through public recognition. The £50,000 donation to Help for Heroes in 2012, to fund therapeutic gardens at a recovery centre for wounded service personnel, was highlighted on BBC radio. In addition, a plaque acknowledging the support of Freemasons was placed in the gardens upon completion.
Many other charities include messages of thanks to Freemasons for their support in their own charity publications, websites, press releases and social media. News of the Grand Charity’s grant to Cancer Research UK last year received more than one thousand ‘likes’ on its Facebook page.
In the news
During 2013, the Grand Charity has spent time promoting its Masonic Relief Grants programme to a wider audience. The charity has been working with Mark Smith, Provincial Grand Almoner of Gloucestershire, to raise awareness of the valuable community service Almoners carry out by providing help, guidance and pastoral support in often very difficult and challenging circumstances.
Mark was interviewed live on BBC Radio Gloucestershire about the work of the Almoner and the support given by the central masonic charities. Mark spoke eloquently about his role and how Freemasonry provides a wide range of support for people in need and that ultimately this is of great benefit to society as a whole.
The Grand Charity would like to thank Mark for his help in publicising the work of the central masonic charities and, most importantly, for highlighting the work carried out by Almoners across England and Wales. The role of lodge Almoner is voluntary and one that requires a great deal of dedication – without their commitment it would be impossible for the Grand Charity to assist the thousands of people it helps each year.
Other highlights for the Grand Charity have included recognition of its work by The Guardian online in an interview with Jackie Bailey, head of outreach at the Spinal Injuries Association, and also during an interview on BBC Radio Manchester with Ben Fewtrell, a family support worker at the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity. Both Jackie and Ben’s roles are largely funded by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, which was acknowledged.
Thanks to Roger Freeman
Retiring this month, Roger Freeman is returning home to Cornwall after five years managing the Masonic Relief Grants team at the Grand Charity office in Freemasons’ Hall, London. Roger has been an influential force within the team, providing information and expertise gained during a career in the Civil Service spanning 40 years.
Roger’s role as an area manager in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) provided him with knowledge that proved invaluable when he became Provincial Grand Almoner in Cornwall, a position he held from 1992-2007. He brought this same expertise to the Masonic Relief Grants team, playing a crucial role in ensuring that applicants received guidance on available state benefits, in addition to the help available from the central masonic charities. Roger will be missed by everyone at the Grand Charity for his hard work and dedication over the years.
‘It has been an honour to work alongside so many Provincial Grand Almoners, assisting them in their demanding role, helping thousands of people in need,’ said Roger.
‘It would not have been possible without support from the Masonic Relief Grants team, all of whom are extremely dedicated. I am certain the team will continue to strengthen, and I wish all the best to everyone at the central masonic charities.’