The British Red Cross has launched a pilot scheme in North Wales to help people build independence and better links with their communities and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. The move comes thanks to a £84,460 grant from North Wales Freemasons

The Pathways to Better Health service aims to help over-50s in Conwy and Denbighshire who have been identified as needing extra support due to a pattern of frequent hospital attendance or calls to the emergency services.

The project will help people who call 999 or go to emergency departments (ED) more than 12 times a year, many of whom are among the most vulnerable members of our communities with few alternative sources of help. They may have multiple, complex needs including loneliness, social isolation or drug and alcohol dependency issues.

Figures for 2017 show that frequent attenders accounted for 86,000 Welsh ED attendances costing £36.4 million to the NHS.

The scheme, which runs for a year, will enable trained Red Cross staff to work in partnership with emergency services and ED teams to find people who could benefit, and refer them to the service.

The project team will then work with people to identify the root causes of their frequent attendance, and support them to develop coping strategies. By providing emotional and practical support, helping to build confidence, and signposting to other services in their community that could help, the team will aim to increase a person’s health and well-being, independence and resilience.

It is hoped this will reduce the number of calls to the emergency services and visits to the NHS, saving money, freeing up resources and improving the lives of those who are helped by the project.

In a previous pilot project in Swansea, the results revealed 96 per cent of people helped reported a positive change in emotional health, a 70 per cent positive change in physical health and a 69 per cent positive change in reducing loneliness and isolation.

The pilot, which was launched by the British Red Cross in November 2017, covered the Western Bay area in Wales including Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea. It helped 22 people for 16 weeks and resulted in a huge reduction in 999 calls and hospital attendances from the participants.

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

Stanislava Sofrenic, Independent Living Operations Manager for Red Cross Wales said: 'We are thrilled to have launched this scheme in North Wales. I’d like to thank North Wales Freemasons for their generous donation, which has enabled us to set up this invaluable scheme.

'Our smaller pilot project in Swansea demonstrated that early intervention with people who use NHS and emergency services frequently has a significant impact both on improving their lives and reducing pressures on NHS and emergency services’ resources. We are looking forward to working with our partner organisations over the next 12 months and helping people across Conwy and Denbighshire.'

John Hoult, Provincial Grand Master for North Wales, said: 'We’re very pleased to be able to support the fantastic work being done by the British Red Cross in North Wales. This will have a huge impact on the users of the emergency services and will make a big difference to improving their lives.'

TAPE Community Music and Film, a community arts charity which uses collaborative film production as a platform for which it provides inclusive, person-centred, creative support, training and engagement for people of all ages, have been given a £2,000 donation by North Wales Freemasons

The grant will expand their inclusive model which sees people from across all communities coming together each week to work together on a shared and equitable basis and will assist use of 360 filming and VR to provide better access to specific services and the wider community, particularly those with an ASD diagnosis and/or social anxieties.

In addition, the grant will provide on-set support, using technology such as iPads and Bluetooth headphones to create a more inclusive environment and support greater involvement in all aspects of the filmmaking process, for people with additional support needs.

North Wales Freemasons have donated £1,000 to Y Canol School, which will be used to buy two wheelchair platform swings

Y Canol offers primary age provision for children with complex and severe learning difficulties. Based in Gwersyllt, Wrexham, Y Canol is an integrated part of Ysgol Heulfan, located in the heart of the infants and junior school.

North Wales Freemasons were given a guided tour of the school and an insight into the dedication and commitment of the teachers.

Phil James, North Wales Masonic Benevolent Association (NWMBA) Vice Chairman, said: ‘We were initially approached to ask if we could help to buy a wheelchair platform swing. We are delighted to present a cheque for £1,000 which will fund the purchase of two swings.’

Kathy Jones, Assistant Headteacher of Y Canol, said: ‘This donation allows those children who are otherwise unable, to share in the enjoyment of a swing alongside their able bodied friends. We are very grateful for the support and generosity of North Wales Freemasons.’

North Wales Freemason John Llewelyn Pritchard has been selected to play for Wales in the first walking football over 60's World Cup at Leyton Orient in June 2019

John is a member of the Amlwch Town walking football team on Anglesey in North Wales, as well as a member of Twrcelyn Lodge No. 6944. He has enjoyed great success in the FA People's Cup and the Welsh Premier League, playing for Connah's Quay.

John said: 'To be playing the game that I have loved all my life at 62-years-old is a fantastic feeling, the camaraderie within the squad is brilliant; not forgetting the new friends that I've made which include members from the fraternity.'

North Wales Freemasons have given £500 to Clwyd Special Riding Centre in Llanfynydd, Wrexham

The money will be used to help with the servicing and maintenance costs of their state of the art, mechanical horse which is used within the ongoing CELT project.

After a successful application to the Big Lottery Fund, work started on Project CELT to develop a new learning and therapy room, barn and round pen. The project will provide a fully accessible service to those with complex needs who may previously have been unable to attend.

Local members visited the Centre to present the cheque and were treated to a guided tour of the facility. David Thomas, Chairman of North Wales Benevolent Association, said: 'It has been a very humbling experience to see the fantastic work carried out by Clwyd Special Riding Centre for those with additional needs.'

Ann Lambert, Chairman of Trustees at Clwyd Special Riding Centre, said: 'On behalf of all the Trustees and everyone who benefits from attending at the Centre for one of the many wonderful activities we are able to offer, I would like to thank North Wales Freemasons for their kind and generous support.'

North Wales Lodge of Provincial Grand Stewards No. 8865 have donated £400 to Blind Veterans UK

Allan Powell, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of North Wales, and David Gibbison, Senior Warden of the lodge, visited the Blind Veterans' training and rehabilitation centre in the coastal town of Llandudno.

After an initial assesment, veterans return to Llandudno for holidays, respite and nursing care, as well as fitness and mobility.

The cheque for £400 was presented to Blind Veterans UK resident Billy Baxter.

The Province of North Wales is delighted to support Audio Descriptive Commentary (ADC) for blind and partially sighted supporters at Wrexham Football Club with a £1,200 donation

Working in conjunction with ADC provider Alan March Sports,  the donation has funded the specialised training of local volunteers who are now able to provide this vital service.

Inspired by a presentation at the Centre of Access to Football in Europe (CAFÉ) in Paris, Steve Gilbert, a committee member of Wrexham Disabled Supporters Association (DSA), first proposed the concept to Wrexham FC.

Level Playing Field, a charity that campaigns for good access for all fans, said Wrexham was helping many ‘blind and partially sighted fans enjoy the beautiful game’.

Mike Hughes has been a Wrexham football fan for more than 40 years and a season ticket holder for the last five. He has two genetic eye conditions which means he sees in ‘washed-out colour’ and not in focus.

Mike said: ‘My match day experience isn’t the same as everybody else’s. I can see the ball travelling, but I don't really have any idea of who does what, player's numbers or player's names.’

Newly trained ADC Commentator Alex Carter said: ‘It is completely different to average football commentary; you have to make sure from minute one to minute 90 you're telling that viewer where the ball is, who is doing what and what happened, which can be quite frantic.’

Alan Fox, a Wrexham fan for over 50 years, is another one of the volunteers. He said the hardest part has been turning from supporter to commentator: ‘You have to remind yourself that at the other end of the receiver there's a blind fan who needs to know what's going on.;

North Wales’ Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Thomas said: ‘It has been a pleasure working with all parties involved to deliver this service for blind and partially sighted fans of all ages within our local community.’

That’s my boy

When Lincolnshire Freemason Gary Hurst was raised to the Third Degree, the ceremony was performed by his father Glyn, who travelled from North Wales

Gary always wanted to follow his father into Freemasonry and was initiated into Olive Union Lodge No. 1304 in Horncastle in November 2017, watched by his father. 

But when his raising was being planned, Olive Union’s Master David Clarke had the idea that Glyn might like to perform the ceremony.

Gary said: ‘Whilst fathers initiating, passing and raising their sons is commonplace, the opportunity to do it not only in a different Lodge to your own, but also in a different Province was an exciting prospect for Dad, and after a few telephone conversations – including checking both lodges were using the same ritual and even language – the scene was set for him to take control.’

Glyn travelled from North Wales on the day of the ceremony, arriving in plenty of time to meet David face-to-face and run through the ceremony schedule with Olive Union’s Director of Ceremonies to ensure everything came together perfectly. 

Gary added: ‘With the lodge opened in the Second Degree, David handed the gavel over to Dad, who put the questions to me and then carried out the raising, assisted by Olive Union members. 

‘We’d been planning for Dad coming back to see my raising ever since I was initiated, but having him in the chair made it extra special. I know I speak for both of us in sending thanks to everyone who made it possible.’

Gary’s a serving member of the Royal Air Force and has settled in Lincolnshire. His father Glyn is a member of Pennant Lodge No. 7348 in North Wales, where he is Past Provincial Grand Charity Steward.

Marcus Mckay McLeod is celebrating 80 years in the Craft, a few months shy of his 100th birthday, with the occasion marked by a presentation from the Provincial Grand Master of North Wales John Hoult

Marcus was born on 11th April 1919 in Scotland. He was initiated into Lodge St Fergus No. 466 Wick, under the Grand Lodge of Scotland, on 13th December 1938 and became a Life Member in December 1941.

Having joined Freemasonry at the age of 19, the following day he was called up into HM Forces, serving with the Royal Engineers, based in Andover. From there, Marcus went on to serve in France, Italy, Norway and North Africa.

After demobilisation, he decided to remain in England, working as a building inspector for local government. His next move was to the National Westminster Bank, once again using his experience as a building inspector.

Marcus was transferred to North Wales in 1970 and now lives in Rhos-on-Sea. He joined Sincerity Lodge No. 4424, in the Province of North Wales, in 1993.

Following the closure of Sincerity Lodge, Marcus joined Colwyn Lodge No. 7675 on 31st January 2018. He also received Life Membership of John O’Groats RA Lodge No. 230 on 11th February 1946 and Lodge Sterling RA Chapter No. 76 on 27th January 1947, both in Scotland.

The Provincial Grand Master of North Wales John Hoult visited Colwyn Lodge to present Marcus with a certificate marking his 80th anniversary. Accompanied by the Provincial Team, the lodge room and subsequent festive board were full with members wanting to share this special evening and to honour Marcus' achievement.

Marcus has enjoyed Freemasonry to the full, playing an active part throughout, including his Installation as Master of Sincerity Lodge in 2001, at the age of 82.

Marcus was appointed Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2009, followed by promotion to Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon in 2015. During the meeting, the Provincial Grand Master John Hoult was delighted to promote Marcus to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, which was received by a rapturous round of applause from everyone.

The Provincial Grand Master also marked this very special occasion by presenting a letter from the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes congratulating Marcus on achieving this milestone and sending his personal best wishes.

Marcus enjoyed a wonderful evening surrounded by members, who were proud to honour the newly appointed Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden.

Several years ago, North Wales Freemason Joe Caswell sadly passed away at Nightingale House Hospice in Wrexham

In memory of Joe, Pegasus Lodge No. 9124 renamed their prize draw 'Pegasus Joe Caswell 50 Club' and agreed to donate the money raised to Nightingale House Hospice as a token of their appreciation for the wonderful care and support Joe received.

Joe joined Pegasus Lodge in 1999 and their members visited the hospice to present their latest donation of £1,500 in memory of a well-respected member who is missed by all.

Page 1 of 2

ugle logoSGC logo