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Essex Freemasons support BAME initiative at St Helena Hospice

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Essex Freemasons have donated £31,000 to St Helena Hospice to help it to better reach and provide end of life support for patients and families living in deprived communities in Colchester and Tendring

The money, donated via the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemasons' charity, will be primarily aimed at reaching communities who do not traditionally access hospice care, including those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities (BAME) and deprived communities.

There has historically been a lack of understanding of how hospice services need to adapt in order to meet the cultural needs of all communities they serve. This project will enable connections to be strengthened and the grant will help fund initiatives to explain what end of life support means and how help is available to cope with issues around death and dying.

Nicola Button, Head of Partnerships at St Helena, explained: 'Through the collaborative work with colleagues at Community 360 and CVS Tendring, we have identified the number of patients from BAME and deprived communities accessing end of life support is lower than other sectors of the community.

'We need to address this matter and improve outcomes for people living in communities who do not traditionally access hospice care. This means working with community leaders and healthcare professionals to ensure they are more aware of the support we can offer; whilst also looking at ways in which the hospice must adapt to meet the needs of the whole community. This grant from Essex Freemasons will enable us to do this.'

This project demonstrates true collaboration: St Helena is working in partnership with Community 360, CVS Tendring and the Essex Faith Covenant. Two Social Prescribers will be employed, one in each geographic area and their role will be to work specifically within local communities, supporting families and their carers at end of life.

St Helena Hospice provides specialist palliative and end of life care to local people facing incurable illness in north east Essex, supporting them, their families, friends and carers at home, over the phone via a 24/7 advice line and at the hospice in Colchester. It also help adults in north and mid Essex to cope with grief following the death of a loved one, regardless of where or how they died.

Peter Hollingsworth, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Essex Freemasons, commented: 'Our members have traditionally supported hospices in every part of the county for many years and we are delighted that once again we can make a difference for St Helena and the people of Colchester and Tendring.

'Freemasons are very much part of the local community and this is another way of saying thank you to the team at St Helena who do so much good work. We wish them every success with this latest initiative and are glad that this grant has made a difference.'

The £31,000 to St Helena is part of a £450,000 package of support for hospices across the country from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemasons' charity. Of that total, some £100,000 has been awarded to the hospice movement in Essex.