Surrey Freemasons support local charities impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic

Monday, 01 June 2020

Surrey Freemasons have elicited the help and resources of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), the Freemasons' Charity, to ensure that local charities and organisations continue to receive the resources they need to operate

That support has never been more important than now during the Covid-19 pandemic. Using funds provided by Freemasons, the 48 Provinces in England and Wales have £10,000 each to use in supporting organisations that have felt a severe impact through the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also supplied over 1,000 tablet computers to be donated to local hospitals.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation have introduced an annual match-funding scheme that will enable Surrey Freemasons to double the donations made from their Provincial Charity Fund, up to £10,000 per year.

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Surrey has announced £20,000 of grants that will be going to local charities and organisations over the next couple of weeks. Assistant Provincial Grand Master Paul Crockett, Chair of the Provincial Charity Fund, said: 'The charities have been selected to ensure that we cover a range of beneficiaries as well as ensuring we cover the whole Province. We are supporting children, young people, older people, disabled and disadvantaged people as well as the NHS.'

From the COVID-19 Fund, Surrey Freemasons are donating;

  • £3,000 to the Children’s Trust for the additional costs of PPE and IT to provide contact with relatives.
  • £2,500 to Surrey University’s Student Welfare Fund to support students with day to day living costs.
  • £2,500 to Kingston University’s Student Welfare Fund to support students with day to day living costs.
  • £1,000 to Scrubs for Epsom and St Helier to purchase the materials volunteers need to make scrubs for local hospitals and a hospice.
  • £1,000 to MHA Reigate and Redhill Live at Home to support isolated elderly people with a befriending service and other support services.
  • 50 Tablets to Frimley Park, Royal Surrey County, Epsom and St Helier and Croydon University Hospitals to help families stay in touch with their loved ones during the coronavirus crisis.

From the match-funding scheme, Surrey Freemasons are donating;

  • £5,000 to Lifelites (Incl. £2,500 from the MCF) to enable the continued support of children’s Hospices including the Children's Trust in Tadworth.
  • £5,000 to White Lodge Centre (Incl. £2,500 from the MCF) to deliver services and support to those with a range of disabilities, their families and carers.

Karen Gates of Surrey University’s Alumni & Supporter Engagement Team said: 'Your support will help students facing financial hardship as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many students are unable to return to their homes due to government advice or international travel restrictions. Some have lost their part-time jobs with the closure of restaurants, shops and leisure facilities and are struggling to pay for essential groceries and private rents. This appeal is our way to show we stand with them to answer their call for help.'

Abbie Carr, Kingston University's Director of Development, Alumni Relations and Engagement said: 'We are delighted and so grateful that the Surrey Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation have given £2,500 to the University to provide much needed support for students who are struggling whilst remaining on campus. Not all of our students have been able to return home for lockdown, and many have also lost jobs and are unable to pay for everyday essentials. They are coming to us for support, and thanks to friends like you we can make sure none of our students need to go without during this uncertain and frightening time.'

Melissa, a Kingston University student, said: 'Financially, my university experience has consisted of juggling multifarious part time jobs to support myself. With the hit of Covid-19, an inevitable drop in income and still the same rent and bills to pay, I was in a tricky situation with little to no options. The hardship support came in right in time, meaning I was able to pay for essentials without sleepless nights wondering how I was going to get by the following week.'

Mike Hey, the White Lodge’s Head of Fundraising and Marketing, said: 'In these extraordinary times the disabled children, young people and adults who we serve are finding the isolation such a huge challenge. Whilst we have been able to provide a limited service with some innovative remote support, it’s just not the same as the personal 1-2-1 support we offer on site. It’s therefore more important than ever that we are here for the community as we come out of this necessary lockdown. To that end, we are therefore so very grateful to our friends at Surrey Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation for this generous donation of £5,000. At a time when funding is such a concern this will go a long way to ensure that White Lodge is enabling ability in the weeks and months ahead. Thank you.'

Lifelites’ Simone Enefer-Doy said: 'A big thank you for the continuing support of the Surrey Freemasons. You are helping to give life-limited and disabled children in their Province a chance to play, communicate, and control something for themselves, for as long as it is possible.'

Emma Wislon, the Manager of East Surrey Live at Home Scheme said: 'MHA East Surrey Live at Home will use the generous funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation to part-cover costs to deliver a new essential service developed in response to the Covid-19 situation. MHA East Surrey Live at Home supports 200+ vulnerable, older members who are currently self-isolating. The new service is offering some respite from the growing feelings of loneliness and anxiety many are experiencing. In the spirit of our ‘usual’ community based activities the new service focuses on maintaining independence, tackling feelings of isolation and building/maintaining networks of friendship and support.

'Members are now offered regular welfare calls (based on an initial assessment of vulnerability), emergency shopping for essentials or prescription collection if other services can’t be accessed and the delivery of regular care packs by a friendly, known face. These services are being delivered by our small team of part-time workers or one of committed Volunteers. Care packs to date have included an Easter egg, jigsaw puzzles and the next planned one includes tea bags, brain teasers, a sweet treat, and either toiletries or a bird feeder. In addition, the team has worked hard to link like-minded members together to form ‘telephone trees’ whereby members agree to call each other regularly for a chat. We have to date, established 15 telephone trees, some with up to 10 Members in! The funding will help us continue this valuable work at this time of uncertainty.'

Ian Chandler, the Provincial Grand Master for Surrey, said: 'I am delighted that at this time of national crisis, Surrey Freemasons continue to work within our local communities to provide charity and support to those in need, as we have done for many years. Since the beginning of March we have distributed nearly £50,000 in charitable grants to enable our local charities to continue to do their excellent work.

'We want to reach out to those under the radar as well as our local heroes in the NHS. At a time when all of our attention is distracted by the impact of Covid-19 on our families, friends and colleagues, it’s humbling to know that the work of carers in the third sector is relentless.'

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