West Kent Freemason’s recent Virtual Balloon Race proves that with a bit of adaption and inspiration, fundraising can still be a success even during these difficult times. This was a fun socially distanced event for all the family and provided a perfect distraction during lockdown. Over 2300 balloons were sold and each race goer was able to have fun creating and personalising their own unique design. Thanks to modern technology the race could be followed via google maps across the world from the starting point at Father Christmas’ grotto, with the winning balloon travelling over 1000 miles. The total proceeds after costs were £4,679 and these were split in the following ways, £2,379 was sent to the 2026 West Kent Festival and £1,150 to each of the local Children Charities, We Are Beams and It’s My Life Trust.
Roland Stokes from West Kent Freemasons explained why they chose to support We Are Beams: 'We Are Beams are a very proactive local charity, West Kent Freemasons have supported them in the past and they have always used the funds wisely. We as a Province like working with local communities who move forward with the times.' We Are Beams were delighted with the donation which will be used to provide important support for disabled children and their families.
This year has been particularly difficult for many of the families as they have been shielding since the pandemic began in March. The charity is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year so is looking forward to some new fundraising events and fun activities when it is safe to do so. For more information, please visit www.wearebeams.org.uk
We Are Beams is a local charity that supports disabled children and their families in Kent and Medway. The disabled children and young people who access our services are aged between 4-19 years. They will usually have one or multiple learning difficulties, complex health needs such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy or another life limiting disease, physical or sensory impairment, challenging behaviour as a result of their disability, Autism or severe ADHD. Our work is divided up into four key areas. These are Short Breaks Services, Family Advice Service, Direct Payment Service and Dragon’s Retreat 6 bedded Respite Unit. We need to raise £1.5 million in order to continue our care services to the most vulnerable in society. We currently have 450 families as members accessing our support and we rely heavily on the local community and businesses for donations.