Dorset's Vespasian Lodge No. 8099 held a 'race night' at Branksome Masonic Hall, attended by a number of members, family and friends where they were able to support local, worthy charitable causes, including The Crumbs Project and Macmillan Caring Locally with a £275 donation to each

Macmillan Caring Locally is a small local charity which supports the Macmillan Unit at Christchurch Hospital. The Macmillan Unit is a specialist palliative care ward built in 1974 and was the first of its kind in the country. Although the charity has the Macmillan name, it is in fact an independent charity with no connection to the national organisation Macmillan Cancer Support.

In partnership with the NHS, the charity supports 16 in-patient beds at the Macmillan Unit Christchurch, a 15-person Day Centre, 12 Specialist Palliative Care Sisters who look after up to 450 patients living at home in their local community, and three Specialist Palliative Care Sisters who support patients at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

Every year there are more than 1,600 referrals to the Macmillan Unit. Macmillan Caring Locally also funds the multi-disciplinary teams at the Macmillan Unit which include the Family Support Team, Rehabilitation Team, Complementary Therapy, Welfare benefits advice and Chaplaincy. 

Vespasian Lodge was pleased to support Macmillan with a donation of £275 which was presented by Dorset Freemason Steve Spender to Neal Williams, Trust Secretary, who was accompanied by two members of the dedicated team from the unit at Christchurch Hospital.

The Crumbs Project was founded by the late Anne Gardner, whose daughter Liz at the age of 17 started hearing voices which tormented her for the rest of her adult life. Crumbs sprang from the need for those in long-stay care to have a structured programme of support to encourage their learning and professional development. The Crumbs Project is charity which provides supported vocational training for adults with learning disabilities, mental health issues and stabilised addictions. It specialises in vocational training within the hospitality, catering, housekeeping and administration sectors.

The Crumbs team works closely with trainees supporting them into either paid or voluntary work placements. In order for The Crumbs Project to become a self-sufficient charity, the team also provide a wide range of food services, including; buffets, hot food, cakes, snack pack and wedding catering. Their ultimate aim is to help vulnerable people live a life of independence.

Vespasian Lodge was pleased to support the Crumbs Project with a donation of £275 which was presented by Steve Spender to Leanne Miller, Operations Manager, who was accompanied by other members of her team and some of the Trainees from the training centre. 

Mark Burstow, Communications Officer for Dorset Freemasonry, said: ‘This is an incredible effort by Vespasian, supporting two wonderful, local non-masonic charities. This typifies the kind of support Dorset Freemasons regularly provide to their local communities.’

A Dorset lodge have shown their continued commitment to a children’s palliative care unit by making the latest of five donations to Gully’s Place at Poole Hospital 

Vespasian Lodge No. 8099, based at Branksome Masonic Hall in Poole, have supported Gully’s Place, a purpose-designed space to provide a palliative care area contained within the children’s unit of Poole Hospital, since 2015. The suite was opened in 2010 and was named after a major benefactor, Diane Gulliford, who is a dance teacher from Poole. The suite is funded purely from donations to the Gully's Place Trust Fund.

The aim of the suite is to provide privacy and dignity for patients and their families and is used for patients requiring palliative and end of life care; for children/young persons and their families who decide to remain in hospital during the terminal stages of illness; for children/young persons and their families who do not have time to go home as death is imminent and as a transition to home area for children with complex health needs. 

The latest cheque was presented to Ken Mackenzie who is the resource Co-Ordinator for the Children’s Ward of the hospital and represents the fifth in a series of donations made by the Lodge to Gully’s Place which now exceeds £2,500.

Provincial Grand Master for Dorset Graham Glazier said: ‘I'm delighted Vespasian have been able to support this wonderful cause. It takes over £30,000 to run this suite along with a similar suite in Dorchester every year and their support is characteristic of our masonic values.

'We believe in playing a key role in our communities and give time and money to charitable ventures.’

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