Globe and Laurel Lodge 4657

Globe and Laurel


Masonic News and Initiatives



UGLE

Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Fri, 28 Feb 2020 21:06:54 +0000

A new generation of African surgeons will be trained thanks to £50,000 donated by English Freemasons

A new generation of African surgeons will be trained thanks to £50,000 donated by English Freemasons

Thousands of seriously ill people across Africa, who have no access to surgeons, will be treated thanks to a major new surgical training programme funded by Freemasons in England and Wales

The £50,000 will help fund a programme specifically designed to develop the next generation of young surgeons in Africa, giving them access to the latest life-saving techniques, which are very common in the UK but not taught in Africa.

Currently, more than 90 per cent of the 1.2 billion people living in Africa do not have access to safe and affordable surgery, resulting in an estimated 17 million deaths every year*.

The programme is taking place in Nigeria – which has approximately 200 million people and is the most populous country in Africa – under the leadership Professor Robert Lane MS(Lond), FRCS (Eng), President of the International Federation of Surgical Colleges (IFSC). Professor Lane leads the surgical training courses, supported by a dedicated volunteer team of surgeons.

Professor Robert Lane, said: 'We’re really grateful for this generous grant from the Freemasons. We’re already liaising with the West African College of Surgeons to discover where the need is greatest and this new funding will allow us to start planning the first part of the training programme. Thanks to the Freemasons we’re going to be able to help save many lives across the region.'

The programme will train 30 Nigerian surgeons and nurses, who in turn, will treat more than a thousand surgical patients every year across the continent. The donation will fund travel and accommodation for all the volunteer trainer surgeons, surgical training equipment, programme arrangements and administration.

Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of the United Grand Lodge of England, said: 'Speaking as a doctor myself, I was deeply shocked  to hear that 95 per cent of Africa’s population have almost zero access to surgical care. There are fewer than two surgeons for every 100,000 African people, while in the UK we have around 90 surgeons for every 100,000 British people.

“We are optimistic that this  donation will help the surgeons to improve their knowledge and enable them to take care of the largest number of people. It’s critically important that new African surgeons and nurses are trained, and this programme is an excellent start.'

*According to figures from the World Bank- 2018


Published Thu, 20 Feb 2020 10:48:18 +0000

United Grand Lodge of England Trading Company seeks two Sales Assistants (part-time)

This position has now closed

The Shop at Freemasons' Hall requires two part-time sales Assistants

The successful candidates will have general responsibility for the smooth running of all retail areas, but with particular emphasis on Internet Sales, ensuring that customers are dealt with efficiently and politely and dealing with any day to day issues that may arise. No knowledge of Freemasonry is required as full training will be given.

Main Duties

  • Delivering outstanding customer service, building a rapport with every customer to create a personalised and outstanding service.
  • Working closely with our small but expert team of Assistants and integrating quickly to become a valued member of this team.
  • Working towards achieving store targets. This includes sales budgets, controlling costs, customer service standards and the highest visual merchandising standards.
  • Taking ownership for one’s own development with the support of the Store Manager and wider team.
  • Being responsible for shop floor replenishment and ensuring the store is clean and tidy at all times.
  • The highest till accuracy and cash handling procedures will be expected at all times.

Internet Sales

The Shop at Freemasons' Hall has a thriving internet business and our Sales Assistants are expected to play a full role in ensuring the smooth and effective running of this business.

  • Accurately picking stock to fulfil orders every morning for dispatch later in the day.
  • Maintaining the EPOS system and ensuring that all internet orders are handled correctly.
  • Packaging items neatly and securely, in a time manner ready for internal posting system/external post collection.
  • Book in phone and mail orders and update on customer mailing list on in-house system.
  • To undertake any other activities as necessary for the smooth operation of the retail department.

Person Specification

The following skills and attributes are essential:

  • Relevant retail experience
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Highly organised and able plan and prioritise
  • Able to work collaboratively to achieve shared goals and objectives
  • Self-motivated, taking personal responsibility for getting things done
  • Flexibility (to cover rota)

Hours of Work

3 days a week (working alternate weekends).

We are looking for one person to work Monday to Wednesday and the other Thursday to Saturday on a rotating shift basis (every other week). Also, to cover for each other during holidays and/or provide additional cover as required. Therefore this successful candidates will need to be flexible.

Salary & Benefits

Salary: £11,804 gross per annum (£10.81 per hour) + benefits.

Benefits include:

  • Annual leave 25 days pa FTE (15 days pro rata)
  • Health insurance
  • Membership of the United Grand Lodge of England’s pension scheme
  • Option to join corporate gym membership scheme
  • Interest-free season ticket loan

Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.


Published Tue, 04 Feb 2020 00:00:00 +0000

United Grand Lodge of England seeks a Social Media Executive

This position has now closed

United Grand Lodge of England seeks a Social Media Executive. You will be responsible for helping the Communications and Marketing Team implement a new social media strategy within the United Grand Lodge of England

The United Grand Lodge of England – the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales – is entering an exciting new phase in its 300-year history as it seeks to change the perception of Freemasonry and encourage the public to see modern Freemasonry through its core values of Friendship, Charity, Respect and Integrity. In order to achieve this the Communications and Marketing team is seeking to attract some talented, dedicated, creative and outstanding individuals to join its team. The team’s expertise will cover all areas of communications including, corporate communications, public relations, social media, marketing, member communications, publications and events. We work on a campaign basis so you need to be a team player, as you will work closely with your colleagues, other departments and our 200,000 members. Freemasons raise £44m in charitable donations and give 5 million hours of volunteer time a year – so there is a lot to shout about – and much to be proud of. If you are looking for a new challenge, which will positively change your career, then look no further than a position at the United Grand Lodge of England.

Duties:

  • To work closely with the existing team and key partners to deliver a creative social media strategy that engages UGLE’s members and members of the public by showcasing the benefits of Freemasonry across all of its social media channels (YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Podcasts)
  • To successfully assess and report back to the impact of both the new social media strategy and specific campaigns. You will have strong relationship building skills and the ability to work, and positively influence, key stakeholders across the business
  • To be a key influencer internally and be able to confidently showcase the power of social media to key stakeholders in the business
  • To stay up-to-date with the latest online and digital trends and to implement these ideas into the social media strategy
  • Confidently handle any front of house/customer social media enquiries - dealing with them in a timely manner and show confidence in the scheduling, composing and posting of all group wide social media content
  • To set company-wide best practice guidance of social media and train others where necessary

Must have skills:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, enabling you to work with colleagues co-operatively and collaboratively in the team and across the organisation
  • You will have strong relationship building skills and the ability to work, and positively influence, key stakeholders across the business
  • You will have a flexible approach both to the type of work undertaken and working hours as required to meet team objectives and ultimately customer needs, taking ownership and responsibility for work and performance
  • You will demonstrate a positive ‘can do’ attitude and excellent work ethic. In addition, you will be able to demonstrate resilience and present yourself in a professional manner at all times
  • You will have excellent copywriting and creative skills and be able to quickly grasp how the businesses requirements can translate into outstanding social media campaigns
  • You will have experience in a social media role as well as experience in establishing a social media strategy and managing and implementing results orientated social media campaigns
  • Experience in managing the social media profile of either a CEO or director is desirable
  • Knowledge of Photoshop or creation of video content is desirable

Salary:

Competitive salary plus the following benefits package:

BUPA private medical cover
Pension (3.5% employee & 9% employer contributions – increasing to 12%)
Life Assurance
Holiday (25 days increasing to 30 days)
Interest free season ticket loan
Gym membership (subsidised)
Employee Assistance Programme
Flexible working

Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.


Published Fri, 17 Jan 2020 12:26:47 +0000

Pro Grand Master's address - December 2019

Quarterly Communication

11 December 2019 
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes

Brethren. If you look up, you will see one of the finest mosaics in London. It took Italian craftsmen 10 man-years to create and, like so much of our Craft, it is laden with symbols, allegory and meaning. But look more closely, especially in the South-West and you will see that all is not quite as it should be. Cracks have been appearing over the last few years. Tesserae have fallen, and the Grand Superintendent of Work’s brow has furrowed, but he informs me that you are not in immediate danger!

After extensive research, chemical analysis, ultrasounds, X-Rays, thermal studies, endoscopies, not to mention all manner of expert opinion, we are now able to confidently conclude that we have no idea why. We do know the many things that are not responsible for these cracks, and contrary to scurrilous rumour, hot air from this chair has nothing whatsoever to do with it, but pinning down the exact cause has proved elusive. Take a good look Brethren because in a few weeks’ time, it will be shrouded in scaffolding, and for the first time in nearly a hundred years, men, and probably women, will begin work on restoring it to its former splendour.

We recently heard from the Grand Superintendent of Works about his role within the organisation and some of the work being done by his team to ensure that not only this building, but all of our masonic halls up and down the country are up to scratch. A huge amount of work has been put into producing the Masonic Halls Guide, available in the members’ section of the UGLE website, to provide a ‘Best Practice’ guide to help Lodges and Provinces improve their Halls and meeting places, and how they are managed.

I was recently told of a Lodge in Cambridgeshire (Stone Cross) which has transformed its own hall from a rather dingy affair to something the whole community can be proud of.  Members, under the guidance of more expert Craftsmen – also members of that Lodge – have spent weekends, and time over consecutive summers to transform it into a venue that they can all look forward to using – and it has made a huge difference to the first impressions and attendance of new members. 

As we actively seek out new members to join us, we should ensure that we are examining what it is that we would expect them to find – not just in the physical spaces we occupy, but in our Lodges too.

Many of us find a great deal of fulfilment in volunteering and giving of our time for the benefit of the community at large. We will shortly be sending out a survey to estimate just how great an impact we, as Freemasons have within our local communities – our last estimate was that our members contribute over 5 million hours volunteering for worthy causes.

We must be unique as an organisation in that we have premises embedded in almost every community in the Country. Just as we draw our members from all walks of life and all backgrounds, so our halls are found in village and cities, in areas rich and poor. Over the next few months, the Communications Working Party of the Board, made up of Provincial Grand Masters from each region of the country, will be looking at what we might do to raise our profile by putting these to better use – not only for ourselves, but also for those communities from which we are drawn. What does your Hall say about you, and the wider organisation, to a person seeing it for the first time and, indeed, to that potential new member, or that member of public giving blood, being screened, or just looking around?

Many of our Halls are both precious and beautiful; some, cracking a little around the edges and in need of loving care. But I’m sure, Brethren, we all feel like that at times. Let us remember that we are custodians not just of the Craft and its heritage and traditions, but also those meeting places which have, for generations, inspired our members.

I wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas period and I look forward to seeing you again in the New Year.


Published Wed, 11 Dec 2019 11:51:18 +0000

Winter 2019 column - Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe E Dr David Staples

From the Grand Secretary & Grand Scribe E

At the September Quarterly Communications, the Pro Grand Master’s address spoke of the importance of teamwork in governing and managing Freemasonry. UGLE has traditionally been a federal amalgamation of ‘city states’, each ruled by a Provincial or District Grand Master, whose patents were granted by the Most Worshipful Grand Master. It was not uncommon, in decades past, for those chosen few to be given their patent and told to ‘get on with it’, but with very little instruction or guidance as to what the ‘it’ either was or entailed. 

We like to think that we are more enlightened now, and take some time and effort to explain what we think a Provincial or District Ruler might want to consider, and what the Rulers and Board/Committee of General Purposes think their priorities should be when taking up their important office. 

It will not surprise you to learn that membership and communications are very high up on that list, and as UGLE evolves to meet the challenges of our very different world, so this old system must evolve to ensure consistency of message and image across our organisation as a whole. 

We have also come to realise that the ‘Bright Ideas Club’ at the centre may not have all of the answers, and initiatives rolled out with little or no consultation with our membership or their leaders are unlikely to be successful in the longer term, if at all. 

Lord Northampton, as Pro Grand Master, set up a system of Regional Communication Groups which divided the Provinces into nine geographical clusters, and which provided a means for Provincial Rulers in each group to meet regularly and exchange ideas on matters of import. Under Sir David Wootton, these assumed a greater sense of purpose, with the representation of each integrated into the Improvement Delivery Group, with its remit to deliver the 2020 strategy conceived five years ago. Now, under Geoffrey Dearing, they form the backbone of our ability to consult with the Provinces and to set the agenda and direction of the organisation with strong representation on both the Membership Working Party and the Communications Working Party of the Board. 

Both groups have a wide remit to shape the direction the organisation will take, and their influence will be wide ranging. They are no paper tigers, and are considering questions which will affect each and every one of us as Freemasonry evolves into a more transparent, accountable and respected organisation within the public consciousness.

The representatives on these various committees can, of course, accomplish nothing without the hard work and dedication of the teams that support them – making it vital that those team members have the ability, enthusiasm and professional capabilities and knowledge to deliver what is needed. Professional expertise is by no means short in an organisation such as ours, and Provincial leaders are well used to tapping into the potential of their membership to fulfil important roles within the Province. What perhaps is changing is the willingness to recognise that many individuals are much busier in their family and work lives than perhaps their predecessors were. As such, those who are less senior within Freemasonry and less experienced are finding themselves working on major Provincial portfolios while balancing very busy lives. 

We should not shy away from using the talent that we have within our ranks. Neither should we shy away from altering the way ‘things have always been done’ to allow those individuals to flourish and to serve. It is inconceivable that the Provincial Grand Masters and Grand Superintendents of the future will be able to dedicate the time and effort to Freemasonry that perhaps some of their predecessors have managed, without detriment to their family or personal connections. Their teams around them become of paramount importance if the organisation as a whole is to grow and develop. Similarly, if we want leaders who are truly exceptional and able to carry the organisation forward, we must be willing to accommodate the many other things that will call on their time – not least their greater involvement in the running of the ‘Centre’.

We will do our bit here at UGLE to listen to those ideas coming out of the Provinces, and to ensure that others can benefit from them; to ensure that ‘best practice’ is shared, such as the membership initiatives in Bristol and the communications strategies of Buckinghamshire and Cheshire. 

We will also continue to listen to you, our members, paying heed to what you think is important, and what our priorities should be for the years ahead.

Dr David Staples
Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe E

‘If we want leaders who are truly exceptional and able to carry the organisation forward, we must be willing to accommodate the many other things that will call on their time’


Published Fri, 06 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Admin Assistant

This position has now closed

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Admin Assistant for the Development Department

To support the Development Department including acting as required as a liaison with all other departments in Freemasons' Hall, Directors, London, Provinces, Districts, Members of Grand Master's Council, Board of General Purposes, Committee of General Purposes, Masons and Non-Masons.

Provide support to the Deputy Grand Secretary, Assistant Grand Secretary and the Development Department.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Assist the Department with the administration, organisation and distribution of papers for authorising new Lodges/Chapters, Centenaries, Bi-Centenaries, Warrants/Charters of Confirmation, Centenary Warrants/Charters of Confirmation, Enfacements, Representatives, Amalgamations, Appointments of ProvGM, DistGM, GSupt, GI.
  • Assist the Department with the administration, organisation and distribution of papers for the Grand Master's Council, Board of General Purposes, Committee of General Purposes, Audit Committee and the GMCCC Advisory Group.
  • Assist the Department with the administrative procedures dealing with appointments to and promotions in Grand Rank and the administrative procedures dealing with appointments to Overseas ranks.
  • Assist the Department as required with the administration, organisation and distribution of Acting Grand Officers’ Jewels.
  • Responsible for the administration of Expenses for the Universities Scheme and other expenses as directed.
  • Ensuring that filing systems are kept up to date and easily accessible.
  • Assist the Department as required with managing incoming and outgoing mail for the Deputy Grand Secretary and Assistant Grand Secretary, Director of Development.
  • Assist, as needed, with the appointments diary of the Deputy Grand Secretary and Assistant Grand Secretary, Director of Development.
  • Assist with administration functions for the Deputy Grand Secretary and Assistant Grand Secretary, Director of Development.
  • Assist with managing administrative aspects of online board portals (e.g. Boardvantage) as directed.
  • Support the Department as required with the administration and distribution of papers for the Pro Grand Master's Dinner.
  • Archiving relevant documentation.
  • Assist other members of staff with Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter and any other meetings held. General telephone enquiries.

Salary:

Competitive salary and benefits package:

  • BUPA private medical cover
  • Pension (3.5% employee & 9% employer contributions – increasing to 12% with length of service)
  • Life Assurance
  • Holiday (25 days increasing to 30 days with length of service)
  • Interest free season ticket loan
  • Gym membership (subsidised)
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Flexible working

Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.


Published Tue, 26 Nov 2019 12:17:00 +0000

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Administrator (1 year FTC)

This position has now closed

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Administrator for the Member Services Department for a one year fixed term contract

The duties and responsibilities will be many and varied, but will be to administer and assist in maintaining the membership records within the Registration Department of Member Services.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Inputting membership data into the Membership database and corresponding with internal and external individuals.
  • Check quality and accuracy of Membership Certificates and send out using mail merge.
  • Keep a record of all Membership Certificates returned for amendment or alteration and endorse as necessary in accordance with Office procedures.
  • Responding to queries/requests in a timely and professional manner.
  • Answering telephone enquiries promptly and courteously.
  • Assisting with the preparation and mailing out of various documents as required on a monthly basis.
  • Assist with opening of post on a daily basis.
  • File forms and items of correspondence accurately and numerically.
  • Carry out any ad hoc duties as may be requested by his/her Line Manager which are considered to be within his/her skill and competence and within the context of the job title.

Salary:

Competitive salary and benefits package:

  • BUPA private medical cover
  • Pension (3.5% employee & 9% employer contributions)
  • Life Assurance
  • Holiday (25 days)
  • Interest free season ticket loan
  • Gym membership (subsidised)• Employee Assistance Programme
  • Flexible working

Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.


Published Tue, 26 Nov 2019 12:16:58 +0000

United Grand Lodge of England seeks a Social Media Executive

This position has now closed

The United Grand Lodge of England – the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales – is entering an exciting new phase in its 300-year history as it seeks to change the perception of Freemasonry and encourage the public to see modern Freemasonry through its core values of Friendship, Charity, Respect and Integrity

In order to achieve this the Communications and Marketing team is seeking to attract some talented, dedicated, creative and outstanding individuals to join its team. The team’s expertise will cover all areas of communications including, corporate communications, public relations, social media, marketing, member communications, publications and events. We work on a campaign basis so you need to be a team player, as you will work closely with your colleagues, other departments and our 200,000 members. Freemasons raise £44m in charitable donations and give 5 million hours of volunteer time a year – so there is a lot to shout about – and much to be proud of. If you are looking for a new challenge, which will positively change your career, then look no further than a position at the United Grand Lodge of England.

The United Grand Lodge of England seeks a Social Media Executive. You will be responsible for helping the Communications and Marketing Team implement a new social media strategy within the United Grand Lodge of England.

Duties:

  • To work closely with the existing team and key partners to deliver a creative social media strategy that engages UGLE’s members and members of the public by showcasing the benefits of Freemasonry across all of its social media channels (YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Podcasts)
  • To successfully assess and report back to the impact of both the new social media strategy and specific campaigns. You will have strong relationship building skills and the ability to work, and positively influence, key stakeholders across the business
  • To be a key influencer internally and be able to confidently showcase the power of social media to key stakeholders in the business
  • To stay up-to-date with the latest online and digital trends and to implement these ideas into the social media strategy
  • Confidently handle any front of house/customer social media enquiries - dealing with them in a timely manner and show confidence in the scheduling, composing and posting of all group wide social media content
  • To set company-wide best practice guidance of social media and train others where necessary

Must have skills

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, enabling you to work with colleagues co-operatively and collaboratively in the team and across the organisation
  • You will have strong relationship building skills and the ability to work, and positively influence, key stakeholders across the business
  • You will have a flexible approach both to the type of work undertaken and working hours as required to meet team objectives and ultimately customer needs, taking ownership and responsibility for work and performance
  • You will demonstrate a positive ‘can do’ attitude and excellent work ethic. In addition, you will be able to demonstrate resilience and present yourself in a professional manner at all times
  • You will have excellent copywriting and creative skills and be able to quickly grasp how the businesses requirements can translate into outstanding social media campaigns
  • You will have experience in a social media role as well as experience in establishing a social media strategy and managing and implementing results orientated social media campaigns
  • Experience in managing the social media profile of either a CEO or director is desirable
  • Knowledge of Photoshop or creation of video content is desirable

Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.


Published Thu, 21 Nov 2019 16:33:45 +0000

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Administrator for the Member Services department

This position has now closed

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Administrator for the Member Services Department

To manage, collate and process membership information from Lodges and Chapters and to provide clerical and administrative support. The role will be part of the District Support team with the opportunity for work in other areas within Member Services.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Deal with telephone and email enquiries that are received by District Support promptly and courteously.
  • Process letters and replies in accordance with office procedures and, if required, enter into further correspondence with Districts, Lodge & Chapters.
  • Support the Member Services Department to process Annual Returns and Registration Forms for Lodges and Chapters in accordance with Office procedures.
  • Use Electronic Records Management System (EDRMS) to scan and file forms.
  • Prepare and issue Annual Returns on a monthly basis.
  • Process, where applicable, applications for Grand Lodge Certificates (completing a candidate's record in system).
  • Research membership records and supply the relevant membership details as and when requested.
  • Contribute to the identification of opportunities to engage and support Districts with events and training hosted here at UGLE.
  • Support the coordination, planning and preparation of District events and training throughout the year.
  • Manage invitations and responses for District events hosted at Great Queen Street.
  • Liaise with District contacts to help coordinate events and conferences taking place overseas when required.
  • Work in partnership with other UGLE departments to ensure events run efficiently.
  • Promote and maintain effective working relationships with Districts.
  • Help create and maintain District fact files for the Member Services Department.
  • Contribute to the provision of content for inclusion in the District Bulletin, The Right Angle and social media platforms used by UGLE.

*Masonic knowledge whilst not essential would be desirable.

Salary:

Competitive salary and benefits package:

  • BUPA private medical cover
  • Pension (3.5% employee & 9% employer contributions – increasing to 12% with length of service)
  • Life Assurance
  • Holiday (25 days increasing to 30 days with length of service)
  • Interest free season ticket loan
  • Gym membership (subsidised)
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Flexible working

Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.


Published Mon, 18 Nov 2019 16:25:35 +0000

The world's oldest social network aims to go viral with new campaign

With a thriving social media presence of over 100,000 followers across its platforms, the United Grand Lodge of England’s (UGLE) headquarters, Freemasons’ Hall, aims to be the most photographed venue across Open House London this weekend

UGLE will be taking part in the world’s largest architecture festival Open House London on 21-22 September – offering visitors architectural tours, fun family activities and access to the Museum of Freemasonry. UGLE is also inviting members of the public to visit its stunning Art Deco building in the heart of Covent Garden and post their pictures on social media using the hashtag #OHLFMH.

Freemasons’ Hall stands on Great Queen Street on a site that has been used to hold meetings for Freemasons since 1775. The current building was opened in 1933 as a peace memorial to honour the thousands of Freemasons who fought and died during the First World War.

With 50,000 followers on Facebook, 26,000 followers on Twitter and 24,000 followers on Instagram, UGLE – as the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales – has a strong presence on social media, in addition to the proactive daily engagement from regional Freemasons around the country.

Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive, said: 'Freemasonry is one of the oldest social and charitable organisation in the world, so it makes sense for us to use our social media channels to engage with the public. 

'We know people are curious about Freemasonry and our recently launched Discover Freemasonry short film, which explains who we are and what we do – as well as showcasing our unique history – has already been viewed more than 150,000 times across social media.

'These initiatives are only the start of our drive to show the public what modern Freemasonry really stands for – integrity, friendship, respect and charity. It is a little known fact that our membership, of more than 200,000 individuals across England and Wales, donated £48m to charity and over 5 million hours of volunteer work in 2018 alone. This a fact we are very proud of and our social media accounts showcase the stories behind these stats, with hundreds of posts a day from dedicated Freemasons.

'We look forward to welcoming visitors to Freemasons’ Hall throughout the year – but especially this weekend – and viewing the #OHLFMH posts, which will hopefully make us the most visited venue at Open House London this year.'

Watch the Discover Freemasonry video here.


Published Tue, 17 Sep 2019 20:26:22 +0100

More News

Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Fri, 28 Feb 2020 21:06:55 +0000

Spectacular Gala celebrates Shropshire Freemasons £1.2 million Festival

Despite its small size, the Province of Shropshire knows how to punch well above its weight. Back in 2014 when the then Provincial Grand Master Peter Taylor launched a Festival for the Province (the fifth smallest of the 48 Provinces) its 1,200 members found themselves facing the challenge of raising no less than £1 million over the following five years

Undaunted, the then 34, although now 36, Lodges inspired their members to rise to that challenge magnificently.

Under the chairmanship of the provincial grand charity steward, Simon Aucott, a Festival Fundraising Committee organised, co-ordinated and supported the work of the lodge charity stewards throughout the Province in finding ever more inventive ways by which they, their families and friends might go about raising the vital contribution to the work of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF).

Members of the Province jumped out of aircraft, held promise auctions, went on a group cycle ride from Telford to Rotterdam, held dinners, garden parties and wine tastings. There were christmas fairs and a spectacular concert. The Provincial Director of Ceremonies organised a competition for members to guess his annual mileage on masonic business during a single year; the answer was tens of thousands!

And just to prove that the having wheels is not the only way of fundraising, international walking champion Roger Michell walked between all the lodges of the Province to present a travelling Maul which then accompanied him and his wife Linda on a walk from Freemasons' Hall in Shrewsbury to Freemasons' Hall in Great Queen Street for quarterly communication in June 2019, where Roger's achievement of walking over 1,000 miles was recogised by the Pro Grand Master, Peter Lowndes. UGLE donated £1,000 to the appeal.

Eventually, the appeal came to a close and at a spectacular gala celebration event at the Telford International Centre, organised by the festval celebration committee chaired by Melvin Gough, the final total was revealed: an astonishing £1,217,094! This is the second highest per capita contribution ever made to the MCF. The Provincial Grand Master went on to praise the efforts of everyone who had worked so hard over the period of the Festival, singling out in particular the committee chairman and the festival treasurer, Dennis Hill.

The Gala was a brilliant celebration of all the efforts of the many Freemasons, families and friends and was attended by 580 people, including HM Lord Lieutenant in Shropshire, Anna Turner, and civic dignitaries as well as other guests including the Assistant Grand Master, Sir David Wootton, and the President of the MCF, Richard Hone, and Chief Operating Officer, Les Hutchinson. Shropshire Freemasons were proud to welcome them all and to showcase who they are and what they do in the community. In addition to the sumptuous dinner, guests were entertained by magicians and singing waiters to add to the special evening.

Shropshire won't be required to hold another Festival until 2030, but the fundraising efforts won't stop any time soon: the Province, Lodges and indivdual Freemasons will build on the experience gained over the period of the Festival to continue to raise funds for many local charities, as they have over many years. Although there may be fewer parachute jumps by the Provincial Grand Master!


Published Tue, 11 Feb 2020 00:00:00 +0000

Five Provincial Grand Masters of Leicestershire & Rutland

Five Provincial Grand Masters of Leicestershire & Rutland

Devonshire Court, the Masonic Care Home in Oadby, Leicester, was the centre of attention just before Christmas, as one of the residents, Gayton Taylor, Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland between 1978 and 1989, was visited by four past and present Provincial Grand Masters

The Provincial Grand Master, Peter Kinder was joined by David Hagger (2010 - 2019), Michael H. Roalfe (2002 - 2010), and Derek Buswell (1989 - 2002) to pay a visit to Gayton, who is 97 years old. Gayton was extremely pleased to see his friends and welcome so many visitors at once. 

Having organised the visit, the provincial grand master, Peter said it was 'a delight to see Gayton looking so well, and what a special treat for all of us to have the opportunity of gathering together to celebrate the last 42 years of guiding the Province of Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons.'


Published Thu, 23 Jan 2020 10:40:36 +0000

Vulnerable young people will get mentoring and support thanks to £89,000 grant from Kent Freemasons

Hundreds of vulnerable children and young people, many in care or in trouble with the law, will gain access to a programme of mentoring and supporting to help them turn their lives around, following a grant from Kent Freemasons to the Young Lives Foundation (YLF)

The £89,000 grant will help develop activities in both Swale and Gravesham, where YLF will deliver a programme of sports, arts, music, drama and occasional field trips to residential centres offering skill-based activities such as water sports, climbing and camping.

There was a 60 per cent increase in referrals to the YLF last year following cuts in funding by local authorities, and more than 700 youth centres have been closed since 2010. YLF intends to respond by opening a youth hub in each of the 13 districts in Kent, providing a safe space for young people to meet, make the right friendships, learn new hobbies and interests, and build valuable relationships with our skilled volunteer mentors.

The cuts coincide with the rise of the so-called 'county lines' drug gangs which target young people and follow a 152 per cent increase in knife crime between 2010 and 2018.

YLF currently works with 1,500 young people in the Kent care system and wish to make the services available to more than 1,700 young people in care who are placed in Kent from other local authorities. They also work with 8,000 young people on the edge of care. There are over 70,000 in the care system nationally, with Kent having the most significant number per head.

The results of the YLF projects are very encouraging, with 81 per cent of young people in the programmes reporting an increase in self-confidence, which is crucial for young people seeking to change their behaviour.

The grant from Kent Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales. Kent Freemasons are currently involved in five years of intensive fundraising for the MCF.

Stephen Gray, Chief Executive of the Young Lives Foundation, said: 'I'm very grateful to Kent Freemasons for their generous grant, which adds to substantial support we've already received from individual Freemasons lodges. We're also grateful to the many Freemasons who volunteer their free time to help us. Thanks to them we'll be able to offer many more very vulnerable young people the advice and support they need to turn their lives around.'

Neil Johnstone from Kent Freemasons said: 'We are pleased we've been able to help the Young Lives Foundation with their hugely important work. YLF provide positive role models and practical advice and support that can have a huge impact on helping vulnerable young people to stay out of trouble.'


Published Tue, 14 Jan 2020 00:00:00 +0000

'Oh no they didn't. Oh, yes they did'... Sussex Freemasons deliver Peter Pan pantomime

A packed house at the Metropole Hotel in Brighton on 29th December saw the Peter Pan pantomime brilliantly delivered by an all-star host of Sussex Freemasons to a lively and appreciative audience of all ages
 
The show, staged and supported with the outstanding help and assistance of David Hill and his E3 Production company, was a complete success and raised a fantastic £13,100 toward the refurbishment of their Provincial Centre in Brighton. 
 
Everyone taking part delivered bravura performances and a fabulous evening of family entertainment were thoroughly enjoyed by young and old alike. 
 
John Hornblow, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Sussex and Chair of the Provincial Fundraising Committee, which organised, promoted and took part in the event, said 'This was an outstanding effort by a top team over many months.

'I would like to thank everyone involved for all their hard work, enthusiasm and sustained efforts in making this amazing event happen. I would also like to thank Dave Hill, E3 Productions and his team for all the support and encouragement they have given in helping Sussex Freemasonry deliver this show.'


Published Thu, 09 Jan 2020 17:38:17 +0000

Buckinghamshire Freemasons help two men go for Gold at judo tournament in Holland

The Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund (BMCF) has funded two men to attend the Nihon Dutch Shensho Judo tournament in Eindhoven, Holland

Shaun Banks and Sean McKellar competed against individuals worldwide in a tournament for those with learning difficulties.

They are both members of Stokenchurch Judo Club and have competed in many competitions in the past. At 52, Sean McKellar was the oldest in the group and had to compete in four challenging contests before emerging victorious with a gold medal.

Shaun Banks also competed in four contests and managed to beat an impressive challenger who was much bigger than him. He gained a bronze medal.

Jean Cleere, who organised the funding and accompanied the group to the event, thanked the BMCF for the contribution which facilitated the two competitors success.


Published Tue, 07 Jan 2020 00:00:00 +0000

An unusual agenda of events for Old Bloxhamist Lodge in Oxfordshire

On 14 December 2019 the 60th anniversary installation meeting of Old Bloxhamist Lodge No. 7725 was held at the Masonic Hall in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

The evening was especially interesting due to an unusual agenda of Lodge business.

A visit from James Hilditch, Provincial Grand Master for Oxfordshire, honoured the Lodge, who on this occasion was accompanied by Alan Baverstock, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Peter Smith, Provincial Senior Grand Warden, and Bernd Wegerhoff, Provincial Grand Secretary.

The first part of the ceremony was a rather special installation of James Smith, son of a long servicing member of the Lodge David Smith. David took a very active role in the proceedings, partaking in the inbound procession of the provincial officers and delivering the first degree working tools in a most commanding fashion.

The second part of the evening saw Christopher Gasson reinstalled as the Worshipful Master for a second successive year. 

During the second risings, David Smith was once more called to his feet, this time to be presented with a 60 year masonic certificate from the Provincial Grand Master, who also rewarded David during the presentation by promoting him to the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden.

After the formal business had been concluded, the attenders retired to partake in a most enjoyable and friendly pre-Christmas festive board.


Published Mon, 06 Jan 2020 15:18:25 +0000

Dorset Freemasons support Dorset Search and Rescue with £1,000 donation

Members of London Haven Lodge No. 7300 in Dorset have supported the Dorset Search and Rescue's work through a £1,000 donation

Dorset Search and Rescue (DorSAR) is a team of highly trained volunteers who work with the police, coastguard and other emergency services. Their work consists of searching and retrieving of missing persons, swift water and flood water rescue, searching and recovering of significant objects and support at major incidents. The donation was presented to the charity during the Lodge's Christmas meeting.

The event was attended by wives, partners and Lodge widows, as well as undergraduates who joined through the UGLE Universities Scheme.

For the past three or more decades, the Christmas meetings at London Haven Lodge has welcomed members of the Bournemouth Gilbert and Sullivan Productions (better known as Bournemouth GaSP). Through Carol singing at Lodges and elsewhere, the society has raised more than £90,000 for the Macmillan Unit at Christchurch Hospita a Specialist Palliative Care Unit for patients in South East Dorset and South West Hampshire.

The donation from the Lodge contributed to more than £2,000 having been raised during 2019 by Bournemouth GaSP.


Published Fri, 03 Jan 2020 11:49:44 +0000

Families of seriously-ill children and young people will be supported thanks to £63,000 grant from Berkshire Freemasons

Families of children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions across Berkshire will receive counselling and support, thanks to a grant of £63,000 to the Sebastian’s Action Trust charity from Berkshire Freemasons

Sebastian’s Action Trust provides family support and bereavement care tailored towards improving mental and physical health for children and their families. The charity offers responsive, accessible support for families who are facing either the imminent death or eventual loss of a child. This includes talking and counselling sessions together with one-to-one and group sessions to accommodate the family’s unmet needs.

There are currently 49,000 children with life-limiting or life threatening conditions in the UK – Sebastian’s Action Trust supports 127 families in the county of Berkshire. The Trust offers emotional, practical and social support to families in Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, delivering outreach support to roughly 500 families.

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

Jane Gates OBE, Sebastian’s Action Trust’s CEO, said: ‘We’re very grateful to Berkshire Freemasons for their generous grant, There can be no more critical time in the life of a family than the diagnosis of a life-threatening or life-limiting condition in one of its members and their subsequent death – and how much worse when it is a child. We may not be able to add days to lives, but with the help of Berkshire freemasons, we will be able to add life to days.’

Peter Sands, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire, said: ‘I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Sebastian’s Action Trust. Giving the right kind of support to family members going through the darkest and most challenging of times can make a huge difference.’


Published Thu, 02 Jan 2020 00:00:00 +0000

Buckinghamshire Freemasons donate £2,500 to animal assisted learning charity

The Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund (BMCF) has awarded a grant of £2,500 to the animal assisted learning charity Animal Antiks

It has gone towards the installation of new gates at the facility, which will enable a fully flexible layout and permit service users to access all the different animals, even in wheelchairs and pushchairs. As well as this, the gates will be fitted with baseboards which will help maintain high hygiene standards by containing straw and animal waste, keeping access walkways clean.

Animal Antiks operates an alternative day provision based on a 230-acre working farm in North Marston, near Buckingham. It welcomes and supports children and adults who are experiencing various challenges in their lives. This can include physical and mental health difficulties, difficulties accessing mainstream education or being at risk of school exclusion or experiencing social isolation and exclusion.

It supports around 50 people a week and caters for all ages - with their youngest being five and their eldest in her 50's. Some attend for a couple of hours a week, while others participate in full time and carry out their education onsite.

Andrew Hough recently visited the farm as the Secretary of the BMCF to see the difference the new gates had made for those with mobility and motor skills issues. He enjoyed his visit helping to muck-out and feed some of the animals.


Published Wed, 18 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000

Leeds Freemasons bring Festive cheer to children’s charities

A toy appeal by Leeds Freemasons is bringing festive cheer to several local charities

The initiative has proved very popular; more than 300 gifts will be shared between four groups - Leeds Children's Hospital, Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People, Leeds Children's Charity and Leeds Jewish Welfare Board.

The Castle Grove Masonic Lodges Festive Toy appeal was launched in November 2018, to bring various Lodges together to provide something tangible to young people in the local community.

Initially, the toys and gifts were to be donated to Leeds Children's Hospital. However, the response proved so overwhelming that a large number of gifts were also donated to Barnardo's.

This year, the number of charity recipients has been increased to four, including Leeds Jewish Welfare Board which will receive Chanukah gifts for 28 children under its care.

Leeds Freemason and toy appeal co-ordinator Graham Shiers said: 'Once again, I've been absolutely staggered by the response of lodge members to the toy appeal. Since launching this year's appeal in October, we have been inundated with both toys and financial donations. The money has been used to buy more gifts, including pyjamas and clothes for children living in poverty.

'I would like to thank the masonic community who meet at Headingley's Castle Grove for their generosity. Thanks to them, several children who may not have had a present to open on Christmas Day will receive at least one.'

Graham added: 'One of the three great pillars that Freemasonry is founded on is charity, and charity is very close to our hearts. Each year the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding presents grants totalling £200,000 to a wide range of organisations including schools, youth organisations, hospices and community clubs.'

He has concluded saying: 'We are very proud of our support of the communities we live and work in, and these toys, gifts and clothes will go to four great charities that do so much for local children and their families.'


Published Mon, 16 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000

Freemasonry Cares

Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Fri, 28 Feb 2020 21:06:55 +0000

English and Welsh Freemasons give $150,000 for victims of Australian bush fires

People who have lost everything in the catastrophic Australian bushfires will be among those to benefit from a grant of AUS $150,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation to the Disaster Relief Funds set up by Australian Freemasons

The grant from the English and Welsh Freemasons’ charity will see $50,000 given to the Australian Freemasons’ Disaster Relief Funds in each of the three states most affected by the blaze, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

The unprecedented fires have seen 27 deaths, including a number of firefighters. 2,136 homes have been destroyed in New South Wales alone, more than 1,200 of which have burned down since New Year’s Eve. Thousands of Australians are living in more than a dozen large evacuation centres, having been forced to flee the blaze.

Meanwhile hundreds of homes and businesses have been lost in Victoria and South Australia. Many Australians have lost everything and the impact on the livelihoods of ordinary people is vast. The economy will take many years to fully recover.

An estimated 18 million acres of land have been burned – an area almost as large as Ireland. There has been an enormous impact on the environment, with up to a billion animals being killed. The death toll among koala bears alone has led to calls for the animals to be placed on the endangered species list.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, said: 'These terrible fires are an ongoing disaster for thousands of Australians. I’m very pleased that English and Welsh Freemasons are working together with Freemasons in Australia to raise funds to help the victims of the blazes, many of whom have lost everything.'


Published Tue, 14 Jan 2020 14:07:28 +0000

Berkshire Freemasons donate £4,000 to Thames Valley Air Ambulance

A grant of £4,000 to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance from Berkshire Freemasons has been added to the total masonic support of £2.4 million given to air ambulances across the country since 2007

Apart from this grant, which comes from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, The Berkshire Masonic Charity has contributed over £4,500 to help patients with breathing difficulties. These donations and many others bring the total contribution to Thames Valley Air Ambulance by Freemasons over the last few years to £132,000.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance operates across Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire bringing advanced medical care to the most critically ill and injured patients. Between 1st October 2018 and 30th September 2019, the helicopter and Critical Care Response Vehicles responded to 2670 incidents in the region; 1013 of these were in Berkshire. They delivered advanced medical care to 1,667 patients.

Neil Harman, Director of Fundraising at Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: 'We are very grateful to Berkshire Freemasons for their continuing generosity. Without support like this our teams of doctors, paramedics and pilots would not be able to continue delivering our life-saving work.'

Anthony Howlett-Bolton, Leader of Berkshire Freemasons, said: 'We are proud to be able to support the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the crew, many lives of local people are saved every year.'


Published Tue, 26 Nov 2019 19:05:17 +0000

Devonshire Freemasons donate £28,000 to Exeter Royal Deaf Academy

Whilst on a visit to the House of Lords Ian Kingsbury, Provincial Grand Master for Devonshire Freemasons, was inspired by a presentation given by Steve Morton, Director of Development for the Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education

Outlining the Academy’s aims and development plans for the future academy, which is to be relocated to a new site in Exmouth, - Ian was inspired so much so that he came back to Devonshire with the desire to help those who are affected by this very difficult sensory disability. To this end, he approached the Devonshire Freemasons Benevolent Fund Committee for help, and they immediately responded by giving him a cheque for £5,000.

Following their visit to meet Steve Morton in October 2018 there has been an approach to the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) who have agreed further funding of £28,380 to equip a Multi-Sensory Immersive Space within the new centre in Exmouth, bringing the total donated to £33,380. 

Dr Reuben Ayres, Devonshire Provincial Grand Charity Steward, accompanied by Clive Eden, visited the Deaf Academy. Here they met up again with Steve Morton and Appeals Manager Sarah Shaw and presented them with a certificate denoting the £28,380 which is going to support the wonderful work undertaken by the Academy.

Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education has been located in Exeter for over 190 years and the current location is a property purchased many years ago which is no longer fit for the needs of the deaf students. The property and the land has now been sold and the proceeds will partially fund the new academy which is being been built with all the latest facilities available to the architects, to give the students what they really require.

All the students have additional needs, including multi-sensory disabilities, autism, epilepsy, and physical disabilities which is why, when designing the new building so much thought has gone into making each part of the facility user friendly. It is planned that completion of the new building will be by Easter 2020.

When presenting the certificate, Dr. Reuben Ayres said: ‘Young people all need us to be there to help them grow for the future, none more so than those with a lack of hearing who are denied the normal things that we take so much for granted in the world we live in.’

When receiving the certificate Steve Morton said: ‘We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire and now the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Without the support of generous organisations like these we wouldn’t be able to change the lives of some of the most vulnerable Deaf young people in UK.

‘Our work helps young people, who have often been isolated in the past, to access education and opportunities for development which ultimately will enable them to have more independent lives. The immersive room is there to help those facing the greatest challenges to benefit from our work and Ian, Reuben and their fellow Freemasons have played a large part in making that a reality.’


Published Wed, 20 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000

Staffordshire Freemasons launch unique advertising campaign to promote MCF across Europe

Staffordshire’s Provincial Grand Master John Lockley endorsed and launched a unique advertising campaign to support the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the work they do to help communities throughout England and Wales with donations to local charities

A large advert has been placed on the side of an articulated trailer owned by local Freemason Danny Poole who runs a specialist chilled food distribution and transport business based in Stoke on Trent.

This giant trailer is decorated in specially commissioned MCF colours and branding and has been launched on the roads of the UK and Europe – in particular England, France, Germany and Belgium.

The idea was generated by Danny and his wife Jackie. Danny approached the Staffordshire MCF Representative Andrew Tomblin and generously offered a trailer for decoration in full MCF colours to carry the masonic message of Charity For All across the country and into Europe.  These trailers never stand still and rather like aircraft are out there somewhere constantly working and being seen by all.

Andrew took the idea and discussed the plan with the MCF marketing department team, which resulted in the creation of the new artwork designed to carry the Masonic message across the entire length of the trailer and the rear doors. The vehicle is breathtakingly large and very eye catching and will take Freemasonry’s caring message far and wide.

John Lockley said: ‘Many thanks to Danny and Jackie for their great idea and for allowing the use of this magnificent vehicle to help Staffordshire Freemasons promote the Masonic Charitable Foundation, nationally and internationally.’


Published Tue, 22 Oct 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Knowle Masonic Centre working in partnership with Age UK Solihull thanks to £63,000 grant

To tackle daily problems caused by loneliness and isolation, such as financial hardship, decline in physical or mental well-being or life transitions including retirement and bereavement, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) launched a £1 million three-year partnership with Age UK in 2018 to fund a new project called ‘Later Life Goals’

Thanks to this project, Age UK advisers have been helping older people identify their goals for later life. So far, the project has supported over 2,370 older people.

There are 3.6 million older people in the UK, of whom over two million are over 75 years of age and live alone. The downside effects of loneliness on human body is equivalent to harm caused by 15 cigarettes a day which makes it even worse than obesity.

Research over loneliness shows that it is associated with a 50% increase in mortality from any cause. According to Age UK, it is associated with depression, sleep problems, impaired cognitive health, heightened vascular resistance, hypertension, psychological stress and mental health problems.

Age UK Solihull in Warwickshire, one of 13 branches in this project, has been working closely with Knowle Masonic Centre (KMC). During the summer, Keith Reynolds, Deputy Chairman of KMC, presented Anne Hastings, CEO of Age UK Solihull, the certificate sent by MCF granting £63,000 as part of the 3-year partnership. The level of co-operation between KMC and Age UK Solihull goes even beyond funding projects. KMC had gladly welcomed Age UK Solihull to have their regular meetings and social gatherings at KMC’s premises.

Futhermore, Age UK Solihull has initiated a significant service called ‘Linking People Together’ which aims at promoting individual independence, confidence and well-being. The service calls on volunteers to visit and befriend older people in their local areas. Volunteers are expected to create a personal connection with an older person who could be homebound or suffering from a long-term disease or having no family living locally. Volunteers can befriend someone either by phoning at an agreed time for a chat or by visiting them at their home.

It is also possible to accompany them to an activity or appointment. KMC is delighted to be part of this partnership and committed to support Age UK Solihull. To contribute the project, members of the KMC are encouraged to participate with their families.


Published Wed, 09 Oct 2019 21:52:01 +0100

Mark Master Masons donate £141,000 to Lifelites

Lifelites has received an incredible donation of £141,423 from the Mark Benevolent Fund, which will change the lives of thousands of life-limited and disabled children across the country

The Mark Benevolent Fund is the official charity of The Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, a registered charity that began in 1868 as an efficient way to donate money to the charities of the Mark Master Masons.

Lifelites donates assistive technology to over 10,000 life-limited and disabled children in hospices across the country, and this vital funding will support a brand new project being launched by the charity this year – the Tech Trunk.

The Tech Trunk is a solution for Hospice at Home services across the country that deliver palliative and respite care for children out in the community. The portable trunks enable hospice staff to take the Lifelites technology with them wherever they go, giving children the opportunity to have access to life-changing technology in their own home.

The trunks will include accessible, portable technology such as a Virtual Reality Headset, specialist iPads, games consoles and an Eyegaze, which enables children to use a computer just with the movement of their eyes. All of this technology gives these children the opportunity to play, be creative, control something for themselves and communicate, for as long as it is possible.

This funding will also help Lifelites to donate Interactive Entertainment Hubs, Mobile Magic Carpets, and other technology as well as vital training for children’s hospice staff on how to use it.

Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites, said: ‘Our small team works tirelessly to raise the funds we so desperately need, and to have this unbelievably generous gift from the Mark Benevolent Fund is a complete game-changer for Lifelites.

‘It will help us provide technology to thousands of children across the country, children who don’t have the same opportunities that we do. Every moment is precious, and thanks to this donation we can help these children and their families make the most of every second.’

Darren Coleman-Heald, Charities Manager at the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, said: ‘We are delighted to have joined forces with Lifelites in this all-important project that reaches deep in to the heart of your community giving enjoyment and stimulation to life-limited and disabled children.

'Our 36,000 members will be pleased to know that their donations are being used wisely by helping those in need across the UK.’


Published Wed, 02 Oct 2019 12:23:25 +0100

MCF gives £63,000 to Lincolnshire to provide friendship in times of crisis

Through the generosity of Lincolnshire’s Freemasons, the Masonic Charitable Foundation has been able to support Age UK Lindsey with a donation of £63,000

The life-changing donation is part of a £1 million project called Later Life Goals, launched nationwide to support the charity’s work in reaching out to enhance the lives of many hundreds of lonely and vulnerable older people.

In Lincolnshire this year alone that translates to one-to-one intervention on behalf of 262 people undergoing major transitions in their lives such as bereavement, serious health diagnosis, or a partner moving to a care home.

Age UK Lindsey works across East and West Lindsey and North Lincolnshire, helping to make later life a fulfilling and enjoyable experience by providing a range of direct services, advice, and domestic support. This can include help to access benefits, liaising with care agencies, or simply a weekly befriending visit.

Service Manager Sue White said demand for the services they were able to provide continued to flood in: ‘We have an average of 200 new referrals for our information and advice service every month, and 30 new requests for our befriending help on top of that. Our services are always up to capacity, and so many callers have nowhere else to go.

‘We can’t thank you enough for this donation; it will help us to sustain our services to people who otherwise might have no help at all.”

Dave Wheeler, Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master, said: ’The work of Age UK Lindsey is vital for so many people in rural Lincolnshire. I’d urge brethren to volunteer to help with the befriending service. It involves an hour week of a chat over a cup of tea, but it can be a lifeline for someone.'

To find out more, please contact jenny.wilson@ageuklindsey.co.uk

DONALD'S STORY

‘Donald’ isn’t the real name of the man in this story, but the story itself is all too real. Donald and his landlord wanted his story to be shared to show how Age UK Lindsey, with the support of Lincolnshire’s Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation, had turned his life around.

Serious financial problems, and the worry they brought, were making Donald ill. He wasn’t sleeping and he couldn’t see a way around his difficulties.

Eviction was a very real threat, but his landlord, (let’s call him John), didn’t want it to come to that. He told us: ‘Donald is in his 70s, and relies on his state pension and a relatively modest housing benefit award. His financial situation was causing him distress and anxiety.’

John contacted Age UK Lindsey, at which point volunteer Pam Cox entered the story. John said: ‘Donald and I met her two or three times, and she was instrumental in getting him a higher level of attendance allowance and improved pension credit, which allowed him not only to clear his rent arrears, but made him £150 a week better off.’

Pam, who volunteered to help Age UK for six months almost ten years ago, and has never left, said there was as much as £1m in unclaimed benefits in the system. ‘But the application process can be very difficult,’ she said. ‘Even if you understand the system, and how to fill in forms, it can take as long as two hours to complete one application, and that can be a barrier to people applying.’

John said: ‘I really cannot stress enough just how magnificent the work of Age UK Lindsey has been.  I’m full of admiration for the organisation, and Pam Cox in particular. It’s an excellent organisation, and its work can’t be commended highly enough.’

Donald, given such vital support, is now very happy with this life. The anxiety has gone, and with a smile on his face he was able to say: ‘I’ve just been to see the doctor. He says I’m 400% better than I was. I’m cheerful again.’


Published Mon, 30 Sep 2019 10:49:43 +0100

Warwickshire's Provincial Grand Master takes to the skies to raise £11,000 for the MCF

The summer break may have seen many Freemasons relaxing and enjoying the fine weather, but David Macey, Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire, had other ideas when he decided to jump out of a plane to raise £11,000 for charity

The Province of Warwickshire is in the early stages of its 2023 Festival and working hard to raise money to support the excellent work of the Masonic Charitable Foundation. The Provincial Grand Master is always one to lead from the front, which led him to search for an opportunity to raise a healthy sum of money for the Festival whilst aiming to inspire the Province to hit and exceed the Festival target.

Jumping from a perefectly serviceable aircraft seemed a suitable way to raise the profile of the Festival to new heights, so early in 2019 the plans were laid and preparations for a summer skydive commenced. David set himself an ambitious target of £10,000, with confidence that the members of Warwickshire would rise to the occasion.

Finally the day came and David, with a band of supporters, fought through difficult driving conditions to Langar Airfield in Nottinghamshire hoping for a break in the weather to give enough time for the jump to happen.In spite of hopes and optimism, the wind and rain thwarted the first attempt and it was not safe to jump.

Several weeks went by with the excitement and trepidation growing, until in July 2019 a window in the weather was found and the team made their way to Nottinghamshire once again. This time conditions were perfect. David completed his training and his instructor chosen, much to the amusement of the assembled crowd, with the Provincial Grand Master being rather tall and his instructor much less so, once in tandem, the instructors feet would never touch the floor.

The jump was an experience of a lifetime, with David's first words on landing being, 'I've got to do that again', although his wife Sandra didn't seem so sure. The exhilaration of the skydive was only increased as the fundraising soared past the target, finishing with £11,000 going to the Festival and the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

The full video of the skydive can be seen here.


Published Wed, 04 Sep 2019 22:54:01 +0100

MCF donation funds groundbreaking new collaboration that could go nationwide

Funded by the Masonic Charitable Foundation and operated by Lincoln’s St Barnabas Hospice Trust and the city’s YMCA, a new project to help the homeless could become the model for similar schemes nationwide

It’s about a new dimension in the range of services offered by the organisations and is aimed specifically at helping the homeless to cope with bereavement.

YMCA CEO Caroline Killeavy said working in partnership with MCF support made a significant difference. The scheme will provide one-to-one specialist counselling to work with homeless people through the difficulties, challenges and emotions that can accompany bereavement.

Although there are no exact figures of how many homeless people in Lincoln are struggling with bereavement, there is research that shows it is a problem on a national scale. Strong circumstantial evidence that indicates it is prevalent in Lincoln.

The YMCA and Lincoln Baptist Church independently contacted St Barnabas Hospice to discuss the problem, which lead to the hospice putting together a bid to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for funding.

Counselling sessions are held at the YMCA hostel in Rumbold Street and at The Nomad Trust’s shelter in Monks Road. Caroline Killeavy, CEO of Lincolnshire YMCA, added: ‘The YMCA recognises people become homeless for many reasons, but one we repeatedly see is bereavement and loss.’

Pete Crosby, Lincoln Baptist Church community coordinator, said: ‘Bereavement among the homeless community is a reoccurring issue. Without specialist bereavement support these people will not overcome their grief and be able to get on with their lives.’

Cat Rodda is the bereavement counsellor leading the year-long project, and has already seen positive changes in those taking part. She said: ‘These sessions provide a confidential and accessible space for homeless people, who traditionally haven’t felt able to access the hospice’s bereavement support. We are already seeing individuals start to work through and better cope with their grief and taking steps to move forward with their lives.’

In addition to the counselling, the project aims to provide bereavement training for staff at partner organisations and for homeless peer mentors in order to widen the impact of the project.

Lincolnshire's Provincial Grand Master Dave Wheeler said: ‘People can find themselves living on the street for a variety of reasons. Life is already tough enough for the homeless, and the last thing they need is the extra burden of being alone whilst having to cope with the grief of bereavement.

‘The Masonic Charitable Foundation’s donation means that counsellors with the right kind of skills can be available to support them at such times, and I find it reassuring that we have made this wonderful initiative possible.’


Published Wed, 28 Aug 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Buckinghamshire Freemasons donate £15,000 to Carers Milton Keynes

Buckinghamshire Freemasons have donated £15,000 to help Carers Milton Keynes to both extend and continue to provide vital support to unpaid carers in the area

The grant comes via the Masonic Charitable Foundation and will help them to increase and improve the support given to older carers, specifically carers aged 50 or over.

Carers Milton Keynes is a charity which supports the health and wellbeing of unpaid carers looking after a family member, friend or neighbour who cannot manage without them due to illness, physical or learning disability, frailty, mental health issues or additional needs.

The support available from Carers Milton Keynes includes advice, information and guidance, emotional support and counselling, young carers and young adult carers support, carers support groups and training courses.

Carers Milton Keynes commented: 'This generous award will enable us to grow the service to its full potential.'


Published Mon, 19 Aug 2019 13:36:04 +0100
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