This latest newsletter gives details of grants awarded during December to charities and organisations across the Province. Its aim is to ensure that all Brethren and their families within Yorkshire, West Riding are aware of the work that WRMCL is doing to support those within our communities.
Since the previous update, the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund has made grants, totalling nearly £13,000, to eleven community organisations, where it is hoped there will be the biggest impact in terms of community benefit:
Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team - The team’s prime objective is to search for and alleviate the distress of persons lost or injured in the hills. However, they do much more; in addition to mountain rescue work, they assist the Yorkshire Ambulance Service in treating and evacuating casualties in rural areas, mostly mountain bikers and horse riders. They also assist the Police in searching for vulnerable missing persons. During the pandemic there has been a rise in this type of search, particularly involving people suffering from depression.
The Team (pictured recovering an injured Mountain Biker in Grenoside Woods) are now using a great deal of additional PPE, both for themselves and for the casualties. On completion of a rescue the team members have to thoroughly clean-down and sanitise the inside of vehicles and equipment, all adding financial cost.
The grant of £2,000 will be used to purchase and replace; fuel, PPE kit, First Aid supplies and equipment used in rescues; sponsored by Albert Edward Lodge No 1783, Huddersfield.
Huddersfield & District University of the Third Age is a voluntary organisation, providing educational and recreational activities for people over the age of 50 or registered disabled. More than 100 subjects are offered, in areas such as science, literature, history, languages and keep fit. All the tutors and organisers are unpaid volunteers.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face learning opportunities cannot take place in the Huddersfield area. In order to provide on-line virtual learning through the Zoom platform, the organisation is required to purchase Zoom licences and the grant of £1,000 will allow them to do so; sponsored by Albert Edward Lodge No 1783.
Home-Start, Kirklees is a voluntary organisation, committed to promoting the welfare of children. They offer practical and emotional support to families living in Kirklees, with at least one child under the age of 5 and not in full time education. Volunteers work alongside families to give support, to help people regain the confidence to be the parents they want to be.
Normally, at Christmas, they hold a party for the families. Due to the pandemic, they are unable to do so this year and are, instead, supplying food hampers to the families and a present for 98 children.
The grant of £1,320 has been used to provide Christmas gifts; sponsored by Beaumont Lodge No 2035, Kirkburton.
Emma Franks, Business Manager at Home-Start, Kirklees wrote, ‘Thank you for your very generous donation. This has been used to purchase Christmas gifts for children in our families who would otherwise receive very little at this time of year.’
Sheffield Sea Cadets aim to help young people towards responsible adulthood, by encouraging valuable personal attributes and high standards of conduct, using a nautical theme based on customs of the Royal Navy. Through various activities and adventures, cadets learn teamwork, respect, loyalty, self-confidence, commitment, self-discipline, honesty and how to be the best version of themselves. Not unlike the attributes learnt through Freemasonry.
Following the theft of their mini-bus, a replacement vehicle is needed to transport the cadets around the UK, enabling them to attend events and competitions, once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Regrettably, the insurance pay-out did not reflect the cost of purchasing such a vehicle and the grant of £2,000 will assist in the acquisition; sponsored by Welcome Lodge No 3779.
The Link Community Hub is a group set up by local people in the middle of the Stradbroke estate, to the east of Sheffield, to provide a range of support, assistance and activities to the local community; bringing together the needy, vulnerable and lonely and often depressed; working to meet their needs, through Food Bank referrals, emergency clothing and household goods packages. They aim to build people’s confidence, in a safe and supportive environment in an area of multi deprivation.
A community garden project has been started, in an area where a high number of residents live in high-rise flats; providing the only safe and secure outdoor space for many. There is also a ‘Solace Area’ being developed as a safe zone for women, who have suffered domestic abuse, to experience therapeutic arts and craft skills. The grant of £1,325 will contribute towards the cost of the solace area; sponsored by Sheaf Lodge No 6990.
Wath upon Dearne Community Partnership is a charity providing facilities to accommodate numerous community groups and services, including a Foodbank, providing for the elderly, disadvantaged families and vulnerable in the community. A team of volunteers provide and deliver food parcels and services 7 days a week.
A grant of £2,000 was made from the PGM’s Fund in May 2020 and was match-funded by a similar amount from the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
This further grant, of £2,000, is to support Christmas hampers for the Food Bank recipients and to enable the purchase of supplies for the Food Bank, as well as contributing to the running costs of the hall; sponsored by Rockingham Lodge No 4282, Mexborough.
Women’s Refuge, Doncaster supports women and children to live without fear of violence. through a specialist refuge. They also offer refuge space for men, as well as community-based support for anyone fleeing or experiencing domestic abuse. The grant of £250 is to purchase Christmas presents for the children staying at the refuge over the Christmas period; sponsored by Lodge of South Yorkshire No 9633, Sheffield.
Rotherham Safe Haven – A team of volunteers prepare, provide and serve hot evening meals to homeless and vulnerable people sleeping on the streets of Rotherham. They operate from a town centre building on College Street. Their only rule is, ‘If someone comes to our door, they come in; we refuse no one.’
Currently preparing and serving meals from old. wooden camping tables, the grant of £864 will be used to purchase six stainless steel tables; sponsored by Rotherwood Lodge No 4392.
Rotherham Rugby Club Ltd promote the playing of and active participation in, amateur rugby union within the local community. The Club provides facilities, playing and coaching opportunities in rugby football, to people of all abilities, regardless of race or gender.
The Rotherham Ladies rugby team encourages youngsters from the local community to take up the game and has a policy of not turning away those unable to pay the modest membership subscription. Many young girls may be deterred from joining due to the cost of kit and boots and the Club are keen to overcome this hurdle by loaning items when necessary.
The grant of £600 is to purchase boots, for use by players unable to provide their own; sponsored by Rotherwood Lodge No 4392.
The Friends of Musica Shelley is a group of volunteers established in the 1970s and has financially supported a Music Centre, held at Shelley College, each Saturday morning during school term times. Administered by Musica Kirklees, the Centre serves the village communities of Shelley, Kirkburton, Shepley, Scissett and Denby Dale and is attended by 250 school-age children.
The ‘Friends’ help finance the Centre by running a tuck shop and coffee bar, organising raffles and fund-raising events. One of the ‘Friends’ main aims is to ensure that no child in the locality is excluded from having the joy of playing a musical instrument because of financial constraints.
At a time when there is a spotlight on positive mental health, especially through lockdown and returning to an unusual school experience, they have harnessed every opportunity to keep local children playing their instruments and meeting up with their musical friends.
The grant of £500 will go some way to allowing the Centre to continue to function through this difficult time; sponsored by Rectitude Lodge No 4383, Wakefield.
Leeds Destitute Asylum-seekers Support (LEDAS) - The charity’s purpose is to help individuals, who find themselves with no recourse to public funds, to avoid street-homelessness; ensuring that the people they help are treated with dignity and respect.
The grant of £819 will be used to purchase household appliances for use in two houses, providing emergency accommodation and will enable the residents to keep their clothes and their living environment clean and hygienic; sponsored by Loyalty Lodge No 4971.
Dr Gillian Tober, Chair of LEDAS wrote, ‘I would like to thank West Riding Masonic Charities for the very generous grant. I hope that your colleagues and families, have a safe and comfortable Christmas and New Year.’
In addition, and in conjunction with the South Yorkshire Lord Lieutenancy, a grant of £5,500 has been made to Whirlow Hall Farm Trust. This is a working farm and an educational trust, based in Sheffield, primarily to help youngsters make the most of their potential. The children they help struggle in mainstream education, have learning difficulties and suffer from anxieties. The aim is to support them and develop their emotional and social skills and life skills to avoid isolation.
Demand for their services has trebled in the past three years and there is a need to expand the facilities. The grant will go towards a new educational building and an increase in their commercial facilities. The project will cost £1m and should be opened in September 2021.
In 2019/20 the Masonic Charitable Association (MCF) gave £19M through 6,8882 grants to support the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our communities. In total, Freemasonry contributed a total of £42m to charitable causes during this year.
The MCF’s COVID-19 Community Fund has now awarded its first round of grants to charities that are supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged communities through the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
This first round focuses on organisations supporting people who are homeless or vulnerably housed, and has seen 30 charities awarded grants totalling £843,384.
Of these 30 charities, 15 are local Emmaus branches that offer homes for as long as a person needs, as well as meaningful work within their social enterprises.
An application by the Freemasons of Yorkshire, West Riding resulted in a grant of £30,000 being made to branches of Emmaus in Sheffield, Leeds and Bradford.
Helen Brandley, Trusts and Major Donors Manager at Emmaus said, “Emmaus would like to send a huge thank you to the Freemasons for their extremely generous support of £30,000 for Emmaus communities in the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding.
Emmaus communities in Leeds and Sheffield, provide accommodation, support and meaningful work to nearly 100 people, at any one time, who have experienced homelessness. The combination helps to rebuild lost self-esteem, provides routine and stability to work on issues and enable those who have experienced homelessness to positively move on in their lives.
Emmaus Bradford is in the process of developing a new community which aims to provide 15 new rooms.
Due to COVID-19, lockdown restrictions have meant that Emmaus social enterprise shops, which provide both income and employment training opportunities, had to close. The impact of this lost income meant that the communities could be at risk.
The valuable support from the Freemasons will help to ensure that current services are sustainable and able to continue to provide much needed support in the future. Any support to them at this stage will help to ensure the success of the project.
Graham Bostock of the Sheffield branch said, “We are over the moon. We hope to use the grant to enhance our eBay site and increase sales to assist in funding another seven rooms.”
Companions at Emmaus Sheffield are pictured showing their appreciation.
An Initiative set up in response to a national shortage of ‘scrubs’ earlier this year has come to an end. The ‘Harrogate Scrubbers’, a group of around 350 volunteers, most of whom have never met one another, have been making and delivering much needed ‘Scrubs’, ‘Scrub Bags’, ‘Hats’, ‘Headbands’, ‘Gowns’ and ‘Face Masks’ for medical practitioners in a variety of medical settings across the Harrogate & District.
Harrogate hospital received over 2,300 sets of scrubs which translated into three sets for every member of staff. Two local hospices; St. Michael’s, Harrogate and Martin House Hospice, Boston Spa, also received much-needed supplies, Comic character scrubs were specially commissioned for the staff at the children’s hospice, who were thoroughly delighted with them.
Jane Birkenshaw (pictured), wife of John, secretary of Harrogate & Claro Lodge No 1001 and Chair of the Area 3 Provincial Charity Committee, has been actively involved in the Harrogate Scrubbers, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
John was part of the Scrubbers Delivery Team; delivering materials and completed items, travelling throughout North & West Yorkshire, both in his car and on his motorbike during the pandemic.
As reported in June this year, the Harrogate Scrubbers received a grant of £2,500 from the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund and the same amount from the Masonic Charitable Foundation; together with several hundred pounds from a number of Harrogate & District Masonic Lodges.
The Masonic funding provided a substantial amount of the much-needed material to produce the personal protective equipment.
David S Pratt, Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding said at the time, “I’m absolutely delighted that we are able to support the Harrogate Scrubbers in this way. At the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, we set up a special COVID-19 relief fund to help organisations responding to the crisis in their own communities and the Harrogate Scrubbers is a shining example of this.”
Jane commented, “Many of the Harrogate Scrubbers had little or no knowledge of Freemasons, but soon realised what a generous bunch they really are. The generosity of Freemasons served to boost their image and standing within the community, as their kindness soon became the talk of the town.”
During the height of the Scrubs Initiative, a total of £30,000 was raised and utilised in the production of the PPE.
The Harrogate Scrubbers have now wound down their ‘Scrubs’ and ‘Face Masks’ Operations, but continue as a group dedicated to assisting worthy local charitable causes.
Jane went on to say “I was quite overwhelmed by the kindness of the Yorkshire, West Riding Freemasons and as a token of my esteem, independently of, but on behalf of the Harrogate Scrubbers, I decided to raise funds for West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd; to repay them for their kindness. I made a Limited Edition of 100 Masonic Face Masks, which sold very quickly and raised a total of £620.”
Life-saving emergency services charity, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) have welcomed two brand-new, hi-tech promotional fundraising vehicles to their fleet and Yorkshire Freemasons are proud to have pledged support for one of them.
The two Fiat Ducato vehicles have been specially designed and built to allow the YAA fundraising teams to take a state-of-the-art educational supporter experience out on the road and into communities.
Equipped with interactive technology, the vehicles feature a replica cockpit from their H145 helicopters, with screens showing aerial footage of the views the crews experience whilst flying in the air ambulance helicopters. Also featuring in the vehicles are screens for presentations and interviews with the crew, interactive iPads for an immersive user experience and a seating area where supporters can chat with YAA staff and volunteers.
The outside of the vehicles has been wrapped with distinctive YAA branding, meaning the vehicles are instantly recognisable. The support of Yorkshire Freemasons is visible for all to see.
Peter Sunderland, Chairman of the YAA commented: “These two new promotional vehicles mark a significant advancement in our educational and fundraising experiences, but have only been made possible due to the generous support from both B.Braun Medical and the Yorkshire Freemasons. We genuinely cannot express our thanks enough to them to make all this possible. The new vehicles will be key to our future community fundraising and educational activities. They will help us pave the way for a new immersive style of interacting with the public and our supporters, which we hope will engage both new and established supporters alike and will showcase our life-saving work across the Yorkshire region.”
West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd Chairman, Stuart Cadman, explained that they were providing the funds jointly with neighbouring province, Yorkshire North and East and said, “We are really pleased and delighted to be part of the YAA promotional vehicle project at a time when many charitable and community initiatives and fund-raising have been impacted by the effects of COVID-19. The YAA is at the very heart of our community as it continues to help save lives throughout Yorkshire and Yorkshire Freemasons, through the generosity of our members, are proud to be able to continue our support for this vital emergency service.”
Watch the YAA promotional video at https://vimeo.com/487219075/74632dec90
After an initial planned launch this summer, the project has been severely delayed due to the unimaginable impact COVID-19 has had on both the YAA and the nation as a whole. The charity are hoping that they will be able to start utilising the vehicles in local communities in Spring/Summer next year when the impact of COVID-19 starts to safely subside and are following national government guidance and advice.
The region’s Freemasons are long standing supporters of YAA having supported the rapid response charity since 2007. A £20,000 donation enabled the purchase of an additional pair of Night Vision Goggles in 2017, to enable the charity to fly later into the evenings and during hours of darkness.
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