Freemasonry is not a Charity Organisation (as Rotary is) but it does charitable work and gives a great deal to Charity within Freemasonry and generally in the public domain.
We say that Charity begins at home, and that’s exactly what happened when the charitable side of Masonry began in the eighteenth century. It began with schools to educate the children of needy masons. It supported and housed distressed masons and their dependents and of course it set up a hospital. All of these filled gaps in society’s pattern of care.
Our idea of Charity has developed. Our care for our own people and their dependants goes from strength to strength, but alongside it is the growing recognition that, because we are part of society, we share the duty of all citizens to care for others and this has become a much bigger part of Masonic charity for which we should all be rightly very proud.
Lodge members can contribute to charitable giving by making donations on a monthly, yearly or one-off basis. It depends entirely upon personal circumstances, there is no requirement to give, it is purely personal choice.
The money donated is sent to the Province (in our case, Yorkshire West Riding) and is then given out in grants (both large and small by the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund) to worthy charities and voluntary organisations within our Provincial area.
Charity and Freemasonry
The information below illustrates some recent grants given out. This includes one from St John’s Lodge for the
Kirklees Visual Impairment Network
Provincial Grand Master’s Fund
Covid-19 Emergency Grants update – 15 August, 2020
The Provincial Grand Master’s Fund continues to support local organisations during the Pandemic and below are details of the latest grants.
The Athersley Community Association and Football Club - based at Shearien Park, on Ollerton Road, it has two full-size football pitches and five junior football pitches. The grant will assist in the purchase of a portable set of aluminium goals. (£3.020);
sponsored by Friendly Lodge No 1513.
Kirklees Visual Impairment Network – providing support to anyone struggling with their eyesight, the Network have drop-in centres in Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Batley. The grant will purchase IT and office equipment, to help expand their services. (£2,000);
sponsored by St John’s Lodge No 827.
Weston Park Cancer Charity – caring for cancer patients and their families, the grant will help create CDs and Information cards which provide crucial information for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
sponsored by Friendly Lodge No 1513.
TSX Martial Arts, Bradford – running from venues in Thornton and Wrose, the grant is to buy equipment for use in new premises, to provide increased and better training in Taekwondo and anti-bullying courses for young persons and schools. (£1,800);
sponsored by Lodge of Connaught and Truth No 521.
Halifax Sailing Club – situated on 90 acres of water above Calderdale, the Club provide dinghy racing, social sailing, windsurfing, training courses, canoeing and kayaking. The grant will be used to purchase safety and associated equipment, including buoyancy aids, waterproofs, helmets and training literature.
sponsored by Concord Lodge No 4126.
Reach Performing Arts Academy – aiming to develop articulation and communication, whilst encouraging creativity and imagination in the young people of Huddersfield, the grant will fund the cost of uniforms / branded clothing for young members
sponsored by Lodge of Connaught and Truth No 521.
Autism Angels – based just outside Harrogate, in the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, the charity works with parents and professionals to improve the lives of children. The grant will be used to provide a covered area with two secure containers for safe keeping of valuable equine equipment.
sponsored by Harrogate & Claro Lodge No 1001.
Little Crèche – a small self-funding community crèche, the grant will purchase a uniform range of polo shirts, hoodies and coats for staff and volunteers.
sponsored by Faith, Hope & Charity Lodge No 4102.
The Partially Sighted Society – based in Doncaster, the Society will use the grant to purchase lanyards which state, ‘Visually impaired – I cannot see to socially distance’ and ‘I am medically exempt from wearing a mask’; a necessity for people with visual impairment during the pandemic.
sponsored by St Nicholas Lodge No 2259.
Wentworth & Thorpe Hesley Youth Theatre – a South Yorkshire ‘producing’ company, creating original musicals and plays for performance in community venues. The grant will be used to buy a wireless talk-back system and wireless systems for performers.
sponsored by Britannia Lodge No 139.
In addition to these grants, possible only by the generosity of Freemasons and their families, in the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, further grants of £1,000 have been made from the Covid-19 Fund of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) to The Exodus Project, Barnsley and the Doncaster-based charity, Respect my Stuff. Leeds-based charity For Mobility Disability has received £1,000 from MCF Matched Funding.
WRMCL - PGM’s Fund Major Grants - August 2020
The Provincial Grand Master’s Fund has made major grants, totalling £61,700, to three community organisations, where it is hoped there will be the biggest impact in terms of community benefit:
The Friends of Beaumont Park – a voluntary group actively working with Kirklees Metropolitan Council to regenerate the park in Huddersfield and restore it to its former glory. The grant will be used to provide specialist play equipment for children with disabilities. (£24,700); sponsored by Colne Valley Lodge No 1645.
Otley Old People's Welfare Committee – to refurbish and update the welfare centre on Crossgate, making it user-friendly, particularly for the disabled; to include a new kitchen, new toilets and office. (£20,000);
sponsored by Royal Wharfedale Lodge No 1108.
Ladybower Fisheries – a charity providing therapeutic benefits of fishing and enjoyment on open water to underprivileged and disabled people. The grant will go towards buying a large wheelyboat, able to accommodate eight disabled people in wheelchairs.(£17,000).
sponsored by Hallamshire Lodge No 2268.
Dewsbury’s St John’s Lodge No 827 has recently been involved in three significant Charity projects to help bring seasonal Cheer to local people.
1. The Soroptimist International Club of Dewsbury and District had an idea to create some Christmas Care/Comfort Packs for the Ladies staying at the Dewsbury Women’s Refuge. St John’s Lodge was approached to invite its wished to become partners in the activity. Our Charity Steward, Keith Shaw, arranged for a donation of £100 from the Lodge Charity Fund to enable the Ladies to purchase the items required. Two of the Soroptimist Club Ladies, Linda Davis and Pat Thornes, created the packs and delivered them to the Refuge on Monday 21December 2020. They also took some chocolates for the Staff of the Refuge – every item was gratefully received by the Ladies and the Refuge Staff.
2. St John’s Lodge donated £200 from its Charity Account towards an idea from one of its members, Bro Ryan Bamforth, to donate Chocolates and sweets to a number of local care homes for the residents to enjoy over the festive period. We are happy to, hopefully, have brought a smile to the residents of these homes in what has been a difficult year for them.
Ryan, who has previously worked in the Care Home sector, purchased the items and delivered them to Avery Mews Heckmondwike, Dewsbury’s Ashworth Grange along with Linson Court and Lydgate Lodge, both in Batley.
3. St John’s Lodge donated a further £200 from its Charity Account towards a cause brought to our attention by Bro Robert Bachelor –a member of Zetland Lodge No 603 based at Heckmondwike. He is contacting the Charity Stewards of all the Lodges within the Dewsbury and Spen Valley IMA regarding fundraising for a collective charitable donation.The charitable cause involves a young individual, and therefore does not fall within the remit of a major or minor grant from the PGM's Fund; it is, however, of a sum that is, realistically, beyond the means of charitable accounts of most Lodges. Therefore, he reasoned that, in order to make a meaningful donation, perhaps the support of several Lodges would be required. He contacted fist the IMA who were able to provide some initial guidance, and from there it was picked up by W Bros Keith Shaw and John Davis of St John’s Lodge, who have so far greatly supported his efforts. To the matter at hand, Bro Bachelor works within a local NHS Community Healthcare provider in Kirklees and is sadly, well placed to come into contact with many instances in which our fraternal support would be warranted. Recently, however, he has been approached by a Specialist Children’s Physiotherapist regarding a young teenager in Liversedge who has a condition called Bethlem Myopathy and would appear to be particularly in need of support, as would her family, for whom the respite it would provide would be something of a lifeline. The Physiotherapist and her team are facilitating the fundraising for a specialist piece of equipment for this disabled young lady that would greatly ease her troubles by allowing her to climb stairs.
Primarily, the Stair Climber is needed in order for the young lady to access her Grandparents’ home who both assist with providing a great deal of care for her as well as respite for the rest of the family. NHS support for adjustments of this kind only extends to ‘primary’ residences, and not necessarily to equipment of this nature. There is no possibility of help being available to facilitate access for the young lady who, due to her condition, has lost mobility as she has grown up and has, ultimately, become wheelchair bound, no longer being capable of scaling the steps to her grandparents. Obviously, the secondary benefit of such a Climber will be that she is enabled to access any building going forward that requires her to scale stairs.
The Physiotherapist has indicated they are currently looking at applications to: Yorkshire Children’s Trust, Buttercup Trust, Hospital Saturday Fund, Variety, New Life, Lifeline4Kids, Family Fund and the Children Today Charitable Trust. We understand that an application to Independent at Home has recently been successful in achieving the sum of £500. However, the total cost of the equipment needed, together with the bespoke accessories she requires, as well as ongoing maintenance of the Climber will be at a total cost of £6,700 .
He has donations from five Lodges thus far, most matching the £200 donation already approved by St John’s No 827 and he continues to progress this activity, hopefully towards achieving a complete and successful conclusion to this significant project.