The Spring Lunch, organised by the Ladies Gift Fund, took place on Sunday 8th April at the Kings Heath Masonic Hall.
A near capacity attendance of over 140 enjoyed a splendid three course lunch, following which cheques were presented to the Provincial Grand Masters for the three Provinces. The cheques for £3,000 each, were acknowledged by each in turn, but following a similar pattern. Worcestershire and Warwickshire are both already in Festival for the Masonic Charitable Foundation, with Staffordshire following this year. Each is due to complete in consecutive years – 2022 for Worcestershire, 2023 for Warwickshire & 2024 for Staffordshire.
Details of each Festival can be found on the Masonic Charitable Foundation website – this link will guide you to each Festival in turn. Festival appeals are a vital source of funding and generate the majority of donations made to the Foundation. During usually a five year appeal, fundraising events and activities take place that make a significant contribution to MCF income. The MCF are extremely grateful to everyone who supports them. The Festival also provides an opportunity to increase the awareness of the work the Foundation undertakes and the support it provides to Freemasons and their families, as well as many non-Masonic charities.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation will also receive a cheque for £1,000 directly from the Ladies Gift Fund.
On the day, £3,000 was raised from ticket sales and a mammoth well supported raffle.
Commenting on the event, Mrs Sandra Rouse, Chairman of the Ladies Gift Fund said, "Thanks to everyone in working together towards today’s event and giving your time and contributions for the charities we support. We should be pleased and proud that a good day has been enjoyed by all present, and that we have raised a substantial amount for Masonic Charities. I would also like to thank the many husbands who have helped to make today such a success."
Mrs Sandra Rouse, Chair of the Ladies Gift Fund, together with the three Provincial Grand Masters
L to R – John Lockley (Staffordshire), Bob Vaughan (Worcestershire) and David Macey (Warwickshire), receiving their cheques following the lunch.
The three Provincial Grand Masters all praised the efforts of the Ladies who had organised the event, for their continued enthusiasm on behalf of Masonic Charities, and for a thoroughly enjoyable day.
The Ladies Gift Fund Christmas Fayre, which with help from all concerned in the three Provinces will take place on Saturday 1st December at Linden House, Wolverhampton – notices will be issued in good time.
Read Easy UK is a volunteer organisation that recruits and trains volunteers to teach adults with low reading skills to read on a one-to-one basis. By helping people to tackle their reading difficulties, it is hoped that they will also grow in confidence and self-esteem, become more independent, move on to other forms of education and improve their employment opportunities.
Read Easy Solihull is an affiliated member of Read Easy UK, and is supported by literacy specialists both regionally and nationally. Established as a group in November 2016, Read Easy Solihull have just completed their first year, which has been very successful. They have a committee of 6 volunteers who work with a Co-ordinator who is responsible for recruiting coaches and arranging their training. The Co-ordinator also deals with reader referrals and with the support of a Literacy Specialist, pairs the readers with the trained coaches and regularly monitors their progress.
In their first year, the funding received enabled the group to train 10 coaches, and provide 9 readers with resources to start their reading journeys. At present, 7 coaches are actively paired with 8 readers all at various stages of progress. The grant of £2500 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation will enable the group to train further volunteers – it costs £50 to train a volunteer coach and approximately £140 to help one adult to learn to read. The aim is to have 18-20 coaches and readers paired in the first half of this year, and in the second half of the year, they anticipate taking on 10 more coaches and a second Co-ordinator to manage them with another 10 readers. A challenging aim but for this group, led by an enthusiastic Chair, committed Co-ordinator and Coaches and a supportive management committee, it is highly achievable with sufficient funding.
The Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association has added to the donation by the MCF, and it is understood that the Province of Worcestershire are also supporting the group.
The MCF certificate of funding was presented to Mrs Deborah Chard (Co-Ordinator) and Mrs Lynn Wilson (Chair) in the centre, receiving the certificate outside the Solihull Central Library from John Hayward, Charity Steward for the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire. The Library is where much of the tuition takes place.
A reading group is shown below receiving training in the Solihull Library in the centre of the town.
The Solihull group and the charity as a whole is finding there is a huge level of interest in the program offered throughout the West Midlands area. Interest has also been shown in Worcestershire and Staffordshire for a similar group development. Read Easy UK is a recently established charity which is finding a great deal of demand for its services in many areas of the UK. The group’s website is here which will also link to the Read Easy UK website.
On Saturday 24th March, the Birmingham Children’s Hospital completed a three year project to create a more welcoming and relaxing waiting & play area for the children attending the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Ophthalmology department. This has been a major development, which has been funded by supporters of the hospital raising £312,000 to transform the area.
The Hospital’s Eye Department is home to a team of specialists who see over 10,000 children and young people with various conditions each year, travelling from across the UK, as far as Devon and Scotland. The refurbishment will make a huge difference for over 500 children who visit the Eye Department every week for treatment. The Eye Department’s waiting area was very out-dated, hot and overcrowded. Little patients can become upset and agitated whilst they wait, which means they are less likely to cooperate with the doctors and nurses when they are examined.
The new waiting & play area is 50% larger, providing more comfortable seating, space to park buggies and an exciting new play area with interactive toys suitable for children with visual impairments. This will make a world of difference to children and their families during their visit to Birmingham Children’s Hospital Eye Department.
Many Warwickshire Lodges and the Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association have contributed to the funding of this splendid new area, which has similar sensory play equipment to the Children’s Hospices in Warwickshire, provided by Lifelites, which we also similarly support. A very worthwhile visit, and shows just what benefits can be achieved from our funding. More information on Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity available here.
Following on from the excitement of the Tercentenary celebrations, the Province of Warwickshire held another celebration to mark this year’s donations of £150,000 to 150 non-Masonic charities based or operating in Warwickshire. The larger sums have been distributed at a luncheon to which the major recipients were invited. In addition to those at the luncheon, over 100 further charities will have received sums ranging from £250 to £1000. An amount has been kept in reserve so that urgent requests during the year can be met. Trustees of the Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association evaluate the financial situation on an annual basis and allocate an amount depending on Lodge donations and investment income for the year. Donations are subsequently made to registered charities which operate primarily within the area covered by the Province of Warwickshire. The process is managed on behalf of the Trustees by W Bro John Hayward, the Provincial Grand Charity Steward assisted by W Bro John Harris, the Provincial Grand Almoner.
A full summary of the donations has been published on the Provincial website, and will be updated periodically as further donations are made. Donations are grouped by: Hospices, Hospitals, Rescue Services and Air Ambulances; Aged, Children & Youth; Community; Religious; Medical Welfare; Disabled; Sports & Recreation; Armed & Ex-Services; Hearing & Visual Impairments; Medical Research. These are the categories recommended by the Charity Commission.
Nominations for future donations to registered Warwickshire charities should be forwarded to John Hayward in the Charity Office at the Yenton Assembly Rooms.
Pictured are representatives from some of the larger recipient charities, who received their cheques at the lunch, hosted by the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David Macey, at the Tally Ho Conference Centre. After congratulating the representatives of the charities present, the Provincial Grand Master thanked all concerned with the organization and administration surrounding both the event and the donations. The Provincial Grand Master continued to explain the publicity recently surrounding Masonry, and mentioned the “Enough is Enough” initiative which had been triggered by the United Grand Lodge of England, following various derogatory and inaccurate press releases. The PGM has already been interviewed by a number of local radio stations to explain the current stance, and he asked all of the charities present to do all they could to help publicise the good that Freemasonry does throughout the country.
Mr Richard Green, representing St Mary’s Hospice, thanked the Province of Warwickshire for their tremendous support, on behalf of all the charity representatives.
Ms Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of the Lifelites Charity, also thanked the organization for their generosity, and presented the Provincial Grand Master with a framed certificate in thanks for the assistance given to Lifelites, and officially recognizing their role as a 2018 Sponsor of Lifelites.
The opportunity was also taken to present certificates from the Masonic Charitable Association, for donations which had already been received directly by the Children’s Hospices within the Province of Warwickshire. The certificates were presented at the invitation of the Provincial Grand Master by W Bro Chris Grove, who is a member of the Masonic Charitable Foundation’s Masonic Support Committee. All of the recipients at the luncheon are shown below with the representatives of the hospices with their certificates. The Hospice donations for a total amount of £450,000, being the annual donation by the Masonic Charitable Foundation grants to Children’s Hospices across the country.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire
Yenton Assembly Rooms
73, Gravelly Hill North, Erdington
Birmingham B23 6BJ
For Masonic enquiries:
Tel: 0121 454 4422