Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire

Eye Believe Succeeds - with our help

Eye Believe

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.

BCHThe 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.

JBH

 

Charity in Action – a True Story! Schools for Gambia - In association with St Phillips Lodge No 5580

Schools for Gambia is a small charity, which over the past twenty five years has built 21 schools and provided educational resources to many more. The charity relies mainly upon donations from community groups, with a major donor being the staff, parents and children of Clifton Primary School in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. The Chair of Governors also happens to be the wife of a member of St Philips Lodge, 5580 and she was given an opportunity to describe the work of the charity at a Lodge social gathering.

As a result, members of St Philip’s Lodge and the Warwickshire Installed Master Lodge 2016 Ladies Festival generously undertook additional fundraising activities which led to Schools for Gambia receiving support, as well as our own Masonic Charities.

In November, 2017 St Philip’s Lodge heard about what had been able to be provided through Masonic generosity. KristiKunda Lower Basic School is situated in an isolated village in The Gambia. When it was built by Schools for Gambia three years ago, it was the first time since the Missionary Station closed some 50 years ago, that children were able to attend school. Through masonic generosity, children now also have age appropriate educational resources.

A classroomPupils at KristiKunda with books provided by
contributions from Masonic charity collections

Such is the success of the school, that the Alkala (the village chief), has identified that additional classrooms are needed!

Whilst on a support visit early in 2017, the head teacher raised a specific concern with Schools for Gambia . A 12 year old boy had recently become a pupil. He had never been to school before, as he was expected to become a nomadic herdsman, like his father. Some 2 ½ years ago he had had an accident playing football. The nearest hospital was a half-day travel away and by the time he arrived, it was too late to save his leg. After an above knee amputation, a temporary artificial leg was fitted before he was discharged. Since then, his parents had not been able to afford for him to have a more appropriate artificial leg. And he had grown! His ‘temporary’ leg was now much too short. The boy, Essa, walked some 3 kilometres to school every day – he had never been late, but the stress of walking with such an inappropriate leg, meant that he was sobbing with back pain by the time he arrived at school. Could Schools for Gambia fund a bicycle for him?

The head teacher of Clifton Primary School donated the funds for the bicycle, but the real problem was that Essa needed an appropriate artificial leg.

Fortunately, St Philip’s Lodge had organised a ‘Ladies to Dine’ Christmas lunch. W Bro Michael Fry made a special charity request – and this, together with support from other local community groups, meant that within a month, sufficient funding had been obtained for Essa to have his new leg.

Last week, Essa and his parents made the two days journey to the Royal Victoria Hospital, Banjul – where there is the only prosthetic facility in the Gambia. Two days of extensive training has enabled him to throw away his crutches and walk unaided on his new leg. And he is delighted that he now has a new pair of trainers!



Schools in Gambia School in Gambia

New Trousers

Essa, in November 2017 was a withdrawn, depressed boy. There was no eye contact - he looked at the floor, not at people.

Essa in February 2018 was a sparkling boy, with a beaming smile and happy to hang on to your hand. It was inspirational to see him throw away his crutch and walk tall on his new leg. He is also rapidly acquiring English – ‘It is good’; ‘new leg, new leg; ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’.

Truly, a wonderful example of masonic benevolence in action!

Michael Fry
WM 5580

 

£150,000 donated to charities throughout the province of Warwickshire

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.

Charity Dinner

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.

WMCF Presentation

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.

Lifelites

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.

Warwickshire Freemasons Support Guy’s Gift

Guy's Gift

Support for bereaved children, young people and their families in Warwickshire

Jackie and Stuart Potter, Founders of Guy’s Gift said a big thank you to the Freemasons of The Lodge of Unity No 567, who are based at Alderson House, High Street Warwick, for their generous donation of £4,625.

Guy’s Gift delivers bereavement support for children and young people throughout Warwickshire. Their early intervention service is open to 5 to 18 year olds and tackles a range of emotional concerns, preventing them from escalating and also helping individuals to achieve their potential and continue their lives in a meaningful way.

Since they started of their work, in 2009, they have gone from being a pilot scheme, to a fully fledged bereavement service, helping hundreds of children and young people across the county. They take the approach that by helping the child, they are helping the family as a whole.

Their small, professional team of 5 includes 3 counsellors, who are helped by more than 20 trained volunteers. They draw on a range of specialist skills to provide support options to help children, young people and their families.

They have a telephone helpline that is available to parents, carers and other professionals, such as teaching staff, who may come into contact with bereaved children and young people through their work. Anyone is welcome to call the helpline, either for advice or to refer a child to us for support.

They can be contacted on 0845 467 3035

Cheque presentation

Pictured above are – Founders of Guy's Gift, Stuart Potter and Jackie Potter, Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Unity, W Bro Seb Samperi,  Mrs Kerry Samperi, Service Manager at Guy's Gift, Lisbeth Bakewell and Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Peter Manning.

Masonic Charitable Foundation – Impact Report

Impact Report

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) has produced an Impact Report, summarising what has been achieved since the formation of the charity in April 2016. The report highlights what has been done, and also plans for the future, and may be accessed here.

JBH

Contact Us

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire
Yenton Assembly Rooms
73, Gravelly Hill North, Erdington
Birmingham B23 6BJ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WarwickshirePGL

For Masonic enquiries:
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Tel: 0121 454 4422

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body for freemasons within England and Wales and districts overseas.