Warwickshire Freemasons supporting the homeless in Rugby
As part of a national programme to help deal with the impact of Covid, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) has made several grants to charities which support the homeless. Having gained the support of the previous Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro David Macey and the newly appointed Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Philip Hall for the application we are delighted that the Trustees of the MCF have made a grant of £20,000 to Hope 4 Rugby.
In 2005, a small group from local churches formed a focus group looking at addressing homelessness in Rugby. For a short period over Christmas 2005 they opened a venue providing free refreshments for homeless people, called Hope4U. This lead to the Hope4U ‘soup kitchen’ run from St Andrew’s church porch three evenings a week manned by volunteers. The charity, Hope4, was born from this with the growing realisation that the trustees needed to find space for a Day Centre.
February 2010 saw the opening of the first Hope Centre – a rented space above a shop in Church Street. Initially open three days a week the need rapidly grew to it being open every day, and the first part-time member of staff was employed. Food, showers, clothing, help with benefits and accommodation but foremost a very warm welcome from staff and volunteers were at the heart of the Centre. These modest beginnings have led to over 5,000 people helped in the last year and demand continues to grow, with the chairity also running the local Trussell Trust Foodbank.
Freemasons from Warwickshire have contributed to the grant that comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
The Charity’s Treasurer, W Bro Andrew Armbrister, Past Master of Holy Well Lodge No 9437, commented "Over the past three years we have been fortunate to receive significant funding from the The Communities Lottery Fund. This is due to run down next year and the MCF’s grant will replace some of that funding paying for one Key Worker. Our Key Workers support Homeless clients, helping them to resolve what are often complex problems and making them ‘tenancy ready’. Once in long term accommodation, we continue our support helping them to maintain their tenancy".
Charity Chair, Diana Mansell commented, "We have been so grateful to Rugby Lodges who have been generous in the past; this grant from the MCF is simply fantastic when we are seeing more new clients every week".
The Head of the Warwickshire Freemasons, Philip Hall said, “I’m very pleased that the Freemasons of Warwickshire have been able to help Hope4 to continue their work with the homeless in Rugby. The unprecedented number of people dealing with homelessness or food poverty in Rugby means that the work of Hope4 is a vital lifeline in the community, which we are proud to support”
There are many different ways in which members of the community can support Hope 4 - you can find out more at https://www.hope4.org.uk/support-us/