MCF donates £10,000 to The Felix Project
The Masonic Charitable Foundation have provided a grant of £10,000 from the nationwide COVID-19 response initiative to The Felix Project. The COVID-19 outbreak is hitting the poorest, hardest. The Felix Project has never seen such a high demand for food. In order to respond to this crisis, they have expanding their operations so that they can reach as many people as possible who are vulnerable and in need of food.
Compassion London is one of the charities supplied by The Felix Project and receives food donations some of which are used to provide fresh meals for families in the Watford area, which has been arranged by TudorFood, a volunteer group from The Tudor Lodge in Watford.
The Felix Project rescues good, surplus food from the food industry that cannot be sold and would otherwise go to waste. This is high-quality and nutritious, including a high proportion of fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods, salads, meat and fish. They collect or receive food from over 170 suppliers, including supermarkets, wholesalers, farms, restaurants and deli's.
The food is sorted and then delivered to over 350 front-line charities, primary schools and holiday programmes in London and during the COVID-19 epidemic food has also been provided to frontline NHS and key workers. That way, food that would have gone to waste is reaching people who have lost their jobs, people on low incomes, children and families who are struggling, people who are sick, key workers struggling to find food, older people who are isolated, people who are homeless, survivors of domestic abuse, and refugees. Mark Curtin, CEO of The Felix Project told us: “People in our city go hungry every day, while good surplus food goes to waste. This £10,000 donation from the Freemasons rescues enough surplus food for the equivalent of 55,000 meals for people in need.
Three major grants by the MCF make a real difference for thousands
Three major grants awarded by the MCF, the Freemasons’ charity, have helped to improve the lives of thousands of people affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Age UK, Mind and Buttle UK have each been awarded a grant of £250,000 to support their work following a huge surge in demand for their services.
The grant to Age UK will support the national Information & Advice line as well as the telephone friendship services that are needed more than ever to help tackle loneliness and offer vital assistance to older people. The grant has also supported Age UK’s network of more than 130 local Age UK charities across the country, which continue to be stretched to their limits providing essential food and medicine deliveries, as well as running befriending support for older people living in their communities.
Covid-19 has had a significant effect on the nation’s mental health and demand for services provided by the charity Mind has been unprecedented during the pandemic. More than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said that their mental health has become worse during the period of lockdown restrictions. Social distancing means that vital services usually conducted face-to-face by local Mind groups, such as counselling, cannot be delivered. More than a million people have accessed its online information on coronavirus and mental health, and there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking support through their online community since the crisis began.
Buttle UK is a national children’s charity that provides financial assistance, in the form of Chances for Children grants, directly to struggling families across the UK. Covid-19 has increased the challenges that many families with young children are facing, in particular the ‘digital divide’ in the UK and the impact that not having IT equipment and internet access at home is having on many children’s education. The MCF grant has enabled children to continue learning from home by providing computers and internet access. Buttle UK is also providing books, toys, games and arts and craft materials to keep children busy and happy during the summer holiday.
These three major grants are in addition to nearly 400 grants totalling a further £800,000 awarded to support local charities and projects across England and Wales in direct response to the Covid-19 crisis.
After five years of intense fundraising, the Province of Hertfordshire has completed its Festival in support of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (now part of the Masonic Charitable Foundation).
At the Festival Celebration Dinner, held at Guildhall in London on 6th July, the Chief Operating Officer of the MCF, Les Hutchinson, was delighted to announce that the grand total raised was £3,632,368. He thanked all the Lodges and individual members who worked so hard to raise such an incredible amount and assured them that the money raised would make a huge difference to the lives of young people around the country.
Brethren might also like to know that the Festival Jewel can be worn until the end of the year (31st December 2019) and the Provincial Grand Charity Steward asks that you continue to wear it with pride in recognition of the generosity and support that allowed the Provincial Grand Masters 2019 Festival target to be exceeded by 21%.
The Grand Master has also approved the 2019 Festival Jewel to be permanent allowing it to be worn until the start of the new 2030 Festival which will be launched in January 2025.
W.Bro Jay Patel, APGM, and W.Bro Chris Noble, ProvGCS, recently visited North Weald Airfield where the two Essex and Herts Air Ambulance aircraft are stationed. This followed a recent MCF grant made to the Essex and Hertfordshire Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) on behalf of Hertfordshire Provincial Grand Lodge.
They were shown around the station by Jane Gurney, CEO, and Natasha Robertson, fundraising manager, who explained about the work done by the staff and volunteers. "Understandably they are very proud of the new £6.5m state-of-the-art second aircraft which predominantly serves the Herts area," said Chris Noble. "They reminded us that the 27 Air Ambulance Trusts receive no Government funding and rely solely on public donations. They told us that without the support of Freemasons the service would suffer considerably."
The pilot showed them inside the helicopter and explained that the onboard computers could manage a perfect hover, in windy conditions, above an incident site, and advised that the four rotor blades alone cost £1.5m to replace. Unbelievably the Trust has had to recently invest in 'stab vets' at £400 each due to a rising incidence of verbal and physical abuse on the crews. Doctors and paramedics work on a three-year secondment from their hospital.
The EHAAT team has offered any interested Herts Lodge a brief presentation at a future Lodge meeting. Lodges should contact W.Bro Chris Noble via the Provincial Office for details.
Small charities will now be able to apply for multi-year grants to cover basic running expenses and other core funding costs, following a major policy shift at the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) – one of the largest grant-making charities in the country.
Until recently, the MCF, in common with many other charitable foundations, has tended to concentrate on project-based funding, which generally provides more measurable results. The MCF also gives one-off unrestricted grants of up to £5,000 to small charities for general charitable purposes. However, having identified the growing issue of smaller charities facing difficulties due to lack of core funding, the MCF has bucked the trend amongst similar grant-giving bodies to address the issue and has expanded its current programme of non-ring-fenced grants. The new grants are available to charities with an income of no more than £500,000 a year, often much less, and will be for a maximum of £5,000 per year over three years. The first round of these extended unrestricted core funding grants has just been announced for 22 small charities. It is hoped that these multi-year unrestricted funding grants will help sustain charities, enabling them to deliver services to those most in need. The MCF aims to monitor and evaluate these grants, and hopes to share any learning within the sector regarding the effectiveness of this grant-giving.
Funded by freemasons, their families and friends, the Masonic Charitable Foundation is the national freemasons’ charity. In 2017, the MCF provided grants of more than £5.6 million to 770 national, regional and local charities across England and Wales.
David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, said: 'There are many small charities that struggle with basic running costs. Project-based funding is fine, but if they can’t pay the electricity bill or put petrol in the car, delivering services to clients can be difficult if not impossible. 'Many charities cease their vital activities because this kind of funding is not available. This is why the MCF’s new core funding initiative, on behalf of the Freemasons of England and Wales, is so important.'
The Masonic Charitable Foundation has donated £15,000 to Plan International UK to support survivors of three major earthquakes in the Philippines.
Destruction to homes, schools and infrastructure:
Massive damage on the southern island of Mindanao has seen an estimated 188,000 people affected by damaged and destroyed infrastructure. Roads have been blocked by landslides and water and sewage systems have been destroyed, leading to a serious risk of disease.
Nearly 1,500 schools have been damaged or destroyed, along with an estimated 28,000 houses. Rescue workers are reporting that 31,465 people have been displaced, with 24,000 in emergency evacuation centres.
The £15,000 grant will help Plan International UK to provide more than 4,000 water kits, including a jerry can and water treatment chemicals. The provision of clean water is essential in the prevention of cholera and other diseases which can be life-threatening, especially to young children.
Rafael Garcia Velasquez, Acting Director of International Policy and Programmes at Plan International UK, said "We’re hugely grateful for this generous contribution to Plan International’s disaster response to the Philippines earthquakes. The provision of clean water is an absolute essential in the aftermath of a disaster like this and will help to protect thousands of people."
South Yorkshire Community Foundation’s Emergency Flood Disaster Relief Appeal
Freemasons have donated £15,000 to help people in South Yorkshire affected by the recent floods. £15,000 is being donated to South Yorkshire Community Foundation’s Emergency Flood Disaster Relief Appeal – £10,000 by the Masonic Charitable Foundation and £5,000 by the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding.
The appeal will support families and local people who have been displaced from their homes and had their property damaged by severe flood waters. About 400 homes have been flooded in the North, and 1,200 properties have been evacuated, according to the Environment Agency. Dozens of flood warnings are in place across the county and further heavy rain is forecast.
Local freemasons volunteer
Additionally, local Freemasons are being asked to assist anyone in distress caused by the floods. In the past, Masonic Halls have opened their doors to provide temporary shelter and a hot meal, and now are preparing to do the same.