300 years, 300 charities receive £3,000,000

The Masonic Charitable Foundation‏ (MCF) team announced the 300 charities that are being awarded grants totalling £3,000,000 to mark the forming of the World’s first Grand Lodge at the Goose and Gridiron alehouse in St Paul’s Churchyard on 24 June 1717.

Representatives of the charities in West Lancashire that received a grant met Derek Parkinson and Mark Matthews (both of whom are Provincial Representative Members on the MCF), along with Kevin Poynton and seven of the brethren who nominated the charities for the Community Grants Scheme, to receive their certificates.

The meeting started with a welcome and introductions from Mark, followed by Derek who gave a short talk about the history and work the MCF carries out.

Mark Matthews is pictured welcoming the representatives from the eight charities.

Mark Matthews is pictured welcoming the representatives from the eight charities.

Kevin Poynton then gave a talk on the history of Freemasonry, the Province of West Lancashire and the way lodge’s work and the great social activities that members, their wives partners and friends enjoy. (Kevin was interviewed on www.coast1079.com by Mike Swift about the MCF Grants – to listen to the interview CLICK HERE.

Mark then invited the representatives from each charity to give a short talk on the work they do.

The League of Welldoers received £4,000 from the MCF.

Pictured from left to right are: Mark Matthews, Mike Leggett, Tony Boase and Derek Parkinson.

Pictured from left to right are: Mark Matthews, Mike Leggett, Tony Boase and Derek Parkinson.

Mike Leggett and Tony Boase from the League of Welldoers spoke about their work which started  in 1893 in an empty cotton warehouse, the League of Welldoers (or Liverpool Food Association as it was known at first) was set up initially to provide school meals to starving children throughout Liverpool, Everton and Bootle.

Meals were also delivered by a team of female volunteers to the bedridden at a time when no work meant no money and no money meant starvation.

From the very beginning people nicknamed the organisation ‘The Lee Jones’ after the founder Herbert Lee Jackson Jones who was born in Runcorn in May 1868; even today, the nickname is more widely used.

In 1948 the introduction of the Welfare State in Britain meant that families could receive financial support from the government to help them through the bad times; and so the services the League had provided for more than half a century evolved and continued to grow over the years.

The organisation is still on the same site, in Limekiln Lane (sandwiched between Scotland Road and Vauxhall Road) and is very proud of what it can offer to the many people who pass through its doors on a daily basis including: a pensioners club which meets every weekday, daily lunches (Monday to Friday) all cooked on the premises, a boxing club, weekly ukulele class, weekly line dancing classes, weekly chair exercises, weekly ‘down memory lane’ and weekly shopping trips,

Bingo and a councillors surgery on the first Tuesday of the month.

There is also a charity shop on the premises along with meeting rooms for groups of all sizes with catering available. There is off road parking for 30 cars.

Mike Leggett said: “The League of Welldoers receives no funding from either local council or central government for its core services and relies almost entirely on the generosity of individuals and its own fund-raising activities to make ends meet. I am so pleased to say a big thank you to the MCF for their grant of £4,000. Since 1902 fundraising concerts have been held at different theatres throughout Liverpool and since the mid-1950s these have been held almost entirely at the fabulous Philharmonic Hall so please come along to one”.

Salford Women’s Aid (SIDASS) received £4,000 from the MCF.

Pictured from left to right are: Derek Parkinson, Dawn Redshaw, Justine Edwards and Mark Matthews.

Pictured from left to right are: Derek Parkinson, Dawn Redshaw, Justine Edwards and Mark Matthews.

Dawn Redshaw and Justine Evans spoke about Salford Women’s Aid which was established  in 1974. Since 2004 SIDASS has provided independent advocacy and specialised support to victims.

The team offer advice and support on safety planning, crisis work, civil and criminal remedies, housing advice, finances, health issues and work with families to improve issues around child protection where domestic abuse is a prevalent factor. The victim is supported by a qualified Independent Domestic Abuse Advocate through a safety and support plan to improve their safety and encourage the best possible outcomes from other statutory and voluntary agencies.

The project was developed in 2006 by Salford City Council’s Community Safety Unit and Salford Women’s Aid working together in partnership. To date, SIDASS has supported more than 3,837 victims of domestic abuse and work over the short to medium-term, to put victims on the path to long-term safety.

SIDASS  operates two refuges housing up to 14 families. It also provides 12 week self esteem and confidence building courses, all their staff are accredited trainers.

SIDASS links into the council’s sanctuary scheme which provides security equipment to homes to enable victims to feel safe and to stay in their own home. The team provide a helpline service to all victims of domestic abuse in Salford and deliver the Positive You Programme to support families in moving on from their experiences of domestic abuse.

SIDASS offers support to all victims of domestic abuse regardless of gender and sexual orientation.

Dawn Redshaw said “I would like to say a big thank you to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for their very generous grant of £4,000”.

Headway Blackpool Wyre and Fylde received £4,000 from the MCF.

Pictured from left to right are: Mark Matthews, Jonathon Young and Derek Parkinson.

Pictured from left to right are: Mark Matthews, Jonathon Young and Derek Parkinson.

Jonathon Young said the charity is operated by directors Jonathan Young and Katherine Smith, as well as committee members Alan and Ruth Curtis and Naomi Saul. The founders, Ian and Karen Kendrick have been appointed as charity patrons this year.

Headway BWF is affiliated to Headway UK and is registered with the Charities Commission as well as Companies House. They have been running now for six years.

They currently operate from central Blackpool where they run weekly meeting events for their members where they can meet people with similar ongoing issues and gain valuable social interaction, however the Trustees are ambitious and committed to expanding our locations to Fleetwood and Lytham and hence increasing the membership, furthermore they want to engage the services of Occupational Therapists, Neuropsychologists and Benefits advisers to provide further support to members.

The Charity employs Samantha Ashcroft as Member Support Officer to support the members on the ground. This involves organising the activities in our drop-in sessions, arranging trips out, and taking enquiries on the helpline phone.

To do all of this requires considerable resource in terms of funding and volunteers, Headway BWF is a charity and facility for local people from St Annes to Fleetwood.

Jonathan Young said: “I would like to say how thankful and grateful we are to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for the very generous grant of £4,000 given to Headway Blackpool Wyre and Fylde”.

Sefton Women’s and Children’s Aid (SWACA) received £6,000 from the MCF.

Pictured from left to right are: Mark Matthews, Neil Frackelton and Derek Parkinson.

Pictured from left to right are: Mark Matthews, Neil Frackelton and Derek Parkinson.

Neil Frackelton explained that SWACA provides emotional and practical support to women, children and young people, living in the borough of Sefton, Merseyside, experiencing / affected by domestic abuse.

As a service, they experience significant demand for support and receive referrals from a wide diversity of sources, including social workers, Merseyside Police and self-referrals. SWACA’s services are accessible to all women, children and young people affected by domestic abuse, provided in a non-judgemental and person-centred manner, and SWACA works closely with a wide range of partners.  SWACA is also a full member of the Sefton Local Safeguarding Children’s Board and the Sefton Safer Communities Partnership.

SWACA’s staff provide a range of support services to children and young people, delivered within a clear safeguarding-related framework, including: A supportive and confidential listening ear, engagement in a safe place, for example a school, age-appropriate support with developing healthy relationships (to prevent the cycle of abuse repeating), age-appropriate support with increasing personal safety, building emotional resilience – (for example, managing anger as a result of witnessing domestic abuse), developing self-esteem and enhancing support networks (friends / family / school staff etc.).

Neil concluded his talk saying: ”The MCF generously awarded SWACA £6,000 towards our Children’s Services. The grant will make a significant difference to our capacity in supporting children and young people who have been affected by domestic abuse within their homes”.

Survivors of Bereavement (SOBS) Bolton / Leigh received £15,000 from the MCF.

Pictured from left to right are: Derek Parkinson, Maria Smith, Noel Taylor, Janet Taylor and Mark Matthews.

Pictured from left to right are: Derek Parkinson, Maria Smith, Noel Taylor, Janet Taylor and Mark Matthews.

Janet Taylor and Maria Smith said Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide exist to meet the needs and break the isolation experienced by those bereaved by suicide.  They are a self-help organisation and they aim to provide a safe, confidential environment in which bereaved people can share their experiences and feelings, so giving and gaining support from each other.

SOBS also strive to improve public awareness and maintain contacts with many other statutory and voluntary organisations.

SOBS offer a unique and distinct service for bereaved adults across the UK, run by the bereaved for the bereaved.  They currently help around 7,000 people each year and are continuing to grow in response to significant unmet demand.

SOBS supports those left behind after a loved one takes their own life. We welcome family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, etc, if suicide has affected you they are there to support you.

Janet said: “When we lost our son in March 2000 we found it very hard to find the support we needed, in September 2000 we heard about SOBS, with their support we were strong enough to open the SOBS Bolton Group in August 2001. Over the years we have supported 100’s of survivors, some attend for a short while and others still attend after many years. We see people at their lowest when they first attend and it is very rewarding seeing them moving forward towards a new kind of normal. I can’t thank the MCF enough for their grant of £15,000 it will help so much.

Sefton Childrens Trust (SCT) received £6,000 from the MCF.

Pictured from left to right are: Phil Morgan, Sue O'Toole, Anona Kelly and Kevin Poynton.

Pictured from left to right are: Phil Morgan, Sue O’Toole, Anona Kelly and Kevin Poynton.

Anona Kelly said that Sefton Childrens Trust aims to provide a three year programme of events and activities for families experiencing difficulties, focusing on families with young people aged eight to 11 years who in the main reside in Sefton.

These young people may be young carers, living in families who are experiencing difficulties, or may themselves have special needs including learning difficulties or behavioural problems.

The highlight of SCT’s programme is a week long summer residential experience, enjoyed for the last few years at Manor Adventure, Shropshire. For most young people this is not only their sole experience of a holiday but also a respite from their often difficult daily lives.

During the residential experience the young people develop confidence and team skills in a fun environment whilst enjoying the experience of being a young person.

For many of them it’s the first time they experience the opportunity to make choices, to discover areas where they can ‘shine’ by being encouraged to achieve personal goals.

Many of the stresses these young people face in their daily lives are removed, as they are provided with appropriate protective clothing, equipment for their activities, toiletries and food.

SCT offer places to schools as part of a positive reward system to provide support over a three year period, promoting respectful and considerate behaviour for young people to build relationships with positive role models.

Children are referred to Sefton Childrens Trust by Social Workers, Educational Psychologists, Youth and Community workers, Teachers, Health Visitors, GP’s and other professionals.

Anona said:: ”After this year’s summer residential we were very concerned as we only had £4,000 in reserve and we needed £10,000 to enable us to book next year’s summer residential – we considered closing the charity. The day after our meeting we heard that the MCF had given us a grant of £6,000 which has enabled us to book the summer residential for next year, I can’t tell you how thankful we are to the Freemasons”.

Wargrave House received £15,000 from the MCF.

Pictured from left to right are: Chris Ayres who nominated Wargrave House, Simon Davies and Kevin Poynton.

Pictured from left to right are: Chris Ayres who nominated Wargrave House, Simon Davies and Kevin Poynton.

Simon Davies from Wargrave House Limited spoke about the registered charity which was established in 1971 to provide a specialist environment for the education of children diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

He said they operate from a single site in Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside on which they have three distinct educational establishments:

Wargrave House School is a non-maintained residential special school for children aged from five to 16.  The school caters for up to 75 children in a combination of day and 38 week residential placements.

Lakeside House is a residential further education college and caters for students aged from 16 to 19.

LEAP (Lakeside Early Adulthood Provision) is a 19-25 adult college which caters for up to 16 students, with seven residential places available.

The ethos of the charity is that every child is entitled to a happy, fulfilling, and independent life and that every child is able to achieve this when given the right support.

Every aspect of a student’s education at Wargrave House is tailored around the needs of autistic people. Their facilities are all designed to be low-distraction environments, class sizes are generally five students with one teacher plus additional teaching support assistants, each student follows a personalised learning plan designed to meet their very specific needs. There is also an in-house team of speech and language and occupational therapists so that therapeutic support can be integrated into every aspect of the student’s learning experience.

One form of therapy that has proved to be massively beneficial to their students and one which they are very keen to expand is rebound therapy. Rebound therapy sessions take place on a trampoline and bring a huge range of benefits from developing motor skills and co-ordination through to improving self-confidence and a sense of independence.

Simon Davies said: “With limited space available, the only way we could achieve our aim was to fund-raise for a sunken trampoline to be installed in our school gym. We had expected it would take a number of years to raise enough money, but thanks to the incredible generosity of the Masonic Charitable Foundation and our other supporters, we are now in a position to go ahead with the project immediately.

I’d like to send my heartfelt thanks to the MCF on behalf of everyone at Wargrave House for their support which will, quite literally, change the lives of our very special group of students”.

St Helens Carers Centre (StHCC ) received £25,000 from the MCF.

Pictured from left to right are: Mark Matthews, Lorraine Pennington, Jane Dearden MBE, Derek Parkinson and Les Newman who nominated StHCC.

Pictured from left to right are: Mark Matthews, Lorraine Pennington, Jane Dearden MBE, Derek Parkinson and Les Newman who nominated StHCC.

Jane Dearden MBE and Lorraine Pennington spoke about StHCC which is an independent charity, established by local Carers seven years ago. The Young Carers service was launched in 2012 to support Young Carers aged six to 18 years of age who look after a family member who have a disability, mental ill health, an addiction to alcohol or a substance misuse problem.

StHCC are now supporting over 500 young carers, however, there are anticipated to be over 2,500 young carers in St Helens. StHCC receive referrals into their service from a number of different sources including schools, social care teams, mental health services and self-referrals.  StHCC’s approach as a service is to support the family as a whole; following our assessment with the parent they make referrals into other agencies i.e. referrals into Adult Social Care to organise a full package of care which will ultimately reduce the caring role for the young carer.

They also focus heavily on the young carer’s needs, from their young carer assessment they are able to ascertain what caring tasks are being undertaken and whether they are deemed to be inappropriate or having a detrimental impact on the young carers life.

StHCC also look at what support is needed following the young carers assessment, they may offer a series of 1:1 sessions to help with areas such as bullying, help to increase their self-confidence, so that clients are more willing to engage in our respite programme which gives them time away from their caring role to be themselves, meet new friends and have fun.  StHCC may advocate on their behalf and link in with school to inform them of their caring role, this enables them to receive pastoral support whilst in school with an identified key member of staff.

Many young carers can go unnoticed for some time, with no-one in school being aware of their caring role, they may suffer in silence from conditions such as, depression, self-harming or they may withdraw socially from friends due to a lack of confidence and the stress of caring. Many Young Carers are hidden from services; they do not say anything about their situation due to fear or stigma. StHCC works closely with primary and secondary schools within the borough by providing staff training to help them to identify Young Carers (ie. persistent lateness /absence /withdrawn /tired in class), StHCC deliver assemblies and provide a regular young carer school drop in services.

StHCC now have drop in’s in all secondary schools, these sessions give young carers the opportunity to be listened to, they are able to off-load all their worries and concerns about their caring role that could be affecting their education, health or social life and receive emotional support and practical advice which can help them to cope better with their caring role.

Due to the complexities of the referrals StHCC receive, they are identifying a number of safeguarding concerns which statutory services may not have been aware of.  StHCC make high number of referrals into the social care team to be assessed. The families StHCC are working with are experiencing challenges such as, living in poverty, poor housing conditions, domestic violence, a break down in family relationships, it is therefore so important that the young carers we support know StHCC are there for them, someone they can trust and turn to when they need support.

Jane Dearden MBE said: “The funding StHCC have received will help us enormously, it will help us to reach out to more young carers and provide the support they desperately need. StHCC have been raising the awareness of young carers in St Helens over the past few years and it has been a huge success, however, with increased awareness brings increased referrals. StHCC have, therefore, been very mindful of our capacity to support more young carers should they be identified by other professionals, but now with this funding StHCC will be able to continue with our awareness raising strategy due to us being in a better position to support more young carers when referred to us.

On behalf of everyone at St Helens Carers Centre I would like to thank the MCF for their wonderful donation, it will make a huge difference”.

Mark Matthews, Kevin Poynton and Derek Parkinson (Centre of the front row) are pictured with the representative from the charities and their nominees.

Mark Matthews, Kevin Poynton and Derek Parkinson (Centre of the front row) are pictured with the representative from the charities and their nominees.

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