Despite the many difficulties presented during the lockdown as well as during the whole period to date of the pandemic, the MMC (Middlesex Masonic Charity the working name of the Masonic Province of Middlesex Charitable Trust) shone as a bright star of charity bringing relief to the distressed.
Please see below a report on the many charities that benefitted from the generosity of the Provincial Charity.
This includes awards made during the period February to August 2021.
Readers may be familiar with some of the awards made as these have been amply reported by the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, W Bro John Briggs, during the course of the year.
John instigated many of the initiatives reported by the Charity.
This is their communication:
Park Lane Stables was granted £4,650 to help towards the £1,000,000 they needed to save their stables.
The landlord of Park Lane Stables (PLS) was not renewing their lease when it expired as he wanted to sell the stables.
PLS wanted to raise the £1M to buy the property and keep the stables in Teddington for generations to come.
Park Lane Stables were, and still are, a friendly, inclusive and award-winning Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) centre.
Riding, or just being near horses, has proven to improve physical, social and mental wellbeing.
The stables offer the RDA riding, carriage driving and hippotherapy (which literally means “treatment with help of the horse”.
It’s a treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement in a therapeutic way for patients with movement dysfunction).
There are also stable yard activities along with volunteering opportunities.
They also have a popular Pony Club and offer general riding for everyone – whatever age or ability.
Following raising the required £1m plus more, PLS regrettably had to search for an alternative location for its operations, after its landlords served a notice of eviction for the end of May 2021 (when their lease expired).
This had followed a period of discussions which resulted in the charity being asked to pay far in excess of what the property was actually worth according to three independent valuations.
The charity was originally served with an eviction notice on New Year’s Eve 2020 unless it paid the landlords’ £1 million asking price to buy the property.
The successful fundraising campaign to raise the money to secure its future, thanks to huge support from the public both domestically and internationally as well as freemasonry, raised £1.3 million, which coincidentally was also the revised sum the landlord ended up demanding.
The Trustees of the Charity went to great lengths to ensure the integrity of the purchase and to act in the best interests of the people who benefit from its existence.
An experienced solicitor was appointed who specialises in buying property for charities.
He organised three independent valuations of the stables, before making an offer based on the highest valuation.
Meanwhile as from June 1st 2021 they moved to Manor Farm Stables in Petersham, Richmond, on a temporary basis.
PLS was following clear Charity Commission guidelines that say the trustees are responsible for protecting the charity’s money and assets and that the price paid for property should be fair or even discounted, which is clearly not the case here.
Brent Carers Centre were granted £2,000 to assist in their work where the COVID-19 pandemic had had a huge impact.
Clients most affected were those with physical and mental health needs, carers, older residents, lone mothers and those from the BAME communities.
Challenges experienced included loss of employment, living on a low income/poverty, housing and fuel debt, poor housing conditions and overcrowding.
Equally low level of digital skills or digitally excluded, experiences of personal loss, isolation, overwhelmed by caring responsibilities, stress and deterioration of mental physical well-being were other deleterious factors.
Unpaid Carers – Enfield were granted £2,000 for similar reasons to Brent Carers.
Enfield Carers Centre (ECC) is a small, local charity which aims to be the central resource in the Borough of Enfield providing support for family/unpaid carers who frequently and sadly generally go unrecognised.
Easter Eggs for OAP’S Care Homes in Middx – this initiative received £800 to fund the supply of over 1,000 Easter eggs to Care homes in Middlesex.
NSPCC – Barnet was granted £2,300 to help their plan over the next three years to visit all 116 schools in Barnet.
Children would be taught how to recognise abuse and neglect thus empowering them to speak out if they were worried about anything.
Once again, the Provincial Grand Charity Steward made suggestions for the following charities to be supported for their critical work in protecting women in particular, from abuse.
DAWN Charitible Trust– Harrow Were granted £2,500 to assist them to empower, support and uplift women and girls suffering domestic violence.
Other issues which triggered abuse were identified and the aim was to improve self-worth and confidence and enable them to overcome trauma.
This would women and girls to move and lead more independent and fulfilling lives by providing holistic and meaningful psychosocial support to these domestic violence victims.
Other person-centred counselling support to rebuild confidence and self-worth was supported.
Jewish Womens’ Aid (JWA) were granted £3,000 to aid the support the empowerment of Jewish women and girls who were experiencing sexual and domestic abuse, in a culturally sensitive way.
JWA exists to support women and girls who were experiencing sexual, domestic violence and abuse in their intimate relationships.
The charity wants to increase awareness, education and understanding in order to prevent violence against women and girls in the Jewish community as well as provide client-centred support for women and children by other women.
Due to the pandemic JWA has seen a huge increase in clients into the service.
They have the cultural understanding of what their clients need from our specialist organisation.
See: – www.jwa.org.uk
Hestia was granted £2,000 to help them deliver services across London and the surrounding regions.
These included victims of modern slavery, women and children who have experienced domestic abuse, young care leavers and older people.
The charity helps in several ways rom giving someone a home and helping them get the right mental health support to people at the moment of crisis thus enabling them to build a life beyond the immediate difficulties.
See: – www.hestia.org
Refuge received £3,000.
Covid 19 had caused a great increase in the number of cases.
Monies received was used which went to employ extra staff and also provide training.
The charity also provides a Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Expert advisers offer confidential, non-judgmental support and information as well as access to other specialist domestic violence services across the country.
The Helpline can also help to access refuge accommodation or other specialist domestic violence services if they are needed.
It uses the services of Language Line to provide access to interpreters for non-English-speaking callers and the BT Type Talk Service for deaf or hard-of-hearing callers.
The Gordon Bourne Bursary will continue for another two years with a £10,000 grant awarded for each of the two years to assist eligible students who are on the Undergraduate BSc (Hons) Midwifery course; a three-year degree which prepares students for their career as a midwife enabling support for women and their families during pregnancy and childbirth.
“A message to all Charity Stewards: Please remember that the Middlesex Masonic Charity (MMC) the working name of the Masonic Province of Middlesex Charitable Trust are here to help your Lodge support eligible charities where we can and within our remit.
The charity has to be based in Middlesex and usually have specific projects requiring some financial assistance, or at least have a branch in Middlesex with a local project.
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