Members generosity in the Province – Well Done –
Nobody could have predicted that after the success of The 2020 Festival that the Province of Middlesex would again face the rigours of charitable endeavour so soon afterwards.
The month of March 2020 confirmed out worst fears and as the pandemic started to make inroads into our Masonic lives and we could no longer attend regular meetings, the Brethren of the Province rallied to “the cause”.
This meant a new approach to the way we communicated and also to the way we imparted our charity.
This involved many people in various guises from the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, W Bro John Briggs to the Masonic Centre management teams, as well as individual Freemasons, and Lodges and Chapters, who contributed collectively, to make the effort within the Province a success story.
Much of the effort made during this last 12 months has been documented in the Mercury and in individual posts on the web site as things developed.
It was an initiative from the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, John Briggs, who had discussions with the Trussell Trust, a major mover in Foodbank logistics.
This then led to the setting up of the Provincial kitchens at Harrow and Uxbridge and the provision of food ingredients to prepare meals for the hungry and homeless.
Monies raised through the Provincial Covid Appeal contributed to the running costs of meal preparation for some of the most vulnerable members of society who were in distress, need or danger and required help and support.
The kitchens at both Harrow and Uxbridge worked alongside local charities which included the various foodbanks viz Hillingdon, Ealing, the Salvation Army, Harrow, Enfield, Richmond and also SUFRA amongst others.
These liaisons created synergies and the result meant that the Province acquitted itself in an important area of feeding the hungry.
Not only had Covid-19 played havoc with people’s health, it also meant that there was more pressure on facilities for the disadvantaged.
The two Middlesex Masonic charities, the MMC and MPRF also made valuable monetary contributions.
See:-(Middlesex the Magnificent/)
There is no doubt that the NHS responded magnificently to the crisis and it is gratifying that Freemasons in Middlesex were able to support the Service by providing grants to hospitals.
These included Ashford and St Peter’s, the West Middlesex, Harefield, Hillingdon and the Central and North West London hospitals.
They received £1,000 each together with gifts from individual Lodges and Chapters, as well as the MMC and MPRF.
The Pro Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Peter Baker, and members of Lodges and Chapters in the Province continued to provide support to local NHS Charitable Trusts during the current COVID-19 crisis.
Working together with United Grand Lodge of England and the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Province was able to donate 15 Samsung TAB A Tablets to the West Middlesex University Hospital at Isleworth, who received 8 and the Hillingdon Hospital, who received 7.
These initiatives were enhanced by individual Freemasons who were able to give their time to support the “cause”.
One such person was W Bro Matt Erratt PPrSGD, a member of Electron Lodge, No. 7527.
He found himself out of work and with staff being furloughed and laid off, decided to devote his time to a very special cause.
Because of the crisis in the provision of protective medical clothing to the NHS, a group of volunteers calling themselves “Scrubs Glorious Scrubs”, fashioned material into Medical Scrubs.
Bro Matt’s role in this was by way of volunteer delivery driver using his own car taking the cut fabric to a “Hub” where the machinists collected the prepared fabric to make the finished article.
This rapidly made an impact and hospitals in the Province also benefitted.
Matt was a major instigator of this together with his masonic colleagues who donated material.
Helping The Homeless –
The influence of Middlesex Masonic Charity was apparent in the monetary assistance given to 9 homeless charities in the Province.
These included: Shelter, the Salvation Army. Hope for Southall Street Homeless, Spear, Centre Point, Spelthorne Rentstart, SWAT (Sikh Welfare and Awareness Team), SUFRA and Homeless Action in Barnet.
They each received £2,000 from the MMC and MPRF working together.
Mental Health –
Mental Health Charities also benefited from awards made by the Middlesex Provincial Charities.
MIND at Enfield, Harrow and Richmond as well as Rethink and Arts for Life Project received £2000 which was matched by MCF.
Other Charities –
The Province has also been generous to the RMBI home at PMK Court, as well as Carers and residents being supported with gifts provided by the Brethren of Citadel Lodge, No 1897.
The Lodge has been extremely active in donating “goodies” to Prince Michael of Kent Court.
These have consisted of breakfast boxes of cereal, jars of jam, drinks and a supply of sweets and chocolates.
Citadel Lodge is getting a reputation for their amazing generosity.
More recently W Bro John Briggs has delivered 1,000 Easter Eggs to about 20 Care Homes in the Province including PMK Court.
These Masonic acts of charity are appreciated by the recipients –
See: – Egg Bound in Middlesex
Another important group within the Province are the carers.
Underneath the seeming tranquillity of our ordinary lives, there exists another world which exposes a different reality: a world of difficulty and hardship.
Some of us are experiencing, or will have experienced, caring for loved ones at home.
This not confined to class, status, or age group.
The MMC gave £2,000 to 3 unpaid Carers charities in the Province; Hillingdon, Brent and the Enfield Carers –
See:- Meals and Deals
Harrow carers were awarded the substantial sum of £28,500 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), which will be a major boost in supporting the exceptional work they do.
The cheque was presented by W Bro John Briggs, Provincial Grand Charity Steward to Colin Power of Harrow Carers, thus supporting the work of the Province.
The Masonic Kitchen –
As mentioned above both the Harrow and Uxbridge Centres have been cooking and packing meals for the homeless during the last year.
Both Centres have prepared vast amounts of food amounting to a total over 130,000 meals which is a significant achievement.
Many Freemasons at both Centres gave their time freely and wives and non-masonic volunteers too joined to make things work smoothly –
There are many other stories recording the efforts of Lodges and Chapters over the course of the year and these are recorded on the Provincial web pages.
Our efforts continue and there is no respite for our charitable work.
The show goes on.
The Provincial Grand Charity Steward is keen to develop a relationship between the Province and domestic abuse charities as his next project.
Middlesex Masons have risen to charity challenges in quick succession and the remarkable response to all appeals for assistance, both monetary and through volunteering, will go down in the annals of Middlesex Freemasonry.
They say that self-praise is no honour, but in this case the exception may prove the rule.
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