Charity – one of our four values…
The values of Freemasonry are based on integrity, friendship, respect and charity. Freemasons are taught to practice charity and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole – by both charitable giving and voluntary efforts and works as individuals. The United Grand Lodge of England supports many national and international charities.
Within the Provincial Grand Lodge of Bedfordshire, our efforts are focussed mainly on smaller local charities within the county of Bedfordshire.
Teddies for Loving Care
One of our key local charities is Teddies for Loving Care. Children attending the Accident & Emergency Department at the Luton & Dunstable and Bedford Hospitals can now have a cuddle with their own teddy bear to help soothe and comfort them whilst they receive emergency treatment. The teddy bears are a gift from the Freemasons of Bedfordshire and, as at September 2020, over 29,000 have been handed out.
The initiative is to help make emergency visits to hospital less traumatic for young patients, helping them to relax, which can make it easier to administer medical treatment.
Teddy bears under this scheme have been supplied to the Luton & Dunstable and Bedford Hospitals since December 2002.
Upcoming Charity Events
Due to the measures taken to protect the population against COVID-19, all Freemasonry and associated events are suspended until further notice.
Martin Rowe Theatre Tickets
Martin Rowe has issued the following statement ‘Due to the situation the COVID pandemic is causing, I am at present obviously concentrating on getting our industry up and running again, and as and when it is safe to do so I will start to offer events again, for those that have already booked and purchased tickets for specific shows, I will update those specific patrons once I have managed to either reschedule these events or if I have to cancel them, but your seats and payments for those who booked through myself are secure’.
The Trustees of the Provincial Charity Fund meet four times a year and hear circa twenty applications a year from charities and organisations. During the year July 2019 through to June 2020 they gave away almost £6,285 spread across six applications. At the March 2020 meeting they heard six applications of which they gave one grant totalling £3,935 to MAGPAS Air Ambulance.
As well as the applications they also make annual awards to two organisations, the first is Bedfordshire University where the Martin Foss Award is presented to a student at the Graduation Ceremony for the School of Healthcare Practise. The second is the Luton Town FC Community Trust whereby the Trustees make a donation to the Annual Cubs and Beavers Football Tournament which is held in May on the Luton Town Football Club pitch.
Lodges also make a very valuable contribution to Charities and individuals and in the twelve months ending 30 June 2020 they donated the following amounts:
- The Grand Charity – £26,317
- Provincial Grand Charity – £3,882
- Friends of Prince Michael of Kent Court – £240
- Teddies for Loving Care – £8,950
- The PGM’S Scout Appeal – £101,169
- Keech Hospice – £1,500
- Bedford Day Hospice – £400
- Sue Ryder Moggerhanger – £2,870
- Lodge Widows – £5,640
- Other non masonic Charities – £41,167
Support During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Throughout the Pandemic, Bedfordshire Freemasons in conjunction with the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) have been working to support both local and national charities who have been facing huge challenges.
Some of the local support provided includes:
MCF Covid-19 Fund – Following a grant from the MCF, ten local charities have been supported:
- £1,000 – Leighton Linslade Homeless Shelter
- £1,000 – SERV Herts & Beds Blood bikes
- £1,500 – Dine with us on the Streets
- £1,500 – Go Dharmic Welfare UK
- £500 – Music 24
- £1,000 – Preen Biggleswade
- £1,000 – Luton Foodbank
- £1,000 – Leighton Linslade Helpers
- £500 – Hospice at Home Volunteers
- £1,000 – Sign-Post – Luton
Food Banks – The MCF set up a fund during the pandemic and Bedfordshire has benefitted from the following grants:
- £500 – Leighton Linslade Food Bank
- £1,000 – Dunstable Food Bank
- £1,000 – Bedford Food Bank
- £1,000 – Need Food Bank (Central Bedfordshire)
In addition to this, Lodges donated another £1,250 to the Need Project and also supported them with food donations.
Women’s Refuges – In addition to the £5,000 we donated to Bedfordshire Woman’s Refuges in May 2020, a Grant of £5,000 was received from the MCF in September which was used to purchase ‘love2shop’ Gift cards, and 25 were presented to each of the five women’s refuges, together with a supply of TLC bears for the children. The vouchers enabled the individuals to buy essential items just before Christmas, some of the feedback received;
‘It means a lot to me as I am very excited to do some baby shopping for the first time.’
‘It is highly appreciated. It helps us women reduce a bit of stress near Christmas time.’
‘I intend to buy some last minute baby items as baby is due in 8 weeks.’
‘It means a lot, helps me save up for my home and give my little man a good Christmas.’
‘Thank you so incredibly much!’
Hospitals – The Provinces’ two hospitals, at Luton and Bedford, have long been the focus of fundraising efforts by Bedfordshire lodges. As well as raising funds, TLC bears are delivered regularly (over 29,000 have been donated in total) and special deliveries at Christmas and Easter ensure young patients don’t miss out on their chocolate fix.
Air Ambulance – Bedfordshire is covered by East Anglian Air Ambulance and Magpas, and both receive regular funding. In March 2020 the Trustees of the Provincial Charity fund awarded a grant of £3,935 which would provide one year supply of ventilator hoses and filters for cardiac arrest patients. A grant of £2,500 was awarded to both EAAA and Magpas just before Christmas which is being matched funded by the MCF making a total of £10,000.