After making a donation from the St Peter de Merton Lodge (7559) to the Kings Arms Project earlier in the year, our lodge were invited by them to visit their operation in Harpur Street, Bedford. Myself and WBro Sean Hinson visited them on Friday 8th September. It was a truly enlightening experience showing that there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes.
The Kings Arms Project was started in response to seeing people sleeping rough on the streets of Bedford. They provide professional advice, innovative solutions and person centered care to the homeless, those at risk of homelessness, displacement and social isolation. They rely heavily on donations from local businesses as well as charitable donations. The project is aimed at a long term vision of helping people piece their lives back together, so they offer courses, housing advise and some legal advice and a place where their “clients” (as the staff all refer to them) can feel safe. They have a team of out-reach workers who go out a couple of times a week around 5am to start building a rapport with people sleeping rough. They encourage them to connect with the project and use the facilities in Harpur Street – these facilities include a shower room, washing machines and a place to eat – to name a few. They also run courses, distribute food, clothes and basic essentials.
Stuart McCaw, who is the fund raising manager said the project is very grateful to the various Bedfordshire lodges that donate to them, so keep up the good work brethren !!
The building itself has Masonic links too, and if any brethren out there can help on this matter it would be nice to find out the history as I know Stuart was keen to find out.
Bro Giorgio Ruggiero – Charity Steward St Peter de Merton Lodge
Pictured above, Giorgio Ruggiero, Stuart McCaw and Sean Hinson