The Provincial Grand Lodge of Cheshire
Charity and Welfare
The Cheshire Freemasons Charity (CFC) was re-launched by the Provincial Grand Master at the Craft AGM in October 2018 and it has been very active ever since with fund raising activities and supporting both masonic and non-masonic causes.
We enjoy a very close working arrangement with the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), based in London, which supports the Province of Cheshire by making numerous grants in addition to those made by the CFC.
The Teddies for Loving Care Appeal continues to be very popular and the team makes sure that all of the Accident & Emergency Departments throughout the Province always have a stock of Teddies to comfort any children in their care who may be suffering great distress.
The PSA Prostate Cancer screening service, which this year has seen a significant increase in men, including many members of the public, being tested. This service undoubtedly saves lives and will be continued each year in all of the Areas of the Province.
Welfare arrangements in the Province are headed up by a dedicated team of Visiting Volunteers throughout the five Areas of the Province. The Provincial team interacts with the Area Almoners, assisting them with more local cases, and with the Masonic Charitable Foundation, as many of the grants paid in Cheshire now come that source.
The team also has regular contact with the RMBI homes in Llandudno, Eccles and Liverpool where a number of Cheshire members now reside and which are all supported by Cheshire Freemasons’ Charity.
New developments include a pilot exercise with Age UK on Later Life Goals and a working arrangement with Dementia UK to raise awareness of this ever-increasing condition.
Freemasonry and Charity
There are Three Grand Principles in Freemasonry which have been followed for many years:
Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.
Freemasons are taught to practise charity and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving, and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals.
Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives. Freemasons believe that these principles represent a way of achieving higher standards in life.
It is therefore, no surprise to find that from its earliest foundations Freemasonry supported those in need, primarily orphans, the sick and the elderly. Over the last three hundred years the charitable support provided by Freemasons has ever expanded with local, national and international charities receiving regular financial assistance.
From the moment someone joins Freemasonry he is made aware of the importance of charity and the need to support and care of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. This is evidenced by the fact that the Freemasons of England and Wales have become one of the top ten grant-making Organisations in those countries.
The money for this charitable giving is provided by members in a number of ways; a small portion of each members subscription is donated to the Masonic Charitable Foundation (the main central Masonic Charity); many members make a regular monthly donation; collections are made during lodge meeting; there may be a raffle, or similar, during the meal after a lodge meeting; and other specific fund raising events for Lodge members and their families are also held regularly.
In 2018 Freemasons under the United Grand Lodge of England made grants around £48M to charities and other good causes.
Below are some of the charities that have recently received support from Freemasons.
Charity Celebration Evening
Each year on the first Monday in December CFC will hold an evening in celebration of the dedicated people who use our gifts so wisely in pursuit of charitable aims. Cheshire Freemasons are tireless and generous in supporting charity but our gifts would be unfulfilled without the staff and volunteers at hospices, scout and guide groups, cadets, hospitals and shelters that we seek to support.
On this evening, hosted by the trustees, Province has the chance to hear a few of the stories behind our donations and appreciate the impact that what we do can have on the lives of others. We are delighted that the Provincial leaders are able to attend but also that any Cheshire Masons together with their partners can come along to have a bite to eat, a drink and to share some of the inspiring news that the charities bring. The more who come the better and if space is a problem it is one we would love to solve.
At the December 2018 evening we had the pleasure of the Company of the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, the Lord Bishop of Chester and the Lord Mayor of Chester all of whom were welcomed by the Provincial Grand Master. The Provincial Grand Charity Steward, Harry Wright also spoke to introduce the charities represented and to outline our work.
We had the pleasure, at times emotional, of hearing from some of the charities we support including:
- Cheshire Community Foundation
- Young Minds Matter
- Riding for the Disabled, Weaverham
- The Open Door Centre, Wallasey
- Police Community Centres
- St John Ambulance
- Claire House Children’s’ Hospice
- Leighton Hospital Prostate Cancer Charity
- South Cheshire Masonic Golf Society
- TLC Teddy Bears
- Masonic Charitable Foundation
The stories they shared with us were more than just touching and they reminded us of the value of the work that Cheshire Freemasons can do when they join together.
This year our celebration will be at Cheshire View on Monday 2nd December, see you there.
Teddies for Loving Care - TLC
Teddies for Loving Care, or TLC as it is more commonly known, is a charity set up some 16 years ago by a Freemason in Essex. On taking his wife to their local A&E Department for treatment, they both quickly realised the fear that children must go through when they have to be admitted into A&E, so they set about forming a charity to raise funds from Freemasons.
It soon gathered momentum throughout the country and is now well established in all Provinces. TLC is now able to provide Teddies to A&E Departments for the staff to give to distressed children where they feel the Teddies would relieve their stress.
To date, Cheshire Freemasons have donated more than 161,000 Teddies to the A&E Departments in all of the major hospitals throughout Cheshire.
TLC also provides Teddies to Clatterbridge Children’s Cancer Care Unit where they are given to children who are being treated for cancer.
RMBI Care Home
The Royal Masonic Institution (now RMBI Care Co) operates 17 care homes across England & Wales. Caring has been their way of life since 1842 and they provide a home for over 1,000 people across England and Wales – while supporting many more.
Whether people need residential or nursing care, dementia support or limited sheltered accommodation, they are cared for professionally and kindly.
They treat people as individuals – and work together with everyone to design a care plan that meets their needs and allows them to experience wellbeing and meaningfulness.
Those members of the Masonic community who choose an RMBI Home have the security of knowing that they have a home for life, even if their financial circumstances change – as long as RMBI Care Co can still support their needs.
RMBI Care Co. is part of the Masonic Charitable Foundation – a new charity for Freemasons, for families, for everyone. For more information, please visit https://www.rmbi.org.uk/
The simple Prostate Specific Antigen blood test (PSA) was introduced to the members of the Province in 2015 as a trial programme and is administered by Leighton Hospital Prostate Cancer Support Group, a charity concerned with men’s health.
A trial commenced in Area 2 but was very quickly taken up by the rest of the Province and has become an annual event across each of the five areas.
The number of members taking the test has grown substantially over the last 3 years and it has significantly raised their awareness in guarding themselves against Prostate Cancer.
The programme has now spread to other Masonic Provinces with a total of 12,000 members being tested to date, resulting in 750 members requiring further treatment and a further 500 being monitored.
Details of times and dates for the forthcoming year’s screening programmes can be obtained from your Area Chairman, Area Secretary or from firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheshire Freemasons’ Charity also supports Leighton Hospital Prostate Cancer Support Group.