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Freemasons’ inaugural annual report showcases commitment to modernisation

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) has launched its first annual report, in its 300 year history, marking another major step forward in its commitment to modernisation, transparency and normalisation.

Dr David Staples, chief executive of the UGLE, said: “Our first ever annual report is a major step ahead for the organisation in terms of the transparency and normalisation of Freemasonry, we want to tell the public who we are and what we do. This year, we have raised more than £42m for charity and given more than 18.5 million hours of our time in unpaid social and civic volunteering. I am enormously proud to serve an organisation with such a story to tell.”

The essence of Freemasonry is the practise of charity. It is so inextricably linked that every Lodge meeting includes a charity collection and every Lodge and Province has a charity steward, who is responsible for coordinating the financial commitments and voluntary actions of the members.

In the last few years therefore, Freemasons have been busy modernising and launching campaigns inviting the public to experience the world of Freemasonry. As a result, since 2018 the public’s perception of Freemasonry has improved significantly, according to external opinion surveys. “All the effort and transparency has brought surprising results. Recent research showed that one in four people would consider joining Freemasonry today. The change is significant, because in 2018, the result of the same survey was one in ten,” explained Dr Staples.

The same research showed that those aged 18-34 are the most favourable towards the organisation, suggesting a real opportunity exists to engage and attract a newer, younger membership.


Sussex Freemasons £10,000 support for domestic violence charity

The Covid-19 lockdown and subsequent restrictions have seen increased numbers of domestic abuse across the country. In the first four weeks of lockdown in the UK, 16 women and girls were killed in suspected domestic homicides — more than triple the number from the same period in 2019 and In December combined call and web chat volumes for sexual violence helplines were over 200% above the pre pandemic baseline.

As Nicola Nicola Davies the Fundraising & Communications Manager for RISE, the Brighton based charity charity that supports people affected by domestic abuse and violence, notes ‘The last few months have been the most challenging in our charity’s history – we have coped with a sharp increase in the demand for our services at a time when major fundraising events have been cancelled’.

Recognising those additional pressures; and the increase in demand for services; the Sussex Masonic Charitable Foundation CIO has supported the charity with a grant of almost £10,000.

Foundation Chairman Michael Harris said “The work that RISE does in providing support during a time of personal crisis is ever more vital during these difficult times and I’m delighted that Sussex Freemasons are able to actively support their important work”.    

Commenting on the grant Nicola said ‘RISE would like to wholeheartedly thank Sussex Freemasons for such a generous donation, which will be spent on our essential work helping people rebuild their lives after domestic abuse’.

RISE volunteers wearing t-shirts with slogans that domestic abuse survivors came up with to illustrate the support they received from RISE.

Saving lives at sea

Lives may be saved at sea thanks to a donation of 12 ‘Fire 7’ tablets to assist RNLI crew members at Eastbourne with online training.
The 12 tablets are to be used at the two RNLI stations in Eastbourne. The main all weather lifeboat station and the Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) station.
Eastbourne IRB whilst undertaking a very dangerous rescue of a person cut off by a rapidly incoming tide beneath the cliffs at Beachy Head, suffered an accident when the IRB was dashed against the cliffs and overturned. The three man crew and the rescued person had themselves to be rescued from the perilous sea by helicopter and the all weather lifeboat.
Fortunately the distress beacon activated on the upturned craft as the crew had no time to activate theirs.Sussex Masonic Charitable Foundation Chairman (SMCF), Michael Harris, whilst in conversation with the RNLI Operations Manager at Eastbourne, Mr Carl Pocock, learned that the station urgently required key pieces of equipment to assist with online crew training.
Within two days, after the unanimous agreement of the SMCF Board of Trustees, the ‘tablets’ had been purchased and presented to the Operations manager and the Coxswain of the Eastbourne all weather lifeboat Mr Mark Sawyer.
Commenting, SMCF Chairman Michael Harris said ‘As Sussex Freemasons we are extremely proud to support the work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the very brave crews who launch in all weathers to rescue and preserve lives at sea. We are a coastal county and their valuable work is constantly before us’

Freemasons provide £1M funding and 18 Million hours of community support


Freemasons throughout England came together in 2020 to challenge Covid and support their communities. Donating £1Million, as well as their time, to help those in need.

Freemasons also worked 18 million hours as volunteers in a range of different areas, where there was a need, including driving vulnerable people to hospital, preparing meals, taking care of people at risk, organising care packages, producing scrubs, PPE and hand sanitiser.

In Sussex, Freemasons provided wide ranging and much needed support to charities across the counties to enable them to continue their work during the pandemic. These included:

Supplying 50 Samsung Galaxy Android Tablets to hospices in East and West Sussex to help Covid patients stay in touch with their families.

Helping fund CPR machines for Chichester and Worthing Hospitals

Providing mobile phones to support remote working in the NHS, £30,000 to directly support NHS staff working in the major hospitals across the county (St Richards in Chichester, Worthing Hospital, the Royal Sussex County in Brighton, the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath, the Eastbourne District General Hospital and the Conquest Hospital in Hastings) and PPE to a wide range of charities and hospices.

Supporting the work of Domestic Violence charities

Providing £28,000 cash support to food banks in Brighton and Hove City Mission, Portslade, Burgess Hill, Horsham, Crawley, East Grinstead, Worthing, Littlehampton, Chichester, Rye, Bexhill, Battle, Seaford and Newhaven.

Supplying a four wheel drive car to St Wilfrids ‘Hospice at Home’ team to help their team of Rehabilitation Assistants, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists to reach patients in outlying areas.

Christopher Moore, Head of Sussex Freemasons said “I am very proud of the way in which Sussex Freemasons have come together to support our communities in so many different ways, from sourcing and producing PPE to providing and delivering hot food to those in crisis and supporting those who are vulnerable”

In addition to the £1m donated in 2020, the Freemasons have committed a further fund of £2.1m to support the ongoing Covid-19 crisis response. Of that £2.1m, £850,000 has been allocated to support homeless people through several charities with which UGLE partners. More than 40,000 homeless individuals are being provided with food and essentials, transport, help with accessing services such as counselling and healthcare, as well as employment and training opportunities.

Dr David Staples, chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), said “Our response to the Pandemic shows what Freemasonry is all about; supporting those in need, giving back to our communities and volunteering where it can make a real difference.  Freemasons have been doing this for over 300 years and I am proud of the time and commitment that our members have given to support the nation in its fight against Covid-19.”

Freemasonry is one of the world’s largest and oldest non-religious and non-political fraternal and charitable organisations.

It is open to people from all walks of life, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation or socio-economic position in society.


Sussex Freemasons

The origins of Freemasonry

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How to join in 3 steps

There’s no complicated method to becoming a Freemason. Simply get in touch with us by completing the enquiry form at the bottom of this page, or by emailing directly, and we will contact you. That’s it.

We will put you in touch with a Lodge in your area, or one of our specialist Lodges that matches your particular interest. The members of the Lodge will then make arrangements to meet with you, probably in a relaxed social environment, to talk with you about Freemasonry.

You like what the Lodge has told you and they in turn think that you’re a good fit for their particular Lodge; arrangements are made to initiate you into Freemasonry, joining over 200,000 other Freemasons in England, Wales and overseas Districts. Sorry to disappoint, but most of the rumours about the initiation ceremony are untrue.

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