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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.

 

Freemasons are supporting carers with advice, breaks and activities

Freemasons are leading a project to help up to 33,000 adult, young and parent carers, with donations of more than £715,000.

According to Carers UK, the number of carers grew exponentially during the pandemic, reaching more than 13 million. The helping hand from the Freemasons is supporting them with essential items, life skills, counselling, crisis support, activities and breaks.

Approximately 20,000 unpaid carers are receiving access to crucial support online, funded by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body of the Freemasons.

The UGLE is also working to protect young carers, who are under increasing pressure as they support family members during lockdown.

In particular, the Freemasons project is providing 870 young carers with respite through activities and breaks, while 760 young carers are being provided with essential items and life skills. Elsewhere, almost 100 schools are receiving assistance to identify hidden young carers and provide support.

In total, more than 1,800 young carers are receiving advice, support and information.

In addition to their support for young carers, the Freemasons are providing funding for crisis support, advice and information to almost 3,000 adult carers. Meanwhile, the project is also assisting 1,050 parent carers with advice and support.

Dr David Staples, chief executive of the UGLE, said: “These have been very difficult times for everyone and especially for carers. With the donations, we are helping with training, counselling, support, mental and physical health, as well as activities to reduce stress.

“We want to recognise the enormous contribution carers make to families and communities throughout the UK. They do their best because they want to make a difference and care deeply for their family members.”

Sussex Freemasons support the 'NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers’ Day'

Today is the inaugural celebration of ‘NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers’ Day’.

The United Grand Lodge of England is one of the core supporters of NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers’ Day, alongside the Cadet Forces, English Heritage and the Women’s Institute.
UGLE has invited its members to fly specially designed flags at 10am today, to celebrate this unique day dedicated to the NHS, social care and all those that work on the front line, who have saved so many lives during the pandemic. The celebration will also remember those workers we sadly lost.
As part of the event, Sussex Freemasons gathered at the Charmandean Centre in Worthing this morning (5th July) to raise the Flag and to celebrate the work of the NHS.
A £5 donation from every flag and length of bunting made will be equally divided between NHS Charities Together and the National Care Association.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Freemasons have been supporting the NHS in many different ways. Nationally they have donated more than £2.5m so far to the Covid-19 effort and completed 18.5 million hours of volunteering to help those in need each year.
The donation is being used to help with food, personal protective equipment, supplements for hospitals and hospices, funds for NHS workers and ambulances.

 

 

Sussex Freemasons to become strategic partner of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

More than 30,000 young people with disabilities and special educational needs will be able to take part in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, thanks to a grant of £300,000 from the Freemasons.

Sussex Freemasons have become a strategic partner of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), funding a new national programme to upskill its team and volunteers. The programme will also help enrol more schools and clubs, to ensure all young people have access to DofE.

To make it possible, the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), the Freemasons’ charity, have teamed up to enable the charity to reach at least 30,000 young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) by 2024. The ambition is to increase the number of centres, such as schools and youth groups, offering DofE to young people with SEND and train hundreds of Leaders – trained individuals supporting groups of young people through their DofE journeys.

At least 15,000 young people will achieve a DofE Award sponsored by the 200,000-strong UGLE, to support The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

The programme has been designed to make DofE participation possible for students with diverse difficulties and disabilities. It will help the students to build crucial personal life skills, develop employability skills and become more independent, and aims to offer students the same experiences available to their peers in mainstream education.

The impact of achieving a DofE Award is remarkable and will be life-changing for young people with physical or learning difficulties, who are often excluded from adventurous activities due to a lack of accessible equipment, facilities, trained support staff and funding.

The programme aims to increase the opportunities for young people with special needs, as well as increasing the number of specialist Leaders by providing bespoke training to adults supervising young people with special needs. The aim is to have 240 more adults trained to support young people with SEND by 2024.

The initiative also includes a plan to offer support to new delivery partners that work with young people with SEND, to encourage them to offer the DofE.

His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, who founded the DofE in 1956, was himself a Freemason, having been introduced to Freemasonry in 1952 at the age of 31 by his father-in-law King George VI. Throughout his 99 years, he was associated with some 992 charities, either as president, patron or honorary member.

Dr David Staples, chief executive of the UGLE, said: “Prince Philip was well known for his charity work, having been involved with numerous organisations. At UGLE, we looked for a project that would honour Prince Philip’s memory. Helping young people with special educational needs and becoming a strategic partner of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is therefore a great honour for us.

“Helping the DofE was an easy decision as Freemasonry’s core values are charity, integrity, respect and friendship,” he added.

Christopher Moore, Head of Sussex Freemasons, commented “Sussex Freemasons have a proud history of supporting young people in our communities and we are delighted to continue that support to those young people with special educational needs and disabilities through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme”

Caroline Glen, Director of Fundraising, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said: “We’re very grateful to the Freemasons for their generous grant, which will give many thousands of young people with disabilities and special educational needs the chance to take part in the DofE and gain its life-changing benefits. This is a wonderful and very practical way to continue The Duke’s amazing legacy and to spread the benefits of the DofE further than ever before.”

The Freemasons work on average 18.5 million hours each year as volunteers in various areas, including driving vulnerable people to the hospital, preparing meals, taking care of people at risk, organising care packages, and producing scrubs, personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitiser.

They also donated more than £1m last year to the Covid-19 support effort, with the funds being used to help communities in various critical areas, including food banks, support for unpaid carers, PPE, supplies for hospitals and hospices, support for women’s refuges, and funds for NHS workers, ambulances and equipment.

As well as the late Duke of Edinburgh, the Freemasons can also count other Royal Family members among their number, including HRH The Duke of Kent, who is the longest-serving Grand Master of the UGLE.

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.

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