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Sussex Freemasons contribute to £500,000 for Ukrainian refugees


Thousands of Ukrainian refugees as well as displaced people still inside Ukraine will be given help and support, thanks to half a million pounds raised by Sussex Freemasons and other Provinces across England and Wales

The money is being directed to charities working on the ground in Ukraine, as well as organisations helping refugees in neighbouring countries including Poland, Moldova, Romania, and in the UK.

The £500,000 was raised in less than three weeks and the total is still growing as Freemasons continue to dig deep to help the refugees.

The war in Ukraine has created by far the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War, and more people are fleeing Ukraine for countries to the west every day.

The chosen charities, each of which will receive £100,000, are:

  1. The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) – which could help set up a ‘Blue Dot Hub’ to provide a safe space for up to 5,000 children and families on the move every day. Blue Dot Hubs offer critical services such as child-friendly spaces, mother and baby facilities and a crucial family reunification support.
  2. Plan International UK – which could help set up 55 temporary learning spaces in Poland, Moldova and Romania, so children can learn and play in a safe space away from the war.
  3. The Refugee Council – which could help to fund two full-time therapists to provide specialist therapy for hundreds of traumatised refugees.
  4. British Red Cross – to fund work with hundreds of Ukrainian refugees in the UK to help them overcome loneliness and isolation and to offer other practical support to help ease them into life in Britain.
  5. UK for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency – which could help provide essential repairs to severely damaged homes in Ukraine that have been damaged by shelling and conflict.

Sussex Freemasons contributed to the grant through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Maurice Adams, Deputy Head of Sussex Freemasons, said:

“Freemasons have an outstanding record helping those in need in this country and around the world, but this huge sum to support Ukrainian refugees was raised in record time. I’m very proud that Sussex Freemasons have been able to play such an important part in this essential work.”

People with learning disabilities and autism helped to find paid work, thanks to a grant of £61,323 from Freemasons

People with learning disabilities and autism helped to find paid work, thanks to Freemasons

People with learning disabilities will receive support in finding employment, thanks to a grant of £61,323 from Sussex Freemasons to the East Sussex based Little Gate Farm charity.

The charity’s LEAPS project aims to help young people aged 16-25 who have learning disabilities and/or autism and want to find an apprenticeship but lack work related skills.

Support is provided through sessions on topics like skills in the workplace, budgeting, travel training, stress management, health and safety, positive thinking and effective communication. The project takes place on the charity’s 46-acre farm and in workplaces in Hastings & Bexhill.

All participants in the LEAPS programme have a learning disability and/or autism, and some have associated physical medical, mental health, emotional problems or disabilities. They are all individually assessed and the support is tailored to each person’s needs.

Young adults with learning disabilities are faced with challenges and exclusion when it comes to work, with only six per cent of them in paid employment in the UK, compared with 95 per cent of the general population.

The results of the project have been very positive; all past LEAPS participants have gone onto supported apprenticeships or to work training at the farm, and the employment rate for people with learning disabilities and autism in East Sussex has increased from five per cent to 7.2 per cent since the charity was founded.

The grant from Sussex Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Tracy Smith from Little Gate Farm, said:

“We’re incredibly grateful to Sussex Freemasons who are supporting one of our four important projects, LEAPS, which will help expand employment opportunities for young people with disabilities and/or autism.

Our aim is to help bridge the gap in paid employment between those who have disabilities and those who don’t, and this generous grant will help us to do so.”

Michael Harris, Chairman of the Sussex Freemasons Community Charity, (pictured) said:

“We’re delighted to be supporting this fantastic charity which is working hard to help more adults with learning disabilities find paid employment and the confidence and independence that comes with it. With a national employment rate of six per cent among this community, it is clear there is a lot to be done, and it’s encouraging to see Little Gate Farm making a real difference.”


Sussex Freemasons provide £50,000 support to the Sussex Regional Cancer Centre

People from across Sussex, West Kent and parts of Surrey, needing treatment for kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer at the regional urology centre of excellence at the Eastbourne District General Hospital are a step closer to receiving the specialist treatment that they need, thanks to a £50,000 donation from Sussex Freemasons to the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital 2022 Appeal, raising funds for a Da Vinci robot surgical system.

The Da Vinci system makes it possible for surgeons to operate with amazing accuracy through a few small incisions. This allows for better patient outcomes due to the minimally invasive surgery, and leads to a shorter length of stay in hospital.

The existing Da Vinci system at the hospital has proven to be very successful, but after nine years of use it has finally reached the end of its working life and needs replacing to maintain standards of operating excellence and patient outcomes.

Thanks to the donation from the Sussex Freemasons Community Charity the hospital is now well on the way to achieving its appeal target and has been able to purchase the much needed equipment.

Chair of the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital, Dr Harry Walmsley said “ I am delighted to say that the Friends are half way to their target having recently had a donation of £50,000 from the Sussex Freemasons Community Charity. The Friends are extremely grateful to Sussex Freemasons for their generosity and support”

Michael Harris, Chair of the Sussex Freemasons Community Charity said “Sussex Freemasons are proud to support the work that the surgeons, nurses and all the staff at the Eastbourne District General Hospital do, and we recognise the important role that this equipment plays in maintaining the EDGH as the Regional Centre of Excellence for the treatment of kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer.”

Freemasons supporting over a million people with mental health issues

To help more than 1.4 million people experiencing mental health issues, Freemasons are donating more than £550,000 to help citizens across the UK.
Many people are reaching crisis point with their mental health due to the pandemic. According to NHS Prevalence Data 2020, one in six young people have a probable mental disorder, while the Young Minds Survey 2020 found 83% of young people said the pandemic had made their mental health worse.
To help the population exit the pandemic in a better state of mental health, the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales, are supporting various institutions, schools and universities. Among the institutions receiving support, the Freemasons are donating £125,000 to Young Minds to help them to support approximately 1.4 million young people. The goal is to increase Young Minds’ reach by 10% and help many more young people find the support they need, when they need it, and be able to take practical, actionable steps to improve their mental health.
The UGLE and the Masonic Charitable Foundation’s (MCF) – the Freemasons’ charity – donations will also help 100,000 children and young people across the UK to access information, support and guidance online.
During almost two years of the pandemic, Freemasons have donated millions of pounds to support people in need. They have donated many tonnes of food, tablets for hospitals, ambulances and PPE, as well as supporting carers, women’s refuges, care homes, hospitals, hospices and funds for NHS workers. In 2020, the Freemasons total charitable donations topped £51 million.
In addition, 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, as well as producing scrubs, PPE and hand sanitiser.
Dr David Staples, chief executive of the UGLE, said: “The pandemic has been devastating and mental health is a very important topic to us and our members. During the pandemic, thousands of Freemasons supported people in their communities, preventing mental health problems and supporting many families. This issue must be one of our priorities and we are joining forces to keep the population safe and feeling well.



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