£21,000 Given to Fifteen Local Charities, Community Groups and Needy Individuals
A wet and very windy Saturday in November could not dampen the spirits at the Millennium Village Hall in Egerton, which was the venue for the Autumn 2015 presentations to recipients of grants from the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity (CEKFC).
Over 200 people, including the Mayor of Ashford, Councillor Geraldine Dyer, attended as the Head of the Freemasons in East Kent, Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Dearing, introduced awards totalling nearly £21,000 to charities, community groups and needy individuals.
The Provincial Grand Master introduced the representative of each recipient, who then outlined the work they were doing, and highlighted the difference that the award would mean to them. The narratives from the recipients were truly inspiring; detailing how much work is being done for the neediest within our communities. No one present failed to be moved by the commitment and enthusiasm of the volunteers for these groups and supporters of the individuals.
Charity Stewards from Lodges and Chapters local to the beneficiaries then presented the cheques on behalf of the Charity. In a number of cases, these Lodges and Chapters had turned to the CEKFC for support on behalf of the beneficiaries, and had shown their commitment by making their own donations, which were enhanced under the Matched Funding arrangements of the CEKFC.
After the presentations, everyone was invited to a buffet lunch, where people were able to mingle and find out more about the work being done, and exchange ideas on further fundraising initiatives.
The Mayor of Ashford was presented with a cheque for £ 250.00 which would be given to her chosen charity, The Pilgrims Hospice.
At the end of the presentations the Provincial Grand Master thanked the recipients for attending and talking about their respective causes. Thanks were also given to the Egerton Village Hall Committee for the wonderful venue.
Overall, it was a superb day, which firmly cements the work of the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity, Lodges and Chapters in our communities, and indeed all of the Freemasons of the Province, at the heart of our communities, adding, as it did, to the £45,000 donated at the June 2015 presentations.
Details of the grants awarded are:
The Counselling Centre
This was established in 1989 as a self-financing, not-for-profit organisation to provide professional, timely and affordable counselling for adults who face difficulties in their personal, domestic or professional lives.
The grant will be used for the Assisted Places Scheme, which provides highly subsidised counselling support to individuals who are financially disadvantaged.
This is a charitable organisation that provides out-of-hours emergency blood deliveries to A&E units in hospitals, and to the Kent Air Ambulance for use at the scene of incidents. All of its members are volunteers, and provide their own vehicles and fuel without charge.
As a direct result of their service, over 200 people are alive today who would otherwise have died, either at the scene of accidents, or in A&E units.
The grant was Matched Funding for Corinthian Lodge No.1208
The award will be used towards the maintenance of SERV’s own vehicles, provision of uniforms, and essential training of volunteers, so that they can continue their vital life-saving work.
St. Mary’s Church, Sutton Valence
The church needs to extend its role as a focus for community activities, and be used more as a social area for the village. This is severely hindered by the lack of toilet and refreshment facilities. In particular, users of the church have to walk over 100 yards along an unmade path, then cross the road on a dangerous bend to use public toilets.
The funding will go towards providing the facilities needed by the community.
Teddies for Loving Care
The TLC charity supplies teddy bears to A&E units and children’s wards. These are given out by medical staff to children, to calm and comfort them while they receive treatment. The impact of this is significant, enabling medical staff more effectively to treat distressed young people. Around 10,000 bears are issued every year in East Kent hospitals. The children keep the bears when they go home.
The grant will be used towards the purchase of more bears, enabling the charity to continue its work.
6th Whitstable Scouting Group
The Group provides activities for young people of both sexes from the ages of 5 to 21. It owns the premises, so has to maintain and secure them from its own resources and efforts. One area that needs urgent attention is the entrance, where the doors are old, decaying and not secure.
The grant will be used to buy new doors which are secure and fit for purpose. In addition to this, members of Brownrigg Lodge No. 1424 will provide the labour for fitting the doors, as well as carrying out repairs to the centre, and painting the ceiling of the main hall.
Leybourne Grange Riding Centre for the Disabled
Leybourne Grange is a riding centre which provides disabled children with the experience of horse riding, which they would otherwise be unable to enjoy.
The grant, which was Match Funded with Malling Abbey Chapter No. 1063, will help with the maintenance and upkeep of the centre.
Kent Cynophobia Assistance Group
Cynophobia is a morbid fear of dogs. The Group helps children who suffer from the condition, which has a severe impact not only on their lives, but also that of their families. In particular, the children are so afraid of dogs that they may have to go to school in blacked-out cars, never go to the beach or play outside for fear of seeing a dog. They may be physically sick, or put themselves in danger to get away.
The Group’s volunteers run weekly sessions to introduce sufferers to dogs in a controlled, non-threatening environment, using specially trained animals. The grant will help the Group to fund these evenings, providing music, games and treats for the children.
Woodchurch Driving Group
The Group provides horse-drawn carriage driving experiences for disabled adults, some of whom are wheelchair dependent. The sport improves coordination, balance and the sense of wellbeing, and can improve the quality of life. It teaches the disabled to drive, and learn a skill they previously thought impossible due to their disability.
One of the Group’s ponies has suffered from old age and ill-health, and needs to retire in comfort.
The grant will cover the cost of purchasing another pony, as well as the tack, enabling the Group to continue its work.
Disabled Friends & Family Association
The Association was set up to arrange activities for disabled children in East Kent. It organises trips to various events, for which they do not charge the children or their families. In the last year, the Association arranged for 64 children to take part in 18days out, and in addition, 39 children attended two discos, and 25 took part in a sports day.
The grant will help to finance a trip to Euro Disney for the poorest children, many of whom are from families with limited income, and who have never been abroad, and have few opportunities to do so in future.
Margate Parkinsons Association
The Margate Association holds meetings every Friday in Union Church, bringing together those affected by the disease to meet others who are also suffering. In many cases, sufferers feel isolated, and the Association provides an opportunity to share experiences for them and their families, and involves not only therapeutic activities, but presentations by guest speakers.
The grant will help them to continue their programme, which is not funded by the national charity.
This is a Match Funding with Lodge of Rectitude and Harmony No. 9093.
Demelza House Hospice
The grant is from the Freemason’s Grand Charity, which we were delighted to present.
Heart of Kent Hospice
Another grant from the Freemasons’ Grand Charity, which we were also delighted to present.
Bubble Tube Project Children’s A&E
The opening of a new children’s A&E department at Maidstone Hospital provided an opportunity for a local Lodge representative to approach them, to find out if there was any way the Lodge could help. The nurses there responded that the children would benefit from the provision of a sensory bubble tube. This is a six foot tall tube, filled with water, through which bubbles are passed, which change colour with LED lights. It also has toy fish floating around. It provides a distraction and comfort to children who are in very traumatic circumstances. A similar one in Pembury Hospital had proved its worth.
The grant will pay for the new tube at Maidstone, but the Trustees of the CEKFC have agreed that tubes will be supplied to A&E departments and minor injuries units across the Province.
Jamie’s Wish to Walk
Jamie Maynard is a five-year old boy, who was diagnosed with Spastic Diaplegia Cerebral Palsy. He has recently undergone major surgery at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, funded by the NHS. However, the costs of aftercare and rehabilitation will not be met by the State. Jamie’s Mum, Donna and their family are trying to raise the cost of this, estimated at £30,000; beyond the family’s means.
Seventeen Lodges and Chapters across the Province have cooperated to support the appeal, and the CEKFC is delighted to Match Fund their superb efforts.
Councillor Geraldine Dyer, Mayor of Ashford, very kindly attended to support the presentation. The Provincial Grand Master was delighted to present a grant, on behalf of the CEKFC, to Councillor Dyer’s chosen charity, the Pilgrims Hospice, in thanks for her attendance.