£45,000 given in grants to sixteen local charities, community groups and needy individuals

Recipients of Awards from the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons' Charity after the presentations.

Recipients of Awards from the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity after the presentations.

A sunny and hot Saturday in June saw the Charles Dickens School in Broadstairs generously hosting the Summer 2015 presentations to recipients of grants from the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity.

In the presence of around 200 people, including the Mayor of Broadstairs & St. Peter’s, Councillor Rosalind Binks, and Mr Craig Mackinley, Member of Parliament for South Thanet, the Head of the Freemasons in East Kent, Geoffrey Dearing, presented awards totalling over £45,000.

The Provincial Grand Master introduced the representative of each recipient, presented a cheque, and invited them to outline the work that they were doing in our communities. The narratives from the recipients were truly inspiring, detailing how much work is being done for the most needy within our communities. No one present failed to be moved by the commitment and enthusiasm of the volunteers for these groups.

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.

Overall, it was a superb day, which firmly cements the work of the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity, and indeed the Freemasons of the Province, at the heart of our communities.

Details of the grants awarded are:

Pilgrims’ Hospices – £20,000

Pilgrims’ Hospices provide specialist care to patients and families across East Kent.

Their vision for hospice care is that everyone should have access to the services they need to cope with illness that cannot be cured and make the most of the time they have.

At the end of May, the Hospice organized an “It’s a Knockout” event to raise funds. Forty Members of the Province participated in teams of 10 to raise money for the two-year training costs of a specialist hospice nurse. Sponsorships from Lodges and Chapters, together with a grant from the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity meant that the training costs for two nurses have been met.



Look Ahead Care & Support – £1,000

The charity provides floating support workers for clients of the NHS Kent Mental Health Services.

A lady enduring mental health problems had been deceived out of her savings of £15,000 by a crooked local builder. As a result, the lady (who cannot be named for reasons of client confidentiality) was left without water and heating in her home.

The lady’s Look Ahead support worker contacted the CEKFC and recommended a reputable builder who was able to carry out the necessary work to repair the plumbing and electrical problems and to install an oven. Our grant met the costs of this, and has enabled the lady to return to some normality in her own home.



St John the Baptist Church, Margate – £1,000

The Grade 1 Listed church is the oldest building in Margate. It seeks to bring people nearer to God by spreading the gospels, providing services of worship and also services of Baptism, Marriage and Funerals and others as required.

Following the theft of lead from the roof, the church suffered severe damage to lighting, woodwork and the stone structure. Although insurance covered the cost of the lead roof, it did not extend to the internal repairs.

The grant will help to bring the church back to its former glory as a centre for community use.



St John Ambulance Brigade – £250

St John Ambulance is the nation’s leading first aid charity, and is well known for the attendance at many public and private events to provide on-the-spot support, including events of the Province of East Kent.

The grant will enable the Brigade to continue its vital work, by purchasing upgraded personal radios and other equipment.



Demelza House Children’s Hospice – £8,000

The Hospice provides care and respite for young people with life-limiting and life- threatening conditions, as well as support for their families. As with other hospices, it depends largely on donations, fundraising and legacies to continue in operation.

Despite being voluntary funded, it has to meet statutory requirements relating to staff qualification and training. The grant will cover the costs of mandatory training for one year of its palliative care nurses and care assistants, freeing-up other donations to be used for other needs.



Hi Kent – £1,000

The charity provides advice, guidance, support and practical solutions to the 300,000 people in Kent who are living with a hearing loss, to make them aware of all the help that is available to help them live full, enriched lives, socially and at work. This is achieved through volunteers reaching out into the community, giving hearing aid support, lip-reading and sign language classes and advice to clients.

The grant will help towards the purchase of a small Ford Fiesta van for use by Hi Kent’s East Kent Volunteer Coordinator, whose job is to coordinate the running of their clinics.



The Grace Charity – £350

The charity gives support to sufferers of M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). While much of the advice and support is available through their website, it is very helpful for sufferers of the disease to have physical documentation to give to their GPs, dentists and so on, to make them aware of the impact on medical needs.

The grant will be used to fund the production of literature and documents to assist and inform patients, as well as briefing leaflets for their medical practitioners.



Pegasus Play Scheme – £2,000

Pegasus brings able-bodied teenage volunteers together with disabled or disadvantaged young people to work and play, sharing experiences to benefit them all. Its primary objective is the provision of an annual play scheme for disabled children and young adults aged between 8 and 25 years old. The project runs each summer with a small team of adult volunteers, a paid coordinator and four paid group leaders.

The grant will go towards meeting these objectives, ensuring that the summer events go ahead as planned.


Daisy Dukes Appeal – £1,000

Daisy is a two-year old baby girl who was born with a rare neurological disorder, Rett Syndrome, which will affect her ability to walk, talk and have normal use of her hands. Her father, David Caister, explained that this has had a devastating effect on him and his wife, Meena, as well as their other children, but they are doing all they can to support this delightful little girl. Research has shown that children with Rett do not have brain damage. They know and understand much more than their bodies allow them to show, but they are locked in, trapped by a body that cannot obey signals from their brains. The condition is incurable at present, although work is in progress to identify genetic treatments that hopefully will arrest and reverse the impact.

In the meantime, Daisy’s parents have been raising money to purchase Tobii Eye Gaze technology, which will allow her to use her eyes to communicate and learn. This has a total cost of around £12,500, which they have almost raised, although there will be ongoing costs. Once they have this, they will be working to raise money to help other children suffering from the condition.

The grant will ensure that they can purchase the Tobii system for Daisy, enriching her quality of life by enabling communication with others.



KM Charity Team – £500

The Charity Team seeks to promote healthy lifestyles in children in Kent and Medway (particularly primary age ones) and their families. To date they have had an emphasis on developing and encouraging on ‘Walk to School’ schemes. As well as helping to limit the spread of obesity, the schemes have had a significant impact on the use of cars for the school runs. There have also been benefits in terms of overall exercise and nutrition improvements, and the development of children’s road safety skills. This is a particular problem area, as high road casualties occur among children as they start secondary school, after having been driven to primary schooling.

The Team is now extending its work to literacy, in particular relating to boys, many of whom lack a male role model for reading skills, and therefore come to regard it as “uncool”.

The grant will help with the re-design of the KM School Portal, which is the web hub that schools log into for information on literacy initiatives and resources.


Margate Sea Cadets – £700

The Sea Cadets provide a social and educational outlet for youth in the community, passing on knowledge of skills in canoeing, sailing and rowing, along with communications skills and basic first aid. Together, these foster a sense of self-worth, as well as experience in working with others on a team basis.

Although a national organization, each area functions as a separate charity, responsible for raising its own funds.

The grant will be used to repair the Cadets’ RIB, as well as replacing the tyres on the Group’s Land Rover.



SkillForce – Grand Charity Grant

This is a charity that works in partnership with schools, drawing upon the skills of predominantly ex- Forces personnel, to inspire young people to succeed. SkillForce is working with 150 schools in England, Scotland and Wales. It is particularly active in schools in East Kent. Their approach is to engage, prepare and develop young people, providing role models and helping them take the next steps in their lives.

The charity gets results because they understand that students need a tailored approach to their individual development. Instructors use activity-based learning in the classroom and activities beyond it to inspire. They have a range of programmes tailored to individual age groups, each young person’s needs, as well as the school or education provider. Their charitable fundraising subsidises the cost of programmes in schools.

The grant will enable them to continue their vital work in helping young people who are in danger of becoming disenfranchised and disillusioned, enabling them to discover and fulfil their own potential.



The Parents Consortium – £1,684.40

This is a branch of a charity which provides comprehensive support to families of children with any form of physical, learning or sensory impairment. It covers those living in Dartford, Gravesend, Swanley and surrounding areas. Support includes a family advice service, provision of short breaks for disabled children and their siblings, and a direct payment service to those families entitled to it.

The Consortium is looking to raise £60,000 to cover the cost of summer events this year. Erasmus Wilson Lodge in Gravesend adopted them as one of its chosen beneficiaries, raising over £1,400 from members. Under the Matched Funding scheme, the CEKFC supplemented this with the maximum of £250, to make the total awarded.

The grant will help towards the Consortium’s objective of providing events this summer.



Oasis Domestic Abuse Service – £1,000

Operating in Kent, Oasis supports service users through the provision of a safe house for women and children who find they have no option but to flee their homes to escape abuse. The charity helps victims to be resettled into the local community after a period of support and readjustment in the refuge. Oasis also has a community team dedicated to supporting those experiencing domestic abuse to remain in their own homes, by giving support with financial, emotional and legal issues.

Although the main public focus is on abused women, it is more often the children of abuse victims who suffer most, and who have no real voice. The grant will provide financial assistance towards the formation of a Play Therapy project to support these children.



The Maidstone Nepalese Ladies Community – £5,000

The Community is the charity formed by the ladies of Gurkha soldiers based in Maidstone. They support a range of local charitable causes in the community. Following the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal, they have been attempting to gather resources to relieve the needs of families and dependants back in Nepal.

The Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity, recognising the part the Gurkhas and their families have in our communities in East Kent, agreed to a grant of £5,000 from the Charity’s Disaster Relief Fund. The money, which was urgently needed, and has already been disbursed, has been spent:

  • £500 to buy tarpaulins to be used to build emergency shelters
  • £1,300 in providing emergency clinic accommodation
  • £1,300 has gone towards providing emergency help to a school where 20 pupils died and another 20 were made orphans
  • A further sum has gone to assist a local monastery which was totally destroyed and which itself provides help and assistance to the local community.

Overall, the grant has been used to support five separate areas in Nepal.



Cherished Memories – £1,000

The charity arranges high profile days of family bonding for life limited children; each event is video recorded and a DVD sent to each family as a cherished memory of their day. Events arranged in the past have been Formula 1 days, flights on RAF in-flight refueling missions, a BAFTA ceremony for the children, and a mass “wedding” ceremony for children that will not live long enough to get married.

Suzette Abbott founded Cherished Memories in 1993 after the death of her father from cancer. She has now been operating for 19 years and has 520 terminally ill and severely disabled children on her books, the majority of whom are put forward by hospices or personal referrals. The cost of each event is around £500.

The grant will finance two events, bringing cherished memories, comfort and enjoyment to families facing a devastating time.


You can see a video of the work they do at: