Annual General Meeting of The Freemasons' Grand Charity
9 September 2015
The following individual non-masonic grants were approved:
a. £45,000 to Cure Parkinson’s Trust to fund research into targeting new treatment
b. £50,000 to Diabetes UK to fund the development of a Vaccine for Type 1 diabetes
c. £40,000 to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity to fund research into inflammatory bowel disease
d. £65,000 to Moorfields Eye Charity to fund research into age-related macular degeneration
e. £20,000 to Restore – Burn and Wound Research to fund research into skin allograft acceptance for burn injuries
f. £60,000 to UCL Cancer Institute Research Trust to fund research into the immunology of lung cancer
g. £32,000 to University of Leicester to fund research into the role of visual crowding in reading difficulty across the lifespan
h. £7,500 to Armonico Consort Ltd to fund workshops in Special Educational Needs Schools
i. £22,000 to Canterbury Cathedral Trust to fund an apprentice stonemason
j. £10,000 to Farms for City Children to fund a week on a farm in Devon for inner city children
k. £10,000 to Groundwork UK to fund three Green Teams across the UK
l. £25,000 to StreetGames to fund the ‘Us Girls’ Empowerment Project
m. £15,000 to AbilityNet to fund IT services for older disabled people
n. £20,000 to The Back-Up Trust to fund the salary of the Schools Inclusion Co-ordinator
o. £40,000 to British Lung Foundation to fund the Singing for Lung Health Programme
p. £47,750 to British Wireless for the Blind Fund to fund the replacement of old wireless internet audio players
q. £50,000 to Canine Partners to fund a residential building at the new training centre in Leicestershire
r. £30,000 to Carers Trust to fund the salary of the Policy and Development Manager
s. £15,000 to Jubilee Sailing Trust to fund the Buddy Bursary scheme
t. £25,000 to Listening Books to fund the expansion of the Books for Hospices mini-library service
u. £7,500 to The National Deaf Children’s Society to fund workshops helping deaf children and young people
v. £37,250 to National Star Foundation to fund specialist residential accommodation for people who have severe and complex disabilities
w. £20,000 to The Royal British Legion Poppy Factory to fund an employability consultant
x. £43,000 to Victim Support to fund a volunteer team for the helpline
y. £40,000 to WellChild to fund a Children’s Nurse
z. £5,000 to Blackburn Cathedral to fund the restoration of the Cloister Garth building
aa. £5,000 to St Davids Cathedral to contribute to the upgrade of the seating facilities at the Cathedral
bb. £10,000 to Winchester Cathedral Trust to contribute to the new Learning Development Centre
The following amounts were approved for disposal by the Council of the Grand Charity over the coming six months:
a. £1,261,000 for major non-masonic grants
b. £150,000 for non-masonic grants of £5,000 or less
c. £600,000 for grants to hospice services in 2015 (£500,000 for allocation to adult hospices and £100,000 to children’s hospices)
d. £192,000 for grants to air ambulance and similar rescue services in England, Wales and the Crown Dependencies in 2016
The following Emergency Grants made in the past nine months were reported by the President:
• £30,000 to the British Red Cross for relief work following flooding in the Balkans
• £20,000 to the British Red Cross for relief work following cyclone Pam which struck Vanuatu
• £50,000 to the British Red Cross for relief work following an earthquake in Nepal
Researching with focus
The Masonic Samaritan Fund has dedicated more than £227,000 this year to fund medical research aimed at combating progressive neurological diseases
Many masonic families are coping with the daily challenges of supporting a person affected by the disabling symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or motor neurone disease (MND), for which there are no cures. As well as providing grants to help people living with these illnesses, the MSF supports medical research that aims to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. The MSF makes funding decisions by considering the aims of the research and how closely they align to the needs of the masonic community.
The Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) received £57,207 to advance understanding of the disease that affects mainly men in their fifties to seventies. In England, more than three thousand five hundred people are living with symptoms that have an impact on how they walk, talk, eat and breathe. The MSF has awarded more than £2.4 million to provide mobility aids and equipment to help people with MND and other disabling conditions to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible.
BRACE, a charity that funds research into dementia, received £26,000 to advance a test for early Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Alzheimer’s affects one in fourteen people over the age of sixty-five and one in six over the age of eighty. This condition can often lead to the need for round-the-clock care and the MSF regularly provides respite care grants to offer carers a valued break.
The Cure Parkinson’s Trust received £144,000 to study the impact of a new treatment for the disease. Someone newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s may not need any practical help, but the MSF Counselling Careline offers emotional support and guidance for masonic families coping with a new diagnosis.
With most progressive neurological diseases, symptoms vary from person to person and can sometimes take years to progress to a point where they impede their quality of life. Through funding medical research, the MSF hopes to not only improve the practical support it can offer to masonic families, but make possible revolutionary research that could cure these conditions for future generations.
Freemasons, their wives, partners, widows and dependent family members newly diagnosed with a progressive disease should call the MSF today to discuss preparing to make a grant application.
Chris Tarr, of St Keyna Lodge, No. 1833, which meets in Bristol, has a rare, progressive neurological condition and his wife suffers from multiple sclerosis. Although there are no cures for these conditions, the Province of Somerset and the MSF are proud to have partnered in providing mobility aids and home adaptations to help the couple retain their independence.
‘The support given to me by the MSF, my lodge Almoner and Provincial Almoner has been tremendous,’ said Chris. ‘Together, they fitted an entry platform lift and stairlift, and also provided a wheelchair-accessible car. I’d recommend that anyone who needs specialist equipment not readily available from the NHS, or which is cost prohibited, should talk to their Almoner and see what help is available. Like me, they could be pleasantly surprised.’
Letters to the editor - No. 25 Spring 2014
I was pleased to see in the autumn issue that the Masonic Samaritan Fund is providing important support to research into progressive neurological diseases. My wife Joan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at sixty-seven but she needed care long before that. I was her carer, and eventually twenty-four-hour nurse, at home. Watching her, from when she couldn’t locate a stamp on a letter through to the inability to open her mouth to eat, was traumatic.
I now work to raise awareness and funds for dementia research. I have learned that donated human brain tissue is the gold standard for research, but is in desperately short supply, and so last year I became a donor to the programme called Brains for Dementia Research, which recruits people with and without dementia www.brainsfordementiaresearch.org.uk). When I die, my brain will be used to help researchers better understand the differences between brains with and without dementia, and new donors are always needed.
I am sure many members will have had experience of dementia among their friends and families so will therefore be interested in this, as well as the important support to research from the Masonic Samaritan Fund.
Fred Walker, Caledonian Lodge, No. 204, Manchester, East Lancashire