A group led by Sue Gow, a fundraiser based in Keighley, West Yorkshire, has been providing toys, educational activities, food, drinks and essential first aid supplies to Syrian children in refugee camps in southern Europe
Many of the children have had no education since fleeing their homes, so Lodge of the Three Graces, No. 408, which meets at Keighley, has helped some of them to join a school in Fethiye, Turkey.
Turkish law demands that such children must be assessed before starting school but a major hurdle to this was the cost of the 160-mile round trip to the nearest assessment centre at Mugla.
The lodge paid for the coach travel, exam costs and food for the journey for 14 children and their parents, as well as new school uniforms and shoes.
Public opening of a New adventure play area designed to be accessible to children of all abilities at an award winning outdoor education centre
This project was the chosen charity of the 2010/11 Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Peter Hill, who is a Nell Bank Trustee and a member of Lodge of the Three Graces No. 408 in Haworth in the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding.
The need was to replace an existing play area that, after hosting up to 20,000 children annually for nearly two decades, had reached the end of its useful life.
The project was to design a structure that would have a much longer lifespan than its predecessor, and which would be accessible to children of all abilities.
Raising money as the true impact of the worldwide recession began to bite was not easy, despite the great generosity of the people of Bradford. At one stage it looked as if the project would have to be scaled down and not fully achieve its goal.
However, an application to West Riding Masonic Charities made by Lodge of the Three Graces and seconded by Victoria Lodge No. 2669 of Bradford, resulted in a truly generous grant of £20,000 being made through the Provincial Grand Master's Fund, and was presented by the Provincial Grand Master, John Clayton.
This sum provided the additional funds to build 'The Tree House Adventure' to its full potential. A unique play area, accessible to children of all abilities, including wheelchair users, and so realise the dream of providing an inclusive play and educational area for generations of children to come.
The Tree House Adventure was declared open on 11th May 2013, the annual Nell Bank public access day, by Nell Bank Trustee Bro Peter Hill, see picture above.
Nell Bank, in Ilkley, is akin to a small village, providing outdoor day and residential education to many local schools and community groups. Some 20,000 children benefit annually from the facilities, but there is an urgent need to replace the present adventure playground with an area that better accommodates children with special needs, as well as wet weather.
The £20,000 grant donated by the lodge will assist with the cost of providing a new play area.