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Essex Freemasons donate £25,000 to Havering charities

PUBLISHED: 11:08 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:08 08 June 2018

Colin Felton, chatting to nurses and ladies at Saint Francis Hospice. Photo Essex Freemasons

Colin Felton, chatting to nurses and ladies at Saint Francis Hospice. Photo Essex Freemasons

Essex Freemasons

Members donated £20,000 to Saint Francis Hospice and £5,00 to Havering Home Start.

Colin Felton joins the mens table at Saint Francis Hospice. Photo Essex FreemasonsColin Felton joins the mens table at Saint Francis Hospice. Photo Essex Freemasons

Essex Freemasons have donated £25,000 to Havering charities.

Members donated £20,000 to Saint Francis Hospice and £5,00 to Havering Home Start.

The money donated to Saint Francis Hospice will be used to fund a “Bereavement Buddies” pilot programme for the next 12 months.

Given via the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) - the Freemasons own charity- the money will support 150 families across the entire Havering and West Essex area before and following a bereavement.

Colin Felton joins the mens table at Saint Francis Hospice. Photo Essex FreemasonsColin Felton joins the mens table at Saint Francis Hospice. Photo Essex Freemasons

The grant will initially cover the cost of recruiting and training 20 volunteers to act as “Bereavement Buddies”.

The “Bereavement Buddies” will help people feel less lonely and isolated by providing advice and support, or calling in for a cup of tea and a chat - and most importantly - by just being there.

Pam Court from the hospice explained: “People affected by a life-limiting illness often experience feelings of acute social isolation.

“Many find it difficult to talk to friends and family after the loss of a loved one which is why we badly needed this money to fund this vital work.

“We are dependent upon our wonderful volunteers to help deliver our services.

“Last year the total number of hours donated to the hospice by our volunteers was over 128,440 which equates in value, if each person were employed, to just over £1.5 million.

“I would like to personally thank the Essex Freemasons for their very generous grant”.

The money donated to Home Start will help the charity to continue its vital work.

The charity, based at Melville Court, Harold Hill, helps those that have suffered domestic abuse and homelessness, assists in areas such as child protection and poverty and provides crisis support in extreme cases.

Lorraine Clear, scheme manager at Home Start, commented: “The £5,000 from Essex Freemasons could not have come at a better time, particularly as we have had funding withdrawn by the local council.

“We help more than 100 families in the Havering area every year dealing with cases that are referred to us by a wide range of different agencies.”

The charity was set up in the area in 1999 and although mainly staffed by volunteers needs around £100,000 a year to enable it to keep working. The volunteers work with families at a time when they are at their lowest ebb to provide practical help until they can once again cope on their own.

She added: “Each case is different but a typical example is of a woman with a severely disabled child who is about to be evicted from her home.”

“We work with local refugees with women who have suffered abuse and have nowhere else to go, the list is endless.

“We are a practical charity at the sharp end of life and making a difference.”

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