During the past six months, Herefordshire Freemasons have been busy working hard to support various organisations throughout the county with donations totalling in excess of £24,000. This brings the total donated to local charitable causes in 2020 to over £114,000. Michael Holland, the senior Freemason in Herefordshire said, “Like everyone we have been following government regulations and guidelines and had to suspend our regular meetings from mid-March throughout the period of lock down. Despite this we have embraced new communications technology and have continued to maintain contact with one another via virtual meeting platforms, to ensure that we continued our support of local charitable causes.
The organisations that have benefited from the support of the Freemasons during the past six months include Breast Cancer Haven, who were unable to rely on their normal fund raisers suffered a severe drop in their funding as a result of Covid-19, so Herefordshire Freemasons stepped in to help with a donation.
The Herefordshire 4×4 Response Team. A group of voluntary 4×4 vehicle owners who offer their driving skills, their vehicles and also their time to support the local community in times of need. During the first part of the year they have ferried doctors and medical supplies to patients during lockdown and also rescued those stranded during the floods earlier in the year. The team received a donation to support their running costs.
A donation to “For the Love of Scrubs” helped Davina Diamond and her group of volunteers to produce scrubs, scrub bags, scrub caps and headbands for the NHS, and local community. Overall, well in excess of 6,500 items were produced by this energetic band of volunteers.
Coronavirus patients at Hereford County Hospital who are not permitted visitors have benefited from a generous donation from the Caeruleum Club, a group of young Freemasons from all over Herefordshire. The club grabbed the opportunity to assist Wye Valley NHS Trust and help patients at the County Hospital, by donating four Samsung Galaxy A tablets to enable patients being treated at the hospital to stay in touch with loved ones
West Mercia Women’s Aid, who provide specialist advice, support and protection to those who have been affected by domestic abuse have experienced an increase in the number of cases of violence and abuse against women during lockdown. To support their work Herefordshire Freemasons gave a donation towards the refurnishing two houses thereby enabling the refuge to house abused women in a safe and secure environment.
The Burghill Community Academy asked for help from Herefordshire Freemasons to fund the installation of a Wendy house in the play area for the younger members of the school to use during their free time and also to move and refurbish the climbing wall for the older children. Following a donation, the project is now due for completion mid-October.
The good work provided by the St Martin’s church branch of the Hereford Diocese’s Food Bank also received a donation to help buy supplies for the bags of food they provide to those in urgent need.
Vennture, a voluntary group also received a donation to help their night-time team of Street Pastors engage with and help distressed people on the streets of Hereford, by providing First Aid and counselling, thus reducing the drain on the already overstretched emergency services.
A request for support was received from the Ross-on-Wye Community Development Trust who work towards unlocking the potential of the local community by encouraging everyone to become a good neighbour. With a financial donation towards supporting the gathering of food donations, providing a telephone support line and their good neighbours scheme. They were able to go on delivering groceries to those who are unable to go out and the vulnerable due to lockdown in the Ross area. Early in the lockdown Ross Good Neighbours also launched a campaign to encourage the wearing of face coverings in shops and other enclosed areas. Their recommendation is to use washable face masks as these avoid wastage.
The Marches Counselling Services who focus on supporting residents in Herefordshire and the Marches who, because of mental or physical ill health, social or economic circumstances, or disability, are suffering from psychological distress and/or disorder. They like many charities were not able to work face to face as they would normally like to because of social distancing. They approached the Herefordshire Freemasons for help to buy suitable computer equipment to enable their counsellors to be able to communicate with their clients. The Freemasons donation will help the Marches Counselling Services continue to do their good work.
Riding for Disabled provide riding therapy sessions to people 5-85 years old who have a wide range of disabilities or with additional needs. With a donation towards buying a new horse they will be able to go on enhancing the experience of those attending the sessions.
The amounts donated to each of these good causes range from just under £1,000 to well over £3,000.