PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE OF BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
Dear Brother Charity Steward and Secretary September 2015
I hope everyone has enjoyed some form of Masonic rest during the summer and is now ready for the season to start. This is my last Provincial Charity Steward newsletter before handing over the role to W Bro Ron King at the our Provincial meeting on 26th October, W Bro Ron King, I know, will have everyone’s full support in carrying out his new role as Provincial Grand Charity Steward and is taking over in some very exciting times for the Masonic Charities.
There are a number of things which I would like to bring to your attention and would be grateful as always if this could be circulated to all members of your Lodge. This ensures that every member is aware of our charitable activities and what is happening in our Province. Our Charitable work is something we can all be very proud of and something we need to share.
THE NEW MASONIC CHARITY
At the Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge on Wednesday, 9 September, the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes announced the name of the new Charity which is to be called
“THE MASONIC CHARITABLE FOUNDATION”
This Charity will bring together the work of the four existing central Masonic Charities. It will continue to offer the same support and services to those Freemasons and family members who need help, as well as support for the non-Masonic charitable causes that the Craft wishes to assist. The Masonic Charitable Foundation will be one of the largest charities in the country and will rely on the generosity of Freemasonry for its funds. It is anticipated that the Masonic Charitable Foundation will be registered with the Charity Commission as soon as possible and that it will begin making grants from 1 April 2016. The proposals remain subject to the approval of some existing Charity members. A shadow board of trustees comprising individuals from the existing Charities is overseeing the creation of the new charity and the transition into a single organisation. Further announcements about the Masonic Charitable Foundation will be made available over the next few months.
I would urge all Buckinghamshire Freemasons to visit www.mcf.org.uk for more information. This site has an excellent question page which will answer any queries you may have or concerns. There is a sign up page to receive the latest information from the Charity which I would recommend to all members.
THE NEXT FESTIVAL 2021
This leads us very neatly on to our next Festival. As we all hopefully know, our next Festival starts next year and finishes in October 2021 , I am delighted to report that we will be one of two Provinces to be the first to start a Festival for the new “MASONIC CHARITABLE FOUNDATION” next year, which is a great honour but also comes with it a great responsibility. I know our new Provincial Charity Steward will be working towards a series of Festival Workshops in January to help all Lodges launch their own Festival Campaign and to make it a success. Please remember we have a Festival every 11 years; in 2010 we raised £2.6 million for the RMTGB. In the past 11 years the Province of Buckinghamshire has received £2.75 million in support from the 4 Masonic Charities. This only proves that money raised by the Festival system does come back into the Province to help charities and individuals in need. Please look out for more information over the coming months. The Festival is a chance for all Buckinghamshire Freemasons and all Lodges to come together and work towards one objective. Planning for the Festival is well under way and we will be drafting a launch pack for all Lodges hopefully by the end of the year.
I would urge all Lodges and individual members to continue to put money in their relief chests in readiness for the Festival. Early next year there will be a designated relief chest set up specifically for our Festival, details of this will be sent out later in the year with the launch packs to all Lodges. It is hoped that all Brethren will want to take out a monthly covenant directly into this relief chest, all donations can then be attributed to those individual members and their Lodges. The use of this relief chest will make life easier for Lodges and easier to ensure that donations are attributed correctly.
Our new Provincial Charity Steward and his Festival team have a lot of hard work ahead of them in planning the start of this Festival and with every member’s support and every Lodges support it will make the 2021 Festival a huge success. Only by everyone working and supporting together can we hope to repay the confidence placed in us by Grand Lodge in allowing us to be one of first Provinces to raise money for the new MASONIC CHARITABLE FOUNDATION.
GIFT AID ENVELOPES
I am delighted to report that more and more Lodges are using the “Gift Aid” envelope scheme and thereby increasing the amount they raise for charity. I know some Lodges struggle with the system and prefer their own tried and tested ways, but receiving 25% extra on all donations into your relief chest is something which should be encouraged in all Lodges. Please use the link below to find out how simple it is. “Gift Aid” envelopes will be made available at all main centres across the Province in the bar areas. If you would like some sent to you directly please contact me or Grand Lodge which will also send you some.
The best practice for the use of “Gift Aid” envelopes is either to collect the Alms at the Festive Board, placing a gift aid envelope on everyone’s place setting, or putting one of each chair in the Temple before the meeting. Please remember that raffle money cannot be gift aided, it can still be put into your relief chest but would not attract tax relief.
If you are not using it in your Lodge please consider it now in readiness for the start of the Festival.
I am pleased to report on the amazing work by W Bro Mel Shah who heads up the Provincial Teddies for Loving Care “TLC programme”. .Donations from Lodges last year amounted to £4250.00 which allowed us to supply 2520 teddy bears to the A&E units at Milton Keynes, Stoke Mandeville and Wexham Park Hospitals as well as the Florence Nightingale Hospice, Young Carers Christmas Lunch and the Pride of Bucks.
This is an ongoing appeal and for Buckinghamshire Freemasonry to continue supporting this programme we need to raise a similar amount of funds every year. We all understand that there are numerous calls on the generosity of every Lodge in the Province. However, if every Lodge in the Province donated just £75 we would raise £8775 and enable us not only to repeat our successes of last year, but go on and help more children in time of need. W Bro Mel Shah would be delighted to receive any donations and can be contacted at email@example.com.
CHEQUE PRESENTATION EVENINGS
Our New Provincial Charity Steward is very keen to keep up the tradition in Buckinghamshire of holding Cheque Presentation evenings. The last one in Bletchley earlier in the year saw £102,000 donated by Buckinghamshire Lodges to good causes. The next Charity Cheque night will be in the south of the Province in January and details will be sent to all Lodges inviting them to come along with their nominated charities. Further details will be with you in the coming months.
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE MASONIC CENTENARY FUND
The BMCF continues to support local charities and good causes in Buckinghamshire and it is a big thank you to all of those Lodges who have sponsored applications. Since its beginning in 1992 the BMCF has donated over £1.2 million pounds in the name of Buckinghamshire Freemasonry. This charity is funded by our £3 per member, per year voluntary donations. Reminders have been sent to all Lodges and I would be very grateful if you could all check that your Lodge has looked at making their contribution to allow us to continue supporting your charities. I am sure our Treasurer, W Bro Warren Gell would be delighted to receive all and any donations.
It has been an honour and pleasure to serve the Province as Provincial Grand Charity Steward for the past 4 years and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all Charity Stewards, Secretaries, members of all Lodges, our Provincial Grand Almoner, W Bro Phil Blacklaw and not forgetting the Provincial Executive for supporting me so well. It has been an amazing journey and one I have enjoyed every single day. I am looking forward to handing over W Bro Ron King who from his well-known zeal and enthusiasm will take our charitable activities within the Province to new heights. I look forward to seeing all those who can attend at our Provincial Meeting on Monday 26th October.
Sincerely and Fraternally
W Bro Graham Dearing PAGDC Provincial Grand Charity Steward
41 Elham Way, Aylesbury Bucks, HP219XN
Telephone: 07968 120767 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org