“It is wonderful to see the money which has come from the pockets of Freemasons through their charitable giving being used to support such a good cause.” These were the words of Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger on receiving the news that the Ulverston based St Mary’s Hospice has been successful in applying for a grant of £19,995 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
In partnership with Hospice UK, the Masonic Charitable Foundation had invited bids for funding from hospices who wished to extend and develop bereavement services to expand vital support for bereaved families and individuals.
Applications were received from 90 hospices throughout England and Wales with the St Mary’s bid being one of the nine successful ones. Head of clinical services at the hospice Jo Blake was responsible for submitting the bid.
Jo explained: “We have been considering various options of how to engage with bereaved people who may benefit from counselling or simply an opportunity to talk with someone but are reluctant to do so. It is principally, but not exclusively, men that this applies to. The ‘Make Do and Mend’ project will see bereaved people given an opportunity to work at our furniture outlet in Barrow. Donations of furniture are received at the premises with some needing a little repair or re-painting. With the donation we are going to adapt a room we have at the rear of the warehouse into a place where repairs/renovations can be undertaken. It is hoped that this will encourage the recently bereaved to get out of the house and meet with people who are going through similar emotions to themselves. The atmosphere may help some of them air feelings they are trying to bottle up, safe in the knowledge that they are in the company of others who will understand what they are going through. Counselling will be on hand should anyone wish to take advantage of it.”
David, along with Furness and South Lakeland Group Chairman Peter Schofield and group charity steward Richard Wilcock, visited the Duke Street premises to learn more about the project. They met with head of retail Caroline Welch who gave them a tour of the warehouse.
Caroline commented: “It is really satisfying that the retail arm, rather than being simply a fund-raising part of the hospice, can now be involved in helping to provide palliative care. It is an exciting and new development. We are very grateful to the Freemasons for their help in funding the scheme.”
Afterwards David added: “We are looking forward to returning when the work is done and ‘Make Do and Mend’ is ready to launch. Jo and her team are to be congratulated on not only developing this innovative scheme but on submitting a bid of such a high standard that it was successful in the face of much competition. It also gives us 19,995 reasons to support the MCF 2021 Festival.”
With the local press and Radio Cumbria in attendance it can be ensured that the work of our national charity will reach an audience outside of Masonic circles.