The latest edition of the Link Magazine is now available online.
Just before the pandemic took hold and lockdowns were introduced, The Berkshire Masonic Charity were proud to support Home-Start Bracknell Forest with a grant to enable them to take the families they support on a well deserved break for the day. Details from March 2020 can be found here.
Home-Start Bracknell Forest is a dedicated local charity who help and support families who are experiencing difficulties or suffering stress for a variety of reasons such as parenting skills in bringing up young children, domestic abuse, bereavement and divorce to name just a few life events that make life challenging for parents.
The Bracknell charity focuses on supporting families with at least one child under the age of 5 years with the sole aim of to help give such children the best possible start in life and support parents as they grow in confidence, strengthen their relationships with their children and widen their links within the local community.
Due to the lockdowns, these events had not been able to take place, but last month they were finally able to arrange an event to take 17 families (81 people) by coach to 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park & Family Farm. The families thoroughly enjoyed the days out, providing an exciting day for the children and much needed support for the families. The charity are grateful to Berkshire Masons for their support in enabling events like this to take place.
“Thank you so much for such a brilliant day. The Home-Start staff were amazing organising such a fantastic trip. The kids loved it so much they didn’t want to leave! Thank you to everyone.”Feedback from a family on the day
Home-Start Bracknell Forest are always on the lookout for volunteers to help with their work. Through the engagement with the charity with previous donations Alan Dorling of Bracknell Lodge volunteered to join them two years ago and following the initial training is finding his time with them very rewarding and enjoyable.
One of Freemasonry’s core values is Charity and the centrepiece of this year’s review is a graphic illustrating some of the ways in which the money we have contributed through our alms collections, raffles and Relief Chest donations, was used during the past year.
A full page article is devoted to the report and photographs of the presentation of an £18,000 grant from the MCF Covid-19 Community Fund to the Newbury Soup Kitchen. The food delivery vehicle purchased with the grant was officially opened by Will Young, Patron of the charity in the presence of RW Anthony Howlett-Bolton OBE, PGM and representatives from the Newbury-based Lodges.
Staying with the motor vehicle theme there is a report on how the Windsor Community First Response Vehicle has helped to relieve pressure on the South Central Ambulance Service. Freemasons from The Christopher Wren Lodge donated the vehicle which is staffed by 8 specially trained volunteers.
Berkshire Freemasons have helped to equip Berkshire Scouts with PCR manikins to help with the scouts first aid training. The Freemasons also funded the purchase of a defibrillator for the local Scouts.
The Reading Toy Run was given the use of the Masonic Centres at Sindlesham and Wokingham as collection centres for the toys. Freemason “bikers” from Berkshire and Buckinghamshire helped with marshalling at the centres and with the toy collection.
The Berkshire Masonic Charity continued the purchase of Teddy Bears under the Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) scheme. The gift of a TLC bear helps injured children to cope with the upset of being taken to hospital.
Of course, all this help to worthy causes needs funding, a large part of which comes through Provincial Festivals such as our own Berkshire 2023 Festival; each province under the UGLE holds a festival every 11 years.
Deputy PGM and Festival 2023 Chairman, Peter Sands, reports on the progress made towards our £1.9M target. Despite the pandemic disrupting the planned programme of activities, we have achieved almost 60% of that figure.
The report also includes details of the 21st-Century methods in which donations can now be made. Scanning a QR code on a smartphone or by connecting to the linked URL on a laptop, PC or iMac makes it easy to contribute, the Gift Aid option available means that taxpayers can increase the value of their contribution at no extra cost. Including the QR code and URL on the lodge communications such as meeting minutes or summons’ would simplify the collection of contributions.
The second workshop for Lodge Membership Officers
is on 6th November 2021
The outline programme for the day is
- 09:00 – 09:30 Registration & coffee, main entrance Flavell Suite
- 09:30 – 09:45 Welcome and Introductions Flavell Suite
- 09:45 – 10:30 Workshop activity
- 10:30 – 11:15 Coffee break with hot rolls & tour of event resources
- 11:15 – 12:00 Workshops
- 12:00 – 12:45 Q & A session
- 12:45 – 13:00 Workshop closes
For more details contact firstname.lastname@example.org
They are back!
We at Enlightenment Live are pleased to announce our 4th edition, “Valour & Fortitude”
We hope that our “Teaser Trailer” excites you to attend…
Don’t miss the opportunity to join the belated Centenary Celebration of The Victory Lodge No. 3954
The Freemasons have signed the Armed Forces Covenant during a ceremony at Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden on 20 October led by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent.
The partnership aims to support members of the Armed Forces community and ensure they have the same access to government as well as commercial services and products as any other citizen.
By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) will be able to demonstrate its support to members of the Armed Forces in a number of areas, including education, family wellbeing, getting a home, starting a new career, access to healthcare, financial assistance and discounted services.
UGLE has a strong Armed Forces background through its military Lodges. This partnership therefore represents an important step in further supporting both active and retired military personnel. Important Armed Forces personnel such as Admiral Sir Peter Parker, Francis Rawden-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, General Viscount Kitchener of Khartoum, Lieutenant Elias Henry Jones, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Cyril Louis Norton Newall, Commodore Wilfred Henderson and Thomas William Gould VC were all well-known Freemasons.
UGLE’s Grand Master, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent, has a longstanding relationship with the military. In 1955, The Duke of Kent graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as a Second Lieutenant. That was only the beginning of a military career that lasted more than 20 years.
He was promoted to Captain in 1961 and after having served in Hong Kong, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent was promoted again to Major in 1967. Three years later, he commanded a squadron of his regiment serving in the British Sovereign Base Area in Cyprus. In 1970, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent, also served in Northern Ireland, before being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 30 June 1973.
The Duke retired from active service on 15 April 1976. He was subsequently promoted to Major General on 11 June 1983 and to Field Marshal on 11 June 1993.
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent, said: “It is my great pleasure to sign the Armed Forces Covenant on behalf of the United Grand Lodge of England. This document represents part of our ongoing commitment to support active and retired military personnel. We are proud of our long-standing relationship with the Armed Forces and we will continue to promote their welfare, support, and respect amongst all our members.”
By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, UGLE demonstrates its intention to support the Armed Forces community which, in turn, allows UGLE to be recognised by the UK government’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). An ERS award shows that the recipient is delivering tangible support for the Armed Forces community.
Major General Simon Graham, Director Reserves Army, signing of behalf of the Military of Defence, said: “The Armed Forces Covenant is a commitment to support those who have served and their families. The support of employers and making a public pledge of support to the Armed Forces community that they are valued by society is vital. This year we celebrate the Armed Forces Covenant’s 10th anniversary, and for centuries the United Grand Lodge of England has a solid connection to the Armed Forces, and it makes perfect sense for us to have the Freemasons signing up to Armed Forces Covenant this year. I’d like to thank the United Grand Lodge of England for supporting the Armed Forces community.”
Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive, said: “It is a great honour to be able to sign the Armed Forces Covenant. From its earliest foundations, Freemasonry has always had a strong relationship with the Armed Forces. Today, we want to thank those brave men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our country and the people who live here. They deserve all our thanks, our respect and this is one of many steps we aim to take in helping both active and retired members of the Armed Forces and their families.”
On the 7th November, at the Provincial Drumhead Remembrance service the RW Provincial Grand Master will also sign the Armed Forces Covenant on behalf of Berkshire Freemasonry.