Freemasons across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight helped raise £1million to support those in need during the COVID pandemic in 2020.
The money raised by the organisation in England and Wales helped communities by funding foodbanks and PPE and supporting carers, hospitals and hospices, women’s refuges, and NHS workers.
Members also worked 18.5 million hours as volunteers, and others adapted their businesses to make essential items. Tens of thousands of pieces of PPE have been produced and procured.
A thousand electronic tablets were donated to hospitals, hospices, and care homes so people could stay in touch with their families, and 2,000 women fleeing domestic abuse were supported, with 300,000 meals and 38 tonnes of food donated to the homeless, refuges and vulnerable people, supporting more than 120,000 individuals. A further £560,000 was donated to provide meals and support foodbanks.
As part of the national effort Freemasons across Hampshire and Isle of Wight have played their part.
Jon Whitaker, who heads the local Freemasons, said:
“Freemasons across our province have worked tirelessly since the pandemic began.
“We’ve been active in all our communities helping where we can and making donations to those who need it.
“We have sadly seen some of our members pass away due to Covid and that has motivated us to work harder.
“As Freemasons we believe in helping our communities and I’m proud to say that’s what we’ve done.”
Dr David Staples, chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), said:
“Our response to the Pandemic shows what Freemasonry is all about; supporting those in need, giving back to our communities and volunteering where it can make a real difference.
“Freemasons have been doing this for over 300 years and I am proud of the time and commitment that our members have given to support the nation in its fight against Covid-19.”
In addition to the £1m donated in 2020, the Freemasons have committed a further £2.1m to support the ongoing Covid-19 crisis response. Of that £2.1m, £850,000 has been allocated to support homeless people through several charities with which UGLE partners.
More than 40,000 homeless individuals are being provided with food and essentials, transport, help with accessing services such as counselling and healthcare, as well as employment and training opportunities.