9th MARCH 2022

HRH The Earl of Wessex and HRH The Duke of Kent to celebrate The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award donation at Freemasons’ Hall

More than 30,000 young people with disabilities and special educational needs (SEND) will be able to do their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, thanks to a three-year strategic partnership, which will donate a total of £300,000 from the Freemasons. To make this partnership with the DofE possible, the UGLE has teamed up with the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). The MCF became a strategic partner of the DofE in 2021 and has funded a new national programme to upskill its team and volunteers. The programme also helps enroll more schools and clubs which support young people with SEND, to ensure all young people have access to the DofE. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip), who founded the DofE in 1956, was himself a Freemason and was initiated into Navy Lodge, No 2612 on 5 December 1952. The ambition is to use the funds to increase the number of centres, such as schools and youth groups, offering DofE to young people with SEND and to train hundreds of Leaders who can support groups of young people through their DofE journeys.

Dr David Staples, UGLE's Chief Executive, said: “Freemasons are enormously proud to have counted His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, as a member of the Navy Lodge since 1952. Their fondness and respect were abundantly clear from the response to the launch of this appeal, and we are delighted that the funds raised will be put to such good use.” Les Hutchinson, Chief Executive of the MCF, added: “Charity is in our DNA and something we practise every time we meet. In just a few years, we have already awarded grants totalling £100 million and supported over 3,000 charities; with grants ranging from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of pounds, including the grant we are celebrating today.”

Caroline Glen, Director of Fundraising for the DofE, said: “We’re very grateful to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for their generous grant, which will give many thousands of young people with disabilities and special educational needs the chance to take part in the DofE and gain its life-changing benefits. This is a wonderful and very practical way to continue The Duke’s amazing legacy and to spread the benefits of the DofE further than ever before.”

The programme has been designed to make DofE participation possible for young people with additional needs. It will help young people build crucial life skills, develop employability skills and become more independent. The impact of achieving a DofE Award is remarkable and often life-changing for young people with additional needs, who can be excluded from adventurous activities due to a lack of accessible equipment, facilities, trained support staff and funding.


4th MARCH 2022

Thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of their country will be given food, warm clothing and a place to stay, thanks to a £50,000 grant to the British Red Cross from Suffolk Freemasons and other Provinces

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF, the Freemasons’ Charity) and the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) have been monitoring the growing refugee crisis of over a million Ukrainian people who have been forced from their country and hundreds of thousands more who have been internally displaced from their homes. As the situation in Ukraine deteriorates, trains leaving major cities like Kyiv for the border are packed. Huge queues are growing at border crossing points with reports of many families waiting days in freezing temperatures to reach neighbouring states.

If the situation continues to worsen, the UN Refugee Agency has said it fears millions more people could end up seeking safety in other countries. Already, Red Cross teams in neighbouring countries including Poland, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania, have been providing urgent support to these refugees. In Poland, where hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have already sought safety, the Polish Red Cross has begun to establish temporary accommodation centres for new arrivals which can hold up to 400 people each. Similar responses have begun in Moldova, where in Chisinau, the Moldovan Red Cross has opened a shelter that can house up to 800 people, and in Slovakia, where the Slovak Red Cross has put up tents to house arrivals at the border crossing point in Ubla.

In addition to shelter, Red Cross teams are also providing food, hygiene items and warm clothing to those arriving. The Romanian Red Cross has deployed volunteers from branches along the border to distribute food, water, basic aid items and hygiene products to people in need. In Hungary, the Red Cross has 300 volunteers ready to help people crossing the border, many of whom have been preparing parcels containing bedding and hygiene items, and establishing information and first aid points. Suffolk Freemasons contributed to the grant through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Luke Tredget, Head of Emergencies, Surge and Technical Advisory from the Red Cross, said: “We’re very grateful to the Freemasons for this generous grant which makes a major contribution to the Red Cross relief effort for Ukrainian refugees. “Most of those fleeing the fighting are women and children who have been queueing on the border in sub-zero temperatures for as long as 60 hours. They’re in urgent need of support and the Red Cross has teams on the ground doing everything possible to help.”

Rick Orme from Suffolk Freemasons, said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help the British Red Cross in their relief effort for the hundreds of thousands of refugees running from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These poor people are cold, hungry and utterly exhausted and I’m proud that Freemasons are able to assist in providing the support they need.”

Anyone wishing to support Ukraine can donate via the Relief Chest online appeal page at
For more information on the British Red Cross please visit

22nd FEBRUARY 2022

Freemasons donate almost £5m to help UK overcome the pandemic

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) has awarded more than £4.7m through four Covid-19 relief programmes, focusing on community support, food support, domestic abuse, homelessness and mental health. Covid-related donations from Freemasons began in 2020 and since then they have contributed a total of £4.7m to help those in need. The donations are being used to help communities in various critical areas, including foodbanks, support for unpaid carers, personal protective equipment (PPE), schools, mental health, homelessness, supplies for hospitals and hospices, domestic abuse, tablets, funds for NHS workers, ambulances and equipment. To support the community, Freemasons also worked 18 million hours as volunteers in a range of different areas where there was a need, including driving vulnerable people to hospital, preparing meals, taking care of people at risk and organising care packages, as well as producing scrubs, PPE and hand sanitiser.

The UGLE, governing body for Freemasons in England and Wales, helped to provide essentials to vulnerable people and those that were shielding, activity packs for isolated older people and young children, podcast recordings for those affected by vision impairment. They also donated care packages for care home and NHS staff, hardship grants for those in need, home comforts for Covid-19 patients, and transport and equipment provision for medical professionals responding in the community. In addition, at least 141,150 visors and face masks have been donated, alongside more than 3,000 sets of scrubs and gowns to hospitals, care settings and hospices. Also, more than 130,000 meals have been provided for those in need and approximately 60 food banks have been supported. Meanwhile, to help protect women and children from domestic abuse, Freemasons donated more than £165,000 in 2020. During the Covid-19 lockdowns, the donations helped more than 2,000 women, with parcels containing essential items for those fleeing domestic abuse.

To support mental health issues, more than 130,000 children and young people are currently being supported by the Freemasons. Alongside this, almost 1,400 adults benefited from better support. The programme is assisting those in need by giving 100,000 children and young people access to information, support and guidance online. In addition, children are also being supported with mentoring and skills workshops. Teachers, professionals and parents are being supported via three projects, offering mental health first-aid training, learning events and parental support.

Concurrently, Freemasons are supporting homeless people with more than 30 different initiatives. A total of 39 charities have been helped. Of these, 15 individual Emmaus organisations have received grants. The funds have provided accommodation to 1,080 individuals, while 300 people have been supplied with food daily and 250 with food weekly. They have also been given access to services such as counselling, and employment and training opportunities. Elsewhere, to support thousands of families struggling during the crisis, Freemasons donated 300,000 meals and 38 tonnes of food to homeless people, women’s refuges and vulnerable people, supporting more than 120,000 individuals in total. Moreover, £560,000 was donated to provide meals and help numerous foodbanks.

Dr David Staples, chief executive of the UGLE, said: “During these last two years, we set out to donate at least £3m to Covid-related causes and we have exceeded our expectations by donating almost £5m. It is with great pride that I see all Freemasons have rolled up their sleeves and worked hard to do their best and help those most in need.” He continued: “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 more than 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.”

Livia Ferreira, public relations manager, United Grand Lodge of England Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Telephone: +44 (0)20 7395 9208 | Mobile: +44 (0)7539 578699