23rd March 2021

Freemasons rise to Covid-19 challenge with donations totalling £1m and 18 million hours of volunteering


 Pictured is a delivery of a Food Box by 'Square Meals' - a service by Suffolk Freemasons offering deliveries of boxes with three days of basic food items to create healthy meals for two people. Assembled by volunteers at the Sudbury Masonic Hall in North Street, the boxes contain food supplied by local businesses, such as butchers, bakers and wholesalers, to provide them with another source of income while trade is low during the public lockdown.

Faced with the greatest global pandemic in living memory, Freemasons came together in 2020 and donated a total of £1m as well as their time to help those in need. The donations were used to help communities in various critical areas, including foodbanks, support for unpaid carers, personal protective equipment (PPE), supplies for hospitals and hospices, support for women’s refuges, and funds for NHS workers, ambulances and equipment. 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, organising care packages, producing scrubs, PPE and hand sanitiser.At the start of the crisis in April 2020, some Freemasons adapted their businesses’ production lines to produce nearly 5,000 visors for use in healthcare settings. Since then, Freemasons have produced or procured tens of thousands of pieces of additional PPE. Meanwhile, to help protect women and children from domestic abuse, Freemasons donated more than £165,000 in 2020. The donation helped more than 2,000 women during the lockdown, who received more than 1,000 parcels containing essential items for women fleeing domestic abuse.

Freemasons also focused their efforts on hospitals and care homes, donating nearly 1,000 tablets to provide vital contact between coronavirus patients and their loved ones. The tablets were provided to more than 50 hospitals, care homes and hospices. In London, hospitals including The Royal London, Queen Mary's and St Thomas' received approximately 115 tablets; while in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, some 200 tablets were donated. 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 people in total. Moreover, £560,000 was donated to provide meals and help numerous foodbanks.

Dr David Staples, chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), said: “No one in this day and age should have to worry where their next meal is coming from. We are so glad that we were able to provide thousands of families across the UK with a hot meal or food donations to help get them through this current crisis. Freemasons have achieved all of this in just a few months and have also given their time to produce and deliver food to the vulnerable.” The UGLE is also encouraging its members to roll up their sleeves and volunteer to help vaccinate the population. “More than 18.5 million hours of volunteer work were undertaken by Freemasons. Now it is crucial that we help in every way we can to protect the population. If the NHS needs volunteers, then we are happy to emphasise the importance of this to our members,” said Dr Staples.

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 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 fund of £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.

Further information can be obtained from 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.

March 2021

Medical Detection Dogs delighted to receive support from Suffolk Freemasons

Medical Detection Dogs train dogs to detect the odour of human disease with the aim of developing faster, more efficient and less invasive diagnostics that lead to better patient outcomes. The charity is at the forefront of the research into the fight against cancer and other life-threatening diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and bacterial infections. Their Bio Detection Dogs detect the odour of diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s and malaria in the charity’s training room, on samples. Their work could help scientists and medics develop faster, cheaper, non-invasive methods of diagnosis that could impact upon thousands of lives. The charity apply what is known about the science of canine olfaction to benefit people by training Medical Alert Assistance Dogs to support individuals with complex health conditions by alerting them when they are about to have a potentially life-threatening medical emergency.

Conditions like diabetes, severe allergies, PoTS and Addison’s disease are among those the dogs can be trained to detect and alert well before their human partner is aware that an episode is about to occur. Medical Detection Dogs take the welfare of their dogs extremely seriously, from the moment they arrive as puppies the charity ensure the highest standards of care. They have a strict no kennel policy and all dogs live in the homes of their staff or fantastic local volunteers where they are loved and cared for as part of the family.

Rick Orme, the Provincial Grand Charity Steward for the Province of Suffolk, said: “I’m delighted that we are able to offer some support to this fantastic charity following the presentation done by Norma Howell at our Almoners’ Conference some time ago. I understand that the charity is also conducting research into whether the detection dogs can assist with the Covid-19 pandemic and we all realise what an impact that has had on everyone, so I wish them continued success and I am delighted to be able to offer some support for their cause.” This grant from Suffolk Freemasons was made up of £2000 donated by Apollo Lodge, £1,500 donated by Provincial Grand Charity and then match funded by the MCF up to the total of £7,000.

For more information about the charity visit

February 2021

Porch Project receive £15,000 funding from Suffolk Freemasons

The Porch Project’s aim is to provide a quality youth work so that the young people of Hadleigh, Great Cornard and the surrounding areas have the opportunity to achieve their full potential in life. The charity works with disadvantaged young people in the community to create opportunities to educate, inform and support. The project runs evening drop in sessions each week to provide a regular, safe and supervised place for young people to meet and socialise. It also offers small group learning programmes which aim to build emotional resilience and intelligence.

The charity helps young people to develop wider opportunities, responsibilities and experiences and address the challenges of growing up. Kayleigh Diss, Youth Work Manager/Deputy Safeguarding Lead commented “The Porch Project would like to say a huge thank you to the Suffolk Freemasons for their incredibly generous donation of £15,000 over 3 years and ongoing support of our charity. In what has been an incredibly challenging year, this funding has allowed us to continue our services, albeit adapted, and support many children, young people and their wider networks. We are currently supporting around 30 young people a week with 1-2-1 coaching in a virtual capacity, around 100 people and their families have registered with our personal hygiene scheme and receive monthly packs free of charge and we have also continued to support our hard to reach and most vulnerable young people through outreach in both Hadleigh and Cornard. As expected, these numbers are slightly less in comparison to our usual figures, however considering the current climate, we are thrilled to still be engaging with so many through our adapted services. Without funding such as the Suffolk Freemasons grant, this just would not be possible and we would like to send our sincere thanks to everyone who has made this possible and has enabled our work to continue”.

Rick Orme, Provincial Charity Steward of Suffolk Freemasons, added, “I am delighted we have been able to give our support to The Porch Project, they do wonderful work supporting young people and their families throughout our local community and we know that this grant will help them to further develop the vital work they offer.” The grant from Suffolk Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons from acros England and Wales.

For more information about the charity visit
Porch Project, 28A High Street, Hadleigh, Suffolk, IP7 5AP 01473 823523 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.