11th May 2023

Suffolk Freemasons donate £13,250 to Cathedral Chair Appeal

Following the Tuesday 4th April meeting of Suffolk 250 Lodge No. 10014 at Ashlar House, Bury St. Edmunds, members and their guests welcomed the Dean of St. Edmundsbury Cathedral, The Very Reverend Joe Hawes. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master Tim McCormick then explained to everyone present the connection that Suffolk Freemasons has with the Cathedral, the assistance it had given over the years and how pleased he was to be able to present a £13,250 cheque to the Dean for the Cathedral Chair Appeal.            

The Dean thanked the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and all the representatives of the various Suffolk Lodges and Royal Arch Chapters present for their kind donations and stated how grateful the Cathedral was for the help received from Freemasons in Suffolk and that he hoped we would once again attend the Cathedral for an Evensong Service in October.

The Cathedral wants to be a centre of learning, both for the Christian faith and beyond and wishes to assist helping towards a more caring and just society, both locally and further afield. The Dean then went on to talk about the current aims of the Cathedral and how it was assisting to house local homeless people and look after those who are lonely and in need.

 Suffolk 250 Lodge was formed in 2021 to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the foundation of Provincial Grand Lodge of Suffolk in 1771.

22nd March 2023

Ipswich Community Playbus ‘Maggie’ receives a funding boost from Suffolk Freemasons

Suffolk Freemasons have made a £12,000 grant to ‘Maggie’ The Ipswich Community Playbus, a not for profit, equal opportunities charity, run by a board of Trustees for families with children under 5 years in Ipswich. ‘Maggie’, who is celebrating 20 years of being a Playbus this year, is a mobile double decker bus converted into a pre-school/parents-toddler-baby group on wheels offering quality Early Years education and bringing children and families together. The Playbus travels to 6 set locations each week, term time, visiting areas where there is the greatest concentration of social housing, where many families are from low socio-economic backgrounds and where there are no similar facilities nearby.

The Playbus has on board 2 baby areas, one downstairs, one upstairs, together with a sand pit, craft and paint areas, in-built slide, home corner, small world sets, book corner with leading library, puzzles and jigsaws, themed area and imaginative play. There are toilet facilities and a generator which provides the heating and lighting. All play sessions are free of charge and accessible to everyone. The staff on board follow the Early Years Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum in planning various and different themes each term to engage young children and develop their learning skills, increasing communication and vocabulary range, interaction and social awareness and behavioural issues.

It also brings families and communities together. Reducing isolation has been a major part of ‘Maggie’The Playbus’ work this past year. Young families have had the added worries, over the past 2 years, of dealing with the Covid19 Pandemic and the Lockdowns of the whole country. This all has added to the greatest feelings of isolation, loneliness and being cut off entirely from everyone. All activities on board ‘Maggie’ are aimed at encouraging participation and interaction. Last year ‘Maggie’ The Playbus helped address the isolation experienced by 360 pre-school children living in these areas by providing somewhere safe for them to play away from the family home, but within their immediate community. Their siblings and parents/carers also benefited from being able to meet their neighbours and others in a similar situation creating community cohesion.

Mandy Potter, Playbus Co-ordinator commented - “Maggie, all the families, staff and the Trustees are absolutely overwhelmed with this Grant and we are so very grateful to the Suffolk Freemasons for their great support. I would like to thank them very much, it means so much to us!”

Rick Orme from Suffolk Freemasons, added: “Having visited ‘Maggie’ and seen for myself the range of activities they offer, I’m delighted that we are able to offer support to this fantastic charity in Ipswich and therefore help them to continue with the valuable work they do for the community”

The grant from Suffolk Freemasons has been made through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

For more information about the charity contact: Mandy Potter, Playbus Co-Ordinator email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



14th March 2023

Suffolk Freemasons assist playgroup in creating the best start in life for disadvantaged children

Eye Opportunity Group is a small registered local charity, established 40 years ago, who support families of children aged 0-5 with a wide range of additional needs, including congenital disorders, speech and communication difficulties, sensory conditions, autism and other neurodiverse conditions. Based in Eye, their work extends to the wider area of North Suffolk and South Norfolk.

The £12,084 grant will assist the Charity which runs 6 groups per week specially tailored to suit individual children’s needs to aid their development. They encourage speech development, social skills and increased confidence and preparing children for school. The groups allow parents to have a break, meet others in a similar situation and make friends. The staff offer support and advice to parents and carers, including help with filling in forms, sourcing specialist equipment for their child and supporting them with school applications.

Families regard them as a lifeline as their service is unique in this rural area. The charity support 40 pre-school age children each year, as well as siblings and parents who note a huge improvement in their child’s communication and confidence. Before attending the groups some thought their child would never speak or go to school and the team of highly trained staff have made this a reality for many children. The three year grant will provide financial stability and enable them to continue providing a high level of support to families.

Sanchia Brandreth, Manager of the Charity commented "On behalf of the families that will benefit, we would like to thank Suffolk Freemasons for their generous grant; it will enable us to provide essential support for families who have young children with a wide range of additional needs. The grant will go towards the cost of providing specialised play activities for the children, so that they will be able to learn and develop with the aim of ultimately reducing their disadvantage, whilst providing opportunities for fun and enjoyment that would not otherwise be available to them in this rural area."

Bill Dotesio-Eyres from Suffolk Freemasons, added: “The easiest thing that any of us can do, is to put our hand in our pocket and contribute to a charity. But a visit this morning to the Eye Opportunity Group teaches us that the support our donation can give is the vital ingredient that allows the real givers to continue to do their work. The volunteers who man and manage this facility make such a difference to the lives of the children and their families, so it is a privilege to know that spending our donation will help them continue to do their wonderful work. I must say we found it hard to come away from such a happy place and such welcoming people.”

The grant from Suffolk Freemasons has been made through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

For information about the charity: Sanchia Brandreth, Manager  e: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.