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.

6th March 2023

Suffolk Masonic Charity Clay Shoot at Eriswell Lodge Shooting Ground

What a wonderful day it finally turned out to be on Saturday 4th March 2023. The weather was a little cold with a crisp breeze but at least it stayed dry apart from a brief drizzle. The Suffolk Masonic Clay Shooting Society (SMaCSS) were pleased to host thirty six keen clay shooters comprised of Suffolk Masons, Masons of other provinces and shooting friends at the Eriswell Lodge Shooting Ground, Suffolk to shoot our winter 100 bird sporting competition. The event was kicked off by a plated English breakfast before SMaCSS Chairman Roger Nash opened the day with a Suffolk welcome, a safety briefing and an outline of CPSA rules for the day. With that said, all shooters readied themselves to head onto the shooting ground in their respective squads. The sporting layout for the day was comprised of twelve stands of eight or ten clays (affectionally known as birds) per stand with varied difficulty to suit the social and serious shooter. One particular stand of a pair of high crossing birds really did test the serious shooter and ruined plenty of scorecards of those who failed to find the flight line.

After three hours of shooting the results were collated and announced. In 1stplace with 79/100 was Phil Ramsey (Suffolk Masons), 2ndplace with 74/100 was Chris Ray (East Kent Masons) and in 3rdplace with 73/100 was Keith Kilbourne (Norfolk Masons), another satisfying day for the Suffolk Masons.

We concluded the day with a raffle and totalled the money raised for charity for which we are delighted to report was £700.

To learn more about The Suffolk Masonic Clay Shooting Society visit: