Descensus Aquarum Lodge, Ely, were proud to present a cheque for £2,587 to The Ely Community Christmas Meal Appeal, following their Online Festive Quiz, which attracted sponsorship from Savills in Cambridge, and prize donations from Iceland in Ely and Homebase in Newmarket. Further support was provided by the Province of Cambridgeshire Charity for Care and Relief, and was match funded by the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
The Ely Community Christmas Meal Appeal was born out of The Ely Cathedral Christmas Dinner Appeal that has run in previous years and which, because of the Pandemic, cannot run this year. The volunteers that are usually involved with the Cathedral Christmas Dinner have got together with volunteers from The Lighthouse Centre and have adapted a quite different operation. They are to go through the list of those who normally benefit from the Christmas Dinner, often the elderly, vulnerable and lonely, but also struggling families, and make visits to them in the run up to Christmas to keep in touch, lift their spirits and identify any needs or assistance that they might require. Then to deliver to them on Christmas day a hot cooked meal, or microwaveable meal, together with a cracker and table decoration. They are going to organise, where possible, a virtual Christmas in the afternoon, on Zoom, with the Queen’s speech, recordings of some carols from the cathedral. These volunteers are giving up their Christmas to bring some Christmas cheer to the less fortunate members of our local community, and thoroughly deserve whatever support we can give them.
The Province of Cambridgeshire Charity for Care and Relief is constituted by Deed of Trust and is a Registered Charity. The objects of the Charity are to dispense funds for the benefit of poor and distressed throughout Cambridgeshire.
Freemasons donated £1 million between April and July to help those impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, and are now focusing on protecting the homeless, with a new series of donations across England and Wales.
The homeless crisis has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with many people losing their jobs and finding themselves either living on the streets or in unsuitable living conditions. In 2019 Shelter estimated that 280,000 people were homeless in England alone, while the Greater London Authority reported 4,227 people sleeping rough in London between April and June, of which 2,680 were sleeping on the streets for the first time.
The funds raised will help provide safe living conditions, healthcare, meals, and employment opportunities for the homeless; as well as helping protect them from the winter weather, which kills hundreds of homeless people every year. In addition, Freemasons will be volunteering their time at 26 homeless support organisations.
The grant from Cambridgeshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, from across England and Wales.
Giles Cornell, Pastor of the Ely Lighthouse Centre and principle organiser of the Ely Community Christmas Meal Appeal said:
The Appeal is blown away by the generosity of the local community in general, and that this donation from Descensus Aquarum and the Cambridgeshire Freemasons will make a big difference, guaranteeing that they can distribute the Christmas meals without any charge.
John Sinclair, Charity Steward of Descensus Aquarum Lodge in Ely said:
We are very pleased that we have been able to give our support to this very worthwhile appeal and help those less fortunate than ourselves particularly at this seasonal time of the year.
Freemasons will be providing the following support to homeless people across the country:
- More than 40,000 homeless people will be provided with essentials, transport and support, as well as help accessing services such as counselling, healthcare and benefits;
- Almost 197,000 meals will be provided to homeless people;
- Approximately 600 people are being given employment and training opportunities;
- Nearly 1,400 individuals are being provided with accommodation and support.
About the Province of Cambridgeshire Charity for Care and Relief:
About Cambridgeshire Freemasonry:
About the United Grand Lodge of England:
About the Masonic Charitable Foundation