18 months of the MCF: What have they been up to?

As autumn leaves creep onto the steps of Freemasons’ Hall, it seems summer is over for another year.  As the MCF team look forward to the festive period, it is also important to reflect on what has been a busy, exciting first 18 months.

What do the MCF do?

The MCF has now established the Masonic Charitable Foundation as one of the largest charities in the country, building on the legacy of the four separate charities that had existed since 1788. Caring for people is, and always will be, at the heart of what the MCF do. The MCF builds better lives by encouraging opportunity, promoting independence and improving wellbeing; it is incredible to see how support from the MCF changing lives. Over the last year and a half, the MCF have proudly supported around 5,000 Freemasons and their families across England and Wales, as well as 477 local and national charities.

The MCF support Freemasons and their family members who are facing financial, health, family or care difficulties. Their support primarily takes the form of regular financial grants to cover essential living costs and we provide a range of additional, specific grants and practical support.

The MCF promote independence by protecting the financial stability of families and individuals and providing home adaptations and mobility equipment for those with disabilities or limited mobility. Through their grants for school trips, extra-curricular activities and course fees, and MCF holidays, they encourage opportunity by preventing social exclusion and isolation as well as supporting the education of children and young people. The MCF improve wellbeing by funding medical treatment, respite care, counselling services and providing quality residential care. All of this support is funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families.

Jessica and Christopher.

Jessica and Christopher.

When Freemason Adrian faced redundancy for the fourth time, he worried how he would meet the costs related to his children’s education. Adrian said : “I’ve been a Freemason since 1987 but was completely oblivious to the support provided by the MCF,” Adrian continued:  “I went from having a good, well-paid job to having nothing, which was tough. Then my lodge almoner told me about the MCF, and everything got better from there!” The MCF provided Adrian’s daughter, Jessica, with funding to attend additional science tutoring, and gave his son, Christopher, an annual scholarship to support him through his degree.

“I can’t tell you how grateful we are,” said Christopher. “University was the best three years of my life. I graduated with first class honours in Sport Science and a merit in my Masters. I’m now working as a Performance Analyser for the Cardiff Blues rugby club and working towards a PhD. None of this would have been possible without the support from the MCF.”

Meanwhile, Jessica’s science tutoring helped to secure her place at university and she is about to begin a six-year degree in medicine.

Supporting the wider community

The MCF support extends beyond Freemasonry through grants to local and national charities that help the most vulnerable people in wider society. From community nurses to artists teaching the blind; and from addiction support workers to adventure activities for disabled people, their support has funded projects that make both the ordinary and the extraordinary possible for those facing disadvantage.

The MCF have awarded 477 grants to charities since launching in 2016, including £75,000 to Buttle UK.  Our funding will support access to education, employment or training for young people who are estranged from their family or carers. They are also funding pioneering medical research studies that will impact lives of those living with illness, and those yet to be diagnosed, including £150,000 to Brain Tumour Research. Our funding will help ground breaking research into one of the most common and deadly types of brain tumour. Professor Silvia Marino who is leading the research, explained; “Our grant will pave the way for new drugs designed to target and kill the cancer cells which will stop the tumour in its tracks”.

Although the research is in its early stages, imagine a world people diagnosed with brain cancer to feel a greater sense of hope, in part because of Masonic funding.

Celebrating the Tercentenary year

This year, the MCF have taken their grant-making a step further to celebrate 300 years of Freemasonry. Through the MCF Community Awards, Freemasons and the public voted for 300 charities to receive £3,000,000, in grants of up to £25,000. An astonishing 177,809 people voted in the awards, and 87% were members of the public.

Events are now taking place up and down the country to award the charities with their grants. What a fantastic way to spread the philanthropic nature of Freemasonry, meet beneficiaries and promote the work of the MCF.

The eight charities that received community grants in West Lancashire were:

St Helens Carers Centre £25, 000                              Wargrave House Limited £15, 000
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide £15, 000          Sefton Childrens Trust £6, 000
SWACA Sefton Womens Childrens Aid £6, 000         Headway Blackpool Wyre Fylde £4, 000
Salford Womens Aid £4, 000                                      League of Welldoers £4, 000

To read the story about the presentation meeting in Leyland CLICK HERE

Mark Matthews, Kevin Poynton and Derek Parkinson (centre of the front row) are pictured with the representative from the charities in West Lancashire and their nominees.

Mark Matthews, Kevin Poynton and Derek Parkinson (centre of the front row) are pictured with the representative from the charities in West Lancashire and their nominees.

As the MCF look towards the future, they hope their work will continue to make an impact on both the Masonic family and local communities. They consider all applications for support on an individual basis, so if in doubt – please get in touch!

If you are a Freemason or close family member of a Freemason and need support with a financial, health, family or care need, call our confidential enquiry line on freephone 0800 035 60 90 or email help@mcf.org.uk.