Trinity Hospice in Blackpool has been chosen to receive a grant of £3,160 from West Lancashire Freemasons. The grant from West Lancashire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, and will be used for the continuing palliative care services for which the hospice is so widely acclaimed.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation has donated £3,160 to Trinity Hospice as part of its on-going programme of supporting hospices around the country. This is just one of 245 grants to hospices around the country from Freemasons. In total £600,000 will be donated to hospices all over England and Wales this year by the MCF, of which over £31,000 has been donated to 13 hospices in the Province of West Lancashire. Contributions from Freemasons to hospices have exceeded £12,000,000 in England and Wales since 1984 and are continuing to increase at a rate of £600,000 a year.
On hand to make the presentation to Trinity Hospice were Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox, Blackpool Group Chairman John Turpin, South Fylde Group Chairman Ian Ward, North Fylde Group Chairman Duncan Smith, South Fylde Group Charity Steward Dave McKee and North Fylde Group Charity Steward Jim Gregson.
On presenting the cheque to Trinity Hospice’s Chief Executive David Houston and Community Fundraiser Michelle Lonican, Harry said: “Freemasonry is a great supporter of the essential services that the hospice provides to our community at what is generally the most anxious time for patients and families. It will always be a major part of our charitable giving.”
Michelle Lonican responded by thanking Harry and the rest of the party, saying: “We’re again very grateful to West Lancashire Freemasons for their generous grant, which will be a tremendous help in our continuing programme of providing the best possible palliative care. Freemasonry has supported our work over many years and their help is hugely appreciated.”
During their visit to Trinity Hospice, the party of Freemasons were able to see the continuing improvements in facilities and services and discussed the many fundraising initiatives in place. One such initiative caught Harry’s eye. Hospice volunteers produce cloth ‘memory elephants’ from old shirts, night dresses and other pieces of clothing, each designed to be unique. Michelle explained that, not only are these ‘memory elephants’ a very special and individual keepsake, they also represent ‘an elephant in the room’, symbolising the benefits of talking openly about the loss of a loved one, thereby easing some of the distress.
Michelle continued by outlining some of the work of the hospice, saying: “Trinity Hospice needs £7,500,000 a year to operate their ‘End of Life Care’ throughout the Fylde Coast for adults and children. Brian House, the children’s wing of the hospice, is within the Trinity family of services and its operation costs are about £1,200,000. There is a NHS grant that is applied for each year that at present only covers £2,000,000 of the adult care costs. The grant doesn’t apply to the children.”
In response to questions from the group of Freemasons, Michelle went on to say: “Trinity Hospice at present is trying to bridge the gap in revenue and funds the children’s hospice. However, we would like to do more in the community to extend the ‘Hospice at Home’ service further afield. Our mission is to ensure that by 2020 everyone on the Fylde Coast should have access to the services they need to die in their chosen place, either at home, in a care home, hospice or hospital. At present very few people are able to achieve this. We also offer free counselling to children and adults, either as a patient or those affected by bereavement or loss. Our ‘Day Therapy Centre’ offers day care services for patients in the earlier stages of diagnosis. This is an opportunity for patients who are struggling on their own to be able to spend time with people with similar issues. They are able to learn new skills, have complementary therapy and pain relief education and generally learn to maximise the life they have left, living it to the full.
In closing, Chief Executive of the hospice David Houston said: “The Funds raised by the Masonic charities help to expand all these services; especially those in the community to reach out to more people in need. We are extremely grateful to all the Masonic groups throughout the Fylde Coast for their ongoing generous support.”
For further information on the work of Trinity Hospice and Brian House, visit their website at www.trinityhospice.co.uk