An evening celebrating local Welsh charities

Awards-evening Gareth Jones and Nicky Piper

An inaugural charity awards evening was held on Thursday 5 March 2020 by the South Wales Freemasons at RMBI Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court, Porthcawl. The event celebrated the many charities who have been recent recipients of donations from the freemasons of South Wales.

The freemasons of South Wales have contributed over £200,000 to local charities during the last eighteen months, and representatives of many were at the evening to receive awards certificates from the Provincial Grand Master of the South Wales Freemasons, Gareth Jones OBE,

Each of the charities present at the evening gave an overview of the work done and outlining how the money received has been put to good use.

  1. City Hospice [£1,000] – Represented by Nicky Piper.
    City Hospice, based in Whitchurch, Cardiff, cares for patients across the city of Cardiff, managing their symptoms and offering essential support. Each person in their care can live their lives to the fullest for as long as possible. Patients are referred to City Hospice for care from the palliative care team at Velindre Cancer Centre, the University Hospital of Wales, or from a patient’s own GP. The charity helps patients suffering from cancer, dementia, motor neurone disease (MND), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or other life-limiting illnesses.


  1. The Bracken Trust Cancer Support Centre [£1000] – Represented by Ann Williams, Trust Manager.
    The Bracken Trust supports people who are living with cancer and their families. Located in Llandrindod Wells, Powys, it offers help by providing information, advice, support, counselling and complementary therapies. The Bracken Trust helps by empowering people to live with, through and beyond cancer, by bringing together professional help, communities of support and creating an exceptional centre for cancer care.


  1. Forget-me-not Café [£1,000] – Represented by Kathie Mayer.
    The Cardiff-based weekly group, offers support to dementia suffers in the community. The ‘forget-me-not café’ community project is located St Edward’s Church in the Penylan, Cardiff and meets every Tuesday. It provides a friendly and welcoming environment for people with memory problems, people recovering from strokes, and people who feel vulnerable and isolated. The Forget-me-not Café offers a wide range of entertainment and activities to engage and stimulate its visitors in a warm and friendly environment.


  1. Sandville Self Help Foundation [£1100] – Represented by Gwyneth Poacher, Nursing Director.
    Sandville Self Help Centre was established February 1983 and is located in Ton Kenfig, Bridgend. It offers a people-centred service with social and psychological care for patients and families. It offers a range of services, from providing transport from the Bridgend area to Velindre Hospital for patients who require radiotherapy or chemotherapy, to providing a weekly assortment of complimentary therapies and activities – reflexology, self-hypnosis, reiki, hydrotherapy and acupuncture. The charity also supports continuing education with seminars and workshops and offer placements for Schools, Collages and Nursing.


  1. Tŷ Hafan Children’s Hospice [£1,480] – Represented by Eleanor Prescott, Grants & Trusts Fundraiser
    Tŷ Hafan, based in Sully, is one of the UK’s leading paediatric palliative care charities and offers care to children and support for their families, throughout Wales. It offers comfort, care and support to life-limited children, young people and their families in the hospice, in the community and in their home so they can make the most of the time they have left together, whilst allowing parents and carers to relax and recharge their batteries. Since opening in 1999, the charity has supported nearly 600 children.


  1. Wales Air Ambulance Charity (WAAC) [£4,000] – Represented by Laura Francis.
    WAAC operates four airbase operations in Caernarfon, Llanelli, Welshpool and Cardiff and saves lives across the whole of Wales. Every year the charity’s four helicopters attend around 2,500 missions, and the team can be there for anyone in Wales within 20 minutes (known as the Platinum 20 mins). WAAC doesn’t just fly patients to hospital it brings A&E directly to the casualty. Its critical care consultants and practitioners have some of the most pioneering equipment and skills in the world, including blood products and techniques developed in the Armed Forces. This means that patients receive advanced care before they even reach the hospital.


  1. Advocacy Matters Wales [£4,688] – Represented by Oz Pearson
    Advocacy Matters Wales helps protect the rights and choices of individuals with a learning disabilities and autism and to help them manage their financial affairs. The charity provides an independent advocate who will work to support those with learning disabilities by helping them to manage their income and expenditure. The advice given might also include ensuring that all the correct benefits are being claimed, budgeting, setting up direct debits for regular bills and other practical measures. Advocacy Matters Wales provides a free and confidential service and accept referrals on any issue that affects the person’s quality of life.


  1. Action for Elders [£15,000] – Represented by James Lewis.
    The Action for Elders Balanced Lives programme helps older people to deal with problems of limited mobility and lost muscle strength with carefully supervised exercise classes. These are particularly useful for those who are recovering from a fall or after a hospital admission. The classes are also aimed at dealing with commonly occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as these often arise from extended periods of social isolation and loneliness, so the classes are very much aimed at being fun, social events. The charity aims to help many more older people to live healthier and happier lives.


  1. Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team [£55,000] – Represented by Penny Brockman.
    Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team is a voluntary organisation responsible for covering the central section of the Brecon Beacons including South Wales’ highest mountain, Pen y Fan, Cribyn and Corn Du as well as the Ystradfellte waterfalls. CBMRT is called out by the police and the team will respond to the incident either from its base in Merthyr or directly to the location. The team covers more than just the mountainous areas of south and mid Wales; its area of operation includes Cardiff, Newport and the South Wales valleys. The team respond to 999 emergencies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in any weather. CBMRT also has a flood rescue team including swift water rescue technicians and water first responders.


  1. School of Hard Knocks (SOHK) [£92,418] – Represented by Catryn Grundy
    SOHK for Schools is a unique three-year intervention that uses rugby coaching, classroom sessions and mentoring to improve attendance and behaviour at school. Its ultimate aim is to help at-risk children avoid permanent exclusion. SOHK works with children, who are disengaged from education, have poor behaviour or who find school difficult due to difficult personal circumstances. The coaches teach the game of rugby union and use SOHK’s unique psychology and values-led approach to teach character and positive attitudes. It makes sure the same staff work with the same children every week, to enable a consistent intervention with children who might otherwise become NEET (Not in employment, education or training).

Gareth Jones OBE, Provincial Grand Master of the South Wales Freemasons said: “It is a huge privilege for me to present these awards which demonstrate how the Freemasons of South Wales continue to support our local charities.  Listening to each of these charities explaining all that they do is humbling and inspiring and I’m so pleased that Masons can help in some small way to support their wonderful work.”

Robert Payne of the South Wales Freemasons, who was the brains behind the event, said: “This was a really great evening celebrating the work of Welsh charities and the benefits each brings to our local communities. As freemasons, we are extremely happy to keep supporting our local charities. We will continue to do this and look forward to next year’s awards evening where we will celebrate the work of the 2020 recipients”.


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