Provincial Charity Celebration 2023

On Tuesday 14th November 2023 the Province of South Wales held their annual Provincial Charity Celebration at Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court, Porthcawl.

As a Province we have contributed £449,033 to local charities since August 2022, either directly, through the Masonic Benevolent Fund of South Wales (MBF) or via the Freemasons’ Charity, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). The representatives from eight of those charities were present to receive certificates from members of the joint executive. Each gave a short presentation to give an insight of the work they do and outline how the money received would be put to good use.

The Wales Air Ambulance Charity, represented by Phae Jones, received £3,000.

The Charity is funded by the people of Wales. Operating from bases across Wales, they operate some of the most advanced air ambulances in the UK, saving precious time and lives.

They rely entirely on charitable donations to keep the helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road across Wales.

Wales Air Ambulance offers advanced critical care and is often described as a ‘Flying Emergency Department’. The on-board consultants and critical care practitioners are highly skilled and carry some of the most pioneering medical equipment in the world.

Velindre Cancer Centre, represented by Paul Wilkins, received £5,700.

Specialist cancer diagnostic and treatment centre located on the perimeter of Cardiff. Provides services to over 1.5 million people across South East Wales and beyond. Each year they treat over 5,000 new referrals and around 50,000 outpatients.

Their aim is to provide you and your family with the best possible care and treatment.

The South Wales Freemasons were delighted to provide a total grant of £5,700 to the Hospital of Hope – Velindre Cancer Care, in Cardiff. Half of the money was raised at a charity event organised by the Music Lodge in memory of W.Bro. Rob Hughes who received magnificent treatment and care at Velindre. The MCF then match-funded that donation.

Splice Child and Family Project, represented by Tracy Morgan and Linda Davies, received £10,000.

The charity supports families throughout the community suffering from multiple issues including poverty, social disadvantage, poor mental health, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Core services the charity provides include a baby bank, providing essential care and products to new parents in need, food parcels for families, talk and play, parent programmes, craft sessions, family play sessions, verbal support for parents, and an on-site crèche facilities.

The charity has supported over 380 children and their families in the last year and a grant for £10,000 from the South Wales Freemasons will ensure the services provided by Splice will continue to help those who need it most.

Safer Merthyr Tydfil, represented by Nicola Mahoney and Julie Beck, received £59,984.

Domestic Abuse has significant and detrimental effects on a child’s physical, emotional, educational and social development and impacts their future relationships and lives.

According to the Department of Health, domestic abuse suffered by children can range from sexual and physical abuse, to direct or indirect coercive control within the household.

Thanks to Safer Merthyr Tydfil children learn about safety planning, identification of safe people within their support network, methods of positive communication, recognising and understanding feelings and emotions and what constitutes a healthy relationship.

Sparkle, represented by Ian Edwards and Tracey Holloway, received £59,541.

Children with disabilities or developmental difficulties in the Caerphilly area will be able to access specialist play clubs.

Bringing up a family is difficult enough, especially in the current climate. But some children with complex disabilities or developmental difficulties can have profound needs and often need extra support – as do their families.

The Sparkle charity fully supports children and their families enabling them to participate in valued childhood experiences, with access to the same range of opportunities, life experiences, activities and community services as any other child and their family.

Building Blocks Family Centre, represented by Shannon Chambers and Ceri Pritchard, received £59,764.

The grant will help Resolven run their Talk2Gether Service, which provides dedicated play sessions to children who have trouble communicating. The sessions will also focus on helping children to improve their social skills, and develop their emotional wellbeing. Resolven have found that these sessions can provide, on average, one years’ worth of development for children that attend over a 20 week period. These sessions can also reduce frustration and isolation, as well as improving the children’s emotional wellbeing.

RCT Domestic Abuse Services, represented by Charlie Arthur and Emma Williams, received a grant of £70,044.

The project, the first of its kind in Wales, will provide a range of information, signposting and support services to male and female victims of elder abuse. It will help deliver one to one, group and remote support across three community drop in centres, located in Aberdare, Pontypridd and Tonypandy. The aim is to increase well-being, support group programmes, and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. RCT will also provide surgeries for external agencies, including legal, debt management, housing, benefits and health surgeries.

Prostate Cymru, represented by Tina Tew and David Brace, received a bespoke exhibition vehicle at a cost of £120,000.

Prostate Cymru is a leading prostate health charity in Wales supporting men with benign prostate disease and prostate cancer. Raising awareness about prostate cancer and prostate diseases, educating men in Wales about the diseases and their risk. Prostate cancer affects 1 in 8 men in Wales and the risk increases to 1 in 3 if there is a family history of the disease.

The donation enabled them to purchase a state of the art exhibition vehicle will be a welcome sight in many towns, local villages, fetes, and numerous events across our region.

The new vehicle, was presented to Prostate Cymru by the Provincial Grand Master, Gerald Rowbottom on behalf of South Wales Freemasons, in his capacity as Honorary President of the Masonic Benevolent Fund of South Wales. This followed an exceptional donation from local Freemason David Swain a member of the Brecknock Lodge, based in Brecon.

Assistant Provincial Grand Master W.Bro. Robert G Payne said: “It was a huge privilege for the joint executive to present these certificates, which demonstrate how the Province 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 we are so pleased that South Wales Freemasons helped in some small way to support their wonderful work.”

W.Bro.Merrick Jones, Provincial Grand Charity Steward, who organised the event, said: “This was a really great occasion, celebrating the work of charities local to us here in South Wales, and the benefits that each of them provide to our local communities. As Freemasons, we are extremely proud to support local charities, not only with monetary donations, but also in service through donating our time. We will continue to do this and look forward to the next event where we will celebrate the fantastic charitable work within our communities once again.”