Responding to need through ever-changing times – the Masonic Charitable Foundation
W Bro Richard Cavanagh reports
Over the past 18 months, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF, the Freemasons’ charity), has worked on updating its support and services in response to the changing needs and circumstances of the people it supports.
As most of us slowly return to our workplaces, social activities, and a sense of ‘normality’, the impact of the past 18 months can still be felt across the globe, and many people’s sense of security has been shaken. The MCF has continued to support disadvantaged individuals, families and communities through the difficult period that many of us have characterised as ‘uncertain times’
It has been well documented that children were forced to undertake virtual schooling from home during the first two lockdowns. This brought about a nationwide discussion on the varying economic backgrounds of families, with a report by Ofcom revealing that between 1.1 million and 1.8 million children did not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet from home.
In response, the MCF adapted its support and in just six months, provided over 200 laptops, desktops and tablets to support the education of children and grandchildren of Freemasons, enabling them to keep on top of their work despite having to learn remotely.
Throughout this 18 month period and beyond, the MCF has also been able to provide counselling support for children and its free counselling service for adults also remained available for those who need it. Between April 2020 and March 2021, 237 people accessed this service to help them through this difficult period.
At the beginning of July 2021, the MCF contacted families receiving support for everyday living to offer additional support with school uniform grants for their children or grandchildren, as well as support for additional tuition following the return to school after the COVID-19 lockdown. There was a good response, with 185 children supported with their uniform or tuition at a total cost of almost £30,000.
The MCF recognises the effects of the pandemic will continue to be felt for some time, and is still offering additional support for laptops and other IT equipment needed for learning.
How can you help the MCF?
As MCF staff return to the office and Lodges resume in-person meetings, it is hopeful that an exciting and successful masonic year is ahead, and the MCF is looking forward to continuing its charitable giving on behalf of Freemasonry.
To ensure those going through a difficult time know where to turn, the MCF is asking you to keep your family and fellow members aware and informed of its work. To help, make sure you are subscribed to its e-newsletter to stay in the loop on their work and announcements!
Subscribe today and receive a free MCF lapel pin: mcf.org.uk/sign-up
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 47 January 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 47 here.