W Bro John Little SLGR finds out more

A donation of £4,000 from the London Freemasons’ Charity is being used during the Coronavirus pandemic to assist the work of the Wimbledon Guild, a local charity supporting people in the London Borough of Merton.

The donation arrived just as the COVID -19 outbreak started and was used to help quickly adapt their services to support people across Merton. Wimbledon Guild has been able to assist hundreds of local people coping with social isolation, mental health concerns and financial hardship over the lockdown period.

The Guild, established in 1907 from several local charities, has a mission to reduce social isolation and loneliness in the area, help people who are experiencing a broad range of difficulties, and enable older people to be active and healthy.

The charity supported 128 families and individuals with supermarket and food bank vouchers and has delivered 74 fresh food parcels. The charity also helped set up Merton's Community Fridge and are now a delivery partner, continuing their work to tackle food poverty in the Borough.

Garden gate visits have started for customers at most risk of social isolation. Staff and volunteers wear masks and gloves to speak to customers whilst they stand in their doorway to observe social distancing.

The Guild also provides a Talking Therapies team which has been providing individual counselling and psychotherapy services via telephone and online.

Commenting on the donation, a Wimbledon Guild spokesperson said: “We received over 500 requests for help during the lockdown, and 245 people are receiving shopping and practical support from our volunteers. Volunteer befrienders are keeping in touch with their friends over the phone, and are making regular “stay in touch” calls to 308 people who attended activities at our head office before lockdown.

“We are most grateful to London Freemasons for their generous gift, which couldn’t have been better timed.”

Following are quotes from beneficiaries of the Guild’s work:

"I needed help with my shopping and felt so guilty about having to keep asking people. My daughter lived in Essex and rang the Covid-19 Merton Support Helpline. Now I have a wonderful volunteer from Wimbledon Guild who does my shopping once a week. And I don't feel guilty anymore because she says it's no problem!" June, Colliers Wood.

“I'm in the most clinically vulnerable shielding category and have been told not to leave the house, even with new lockdown rules.

“With a few days to go until our next food parcel arrives, we had already run out of food. I called Wimbledon Guild who arranged for a volunteer to start food shopping for us and they also kindly provided a supermarket voucher to help with the cost.

“Without the Wimbledon Guild, I don’t know what I would have done.” Joe, Wimbledon

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 42 October 2020 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 42.