In 2022, the London Freemasons’ Charity (LFC) embarked on a unique match-funding initiative to support a wide breadth of charities across London, allowing Lodges and Chapters to work in partnership with the LFC to support charities close to their hearts.

Under the scheme, each Lodge or Chapter can make one application (which can include a single charity or multiple charities) up to a maximum of £1,000 for matched funding, with whatever is donated (up to £1,000) being matched by the LFC, thereby doubling the Lodge or Chapter donation.

Beneficiaries have included hospices, such Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice and the Richard House Childrens Hospice; homeless charities including SWAT (Sikh Welfare Awareness Team) and Providence Row; health charities including the Motor Neurone Association and Macmillan Cancer Support; and support groups including Veterans Aid and Bexley Women’s Aid.

Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice received £6,600 though the scheme, with support from several Lodges including Blake Hall Lodge No 4245, Cholmeley Lodge No 1731, North London Chapter of First Principals No 9784, and Saint Thomas of Acon Lodge No 5233.  The charity provides care for over 300 babies, children and young people every year who are seriously unwell; as well as supporting their families to help them make the most of every single day. They support those who die young to do so in as much comfort as possible, surrounded by their family. You can find more information here.

The Sikh Welfare Awareness Team (SWAT) received £2,000 from the match scheme, with donations from Mersey Lodge No 5434 and North London Chapter of First Principals No 9784.  The charity supports the homeless in London (and across the UK), providing meals thanks to the work of volunteers including students and members of the interfaith community. You can find out more about SWAT here.

The Nightingale Cancer Support Centre received £2,000 in total, with support from Hendon Manor Lodge No 5293. The charity’s mission is to improve the quality of life of cancer patients, their families, friends and colleagues by helping them come to terms with and cope with their changing lives. The Centre provides a range of free services designed to provide physical and mental relief. With timely support, patients can learn to self-manage, develop coping skills to recognise and reduce anxiety and plan for their future.  For more information please see here.

And the London Hackney Carriage Drivers’ Charity received £1,500, with support from Cricklewood Lodge No 2361.  The charity is one of the 111 livery companies of the City of London. Its members are professional Hackney Carriage drivers, including London black taxi cab drivers, and the charity supports any deserving members and their immediate family. It has run an annual taxi tour to Disneyland Paris for children with life-threatening illnesses each year since 1994.

Overall, 37 charities across London were awarded match-funded donations from this scheme, with over £25,000 being provided in match, with these charities benefiting from a total of just over £50,000 of donations.  Stratton Richey, Chairman of the London Freemasons’ Charity, said: “This is a great way to support Lodges and Chapters to enhance their donations to charities which may have a more local connection. I am also delighted that, for 2023, the Trustees have agreed to do the same again.”

More details of the 2023 Programme can be found on Rosetta.

Note that whilst Lodges and Chapters can choose to use this scheme to contribute to the Air Ambulance appeal, the matched element will not go towards the Award Levels attached to the appeal.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 52 August 2023 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 52 here.