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The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys has been supporting children and young people of the masonic family for over two-and-a-quarter centuries. At the current time, around 2,000 such children, the sons, daughters and grandchildren of freemasons, receive support each year following a distress that has led to financial hardship for their family. In addition to this vital support to the craft, the Trust is also able to award grants to other childrens charities that are working to achieve the same objective of relieving poverty and advancing education through a scheme called Stepping Stones. Through the donations of the 2016 Festival, this scheme is another example of Hampshire and Isle of Wight freemasons supporting non-masonic causes.
Looking beyond our Masonic family
The Stepping Stones scheme awards grants of up to £30,000 to charities based in England and Wales that are working to break the link between poverty and the lack of access to education to improve the lives and prospects of children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Since the scheme was launched in 2010, over 30 grants have been awarded at a total cost of around £530,000.
The scheme is proving to be extremely popular as many charities, particularly small, local charities, are still feeling the effects of the recent recession: fewer donations and greater demand for the services that they provide. In the past three months alone, over sixty charities have applied for a grant from Stepping Stones; in most years, only five to ten grants are awarded each year.
Vital support for disadvantaged young people
In Hampshire and Isle of Wight, a grant of £6,000 was awarded to Venturers Search and Rescue, a charity that trains young people to provide volunteer search and rescue services in and around the Solent. The charity also provides the equipment necessary for the trained young people to support HM Coastguard in the local area.
Stepping Stones has also helped Embrace Child Victims of Crime, a charity established by police officers in the wake of the Warrington bombing in 1993. Embrace aims to relieve poverty, sickness, trauma and distress in children as a result of a criminal offence and to promote social inclusion and personal safety. A grant of £20,000 was awarded to Embrace in 2012 and has been used to help establish a counselling service for child victims of crime
throughout the UK.
Case Study: Francis
Last year, a grant of £14,495 was awarded to the Whizz-Kidz Work Placement Programme which helps to secure work experience and provides help with job applications for disabled young people. Francis is 16 years old. He has cerebral palsy which means he cannot walk and needs support when in his wheelchair. The grant enabled Whizz-Kidz to secure a suitable work placement for Francis at a local museum. The experience helped him gain confidence, learn how to perform a number of new workplace tasks and develop vital experience for the future. Harry Smith - @RMTGB
Devising and then walking a near 100 mile long footpath from the United Grand Lodge in Great Queen Street, London to the Provincial Grand Lodge office in Chandler’s Ford, Mick Poole
from East Medina Lodge in Ryde, Isle of Wight has raised nigh on £500 for the RMTGB festival appeal. Sponsored by members of and visitors to the lodge, as well as by members of the Freshwater Knights Templar Preceptory, the hike took Mick five days, with overnight stops carefully planned to be in village pubs.
The route followed the Thames Path, the Wey Navigation, the Basingstoke Canal, the Three Castles Path and the Test Way, and it is hoped a map and guide for the walk will be available next year, for anyone else who fancies a few days on foot for some or other good cause.
Mick Poole
Isle of Wight freemason, Michael Ward, Treasurer of St Boniface Lodge in Ryde, set out to circumnavigate the Isle of Wight on a sponsored cycle ride to raise at least £1000 for the 2016 Festival for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys.
To achieve this
Michael had to train harder than usual by increasing his cycling activity to over seven hours per week. In doing so, he cycled in total over one thousand five hundred miles. On the ride itself he was out and about for over seven hours and, thanks to his hard work in the weeks preceding the charity event, he did not even ache the next day.
With the assistance of gift aid he managed to raise over £3000 through sponsorship for this worthy cause!
Michael Ward - @SolentMasons
5 Insight • Issue 9

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