The Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire
The Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire

Charity and the Community

charity

From its earliest days Freemasonry has promoted charitable work and today we make a major contribution to society locally, nationally and internationally. There are few organisations that concentrate so much on raising funds internally and nearly all the money we raise comes from our own efforts. Freemasons are reminded of the importance of charity and care for those less fortunate that ourselves from the moment they join and the practical application of this includes many donations to other charities and members playing an active role in their communities. In fact in England and Wales Freemasons have given more to other charities than any charity with the exception of the National Lottery.

Here you will get a flavour of the importance of Charity to Freemasons and learn about giving from the individual lodge member, his Lodge, the District in which his Lodge meets, the Province and our National Masonic Charities. Freemasons are part of a much larger Provincial, National and International ‘family’. As with all good families welfare is important and we strive to help our brethren and their families who are ill, or in distressed circumstances. When Freemasons or their dependents fall upon hard times, financial assistance may be available from their Lodge, the East Lancashire Masonic Charity (each Province will have their own Benevolent Fund) or one of the four main national Masonic Charities. Beyond this we then help many non-Masonic good causes. In recent years East Lancashire Masons alone have supported non-Masonic charities and good causes somewhere in the region of £500,000 per year.

One example of what we do on a National and Provincial level but funded by local Lodges and Districts is provide Teddies for nearly every Hospital Emergency Department throughout the Province. These are used to comfort children admitted for treatment and have been extremely well received by the Hospitals. You may well already know a child who has come home from hospital with a Teddy for Loving Care Bear!


Individual and Lodge Giving

At Lodge meetings an alms bag is circulated and members will make a small donation of their own choosing (usually just a few pounds). There may be a raffle or similar at the dinner after Lodge. The Lodge may arrange fund-raising functions or all the Lodges that meet in a District may arrange larger fund raising events. In any case, collectively the Freemasons in the Province manage to raise large sums of money each year which are used for charitable purposes. It is estimated that Freemasons under the United Grand Lodge of England donate somewhere between £15M and £20M each year to charity. Whilst it is expected that every brother will contribute something it is important that no one over-commits themselves to charitable giving and although a small donation to the Freemasons Grand Charity is included in your subscription all other giving is entirely voluntary. The Lodge is a private entity and as such it is the brethren of each individual Lodge who decide where they will donate their charity funds.


The East Lancashire Masonic Charity (ELMC)

The Province has its own Charity which is here to care for and afford charitable assistance to needy Freemasons or their widows or to any dependent relatives, and to reach out to others, in the communities in which we live, who are deserving of our charitable support. The Charity has its own website which offers much more information at www.elmc.co.uk. Apart from the support offered to Freemasons and their dependents the ELMC also has a Community Fund which provides financial donations to bolster those made by Lodges or Districts to local community good causes, especially where Freemasons themselves are actively involved in work to support a charity or on a special project (see here for a list of ELMC Community Fund Donations).

The ELMC also runs a a residential home in Bury called Hewlett Court. It is not a Convalescent or Nursing Home but offers residential care for East Lancashire Masons who are in reasonable health but over pensionable age. Beneficiaries of the ELMC including residents of Hewlett Court may receive cash grants to alleviate poverty, Christmas and birthday gifts, invitations to an annual holiday and various other outings and events that are arranged during the year.

The ELMC also has a Young People’s Committee which provides social functions for the youngsters of those in need; some of them will be beneficiaries of Masonic Charity themselves. Birthdays and Christmas gifts are also given, sometimes partly in the form of book vouchers to promote education.

The ELMC is funded principally by donations made by East Lancashire brethren and lodges.


The Masonic Charitable Foundation

The Masonic Charitable Foundation was formed from the amalgamation of our four previous National Charities.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation builds better lives by enabling opportunity, advancing healthcare and education and promoting independence for Freemasons, their families and the wider community.

Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the Masonic Charitable Foundation is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country.

Read more about the Masonic Charitable Foundation here.