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Children with disabilities will receive help and support, thanks to Durham Freemasons | Durham Freemasons

20 th September, 2022

More than 75 children with disabilities and their families in Gateshead will receive emotional and physical support, thanks to a grant of £9,360 from Durham Freemasons to the SPLASH (Special Play and Leisure After School Hours) charity.

The project aims to boost the wellbeing and development of these children by offering a range of after-school activities and weekend entertainment as well as providing support for parents and siblings of a child with special needs. SPLASH carries out its activities within the Gateshead Jewish community (the third largest Orthodox Jewish community in the UK), and delivers its crucial services with full consideration for the cultural needs of the families it works with.

The support provided includes activities such as educational games and IT sessions, as well as therapeutic activities like swimming, horse riding, trampolining, wall climbing, and specialised aerobics for children and their siblings to enjoy.

Each child is matched with their own dedicated volunteer, who is given specialist training and works with the parents and carers to establish individual goals for their development. Siblings are also invited along to enjoy the sessions together, and help ensure the children feel comfortable.

SPLASH works with children with autism, ADHD and more severe disabilities, which can often lead to isolation, feelings of depression and can prevent them from participating in mainstream activities, often causing a delay in social development.

The charity finds its beneficiaries through referrals from health workers, GP’s and nurseries to ensure they are reaching those most in need. Last year, SPLASH helped around 200 disabled children and their siblings with their wellbeing and social development.

The grant from Durham Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Sandra Hoff from SPLASH, said:

“We’re extremely grateful to Durham Freemasons who are supporting our important project which will help children with disabilities develop socially and enjoy themselves through educational and therapeutic activities.

Our aim is to help bridge the gap in services for children who have disabilities and those who don’t, and this generous grant will help us to do so.”

John D Watts of Durham Freemasons, said:

“We’re really pleased to be supporting this wonderful charity which is helping children with disabilities in such an enjoyable way. There’s so many children with disabilities that experience poor mental health and feel they cannot participate in activities. SPLASH is doing wonderful work to support them.”

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Helping the Homeless | Durham Freemasons

Earlier in the year Durham Freemasons charity Durham Benevolence made a £1,000 grant to Oasis Community Housing, a charity working with people facing homelessness and those in housing crisis in the Gateshead area.

As restrictions on visiting relax Peter Ross and John Watts representing Durham Benevolence accepted an invitation from David Foster of Oasis Community Housing to attend their Basis drop-in centre in central Gateshead where they met staff from their award-winning Basis Beds supported housing project, the Empower domestic abuse service and Aspire employability service.

John commented, “my last role as a police officer was head of public protection so I know how invaluable interventions by charities are for those in crisis and today we have seen excellent examples of projects to help some of the most vulnerable”.

David Foster from Oasis Community Housing said “homelessness is a complex problem that requires a community solution. Receiving financial support from a community partner like Durham Benevolence means a great deal to us, it means we are supported to continue to bring hope to people facing homelessness”

Peter Ross said, “I’m certain Freemasons across the region will be pleased we selected Oasis Community Housing to receive some of our charitable funds.”

While touring the various projects it was discovered Oasis do similar work in the Sunderland area and the Freemasons look forward to receiving an application to provide financial support to that area.

Main Garden photo L-R

Claire Temple

Oasis Community Housing Head of Crisis Services

Peter Ross, Durham Freemasons Community support grant committee chairman

David Foster

Oasis Community Housing – Key Projects Relationship Manager

Carolyn Wood

Oasis Community Housing – Director of Programmes

John Watts, Chairman of Durham Benevolence.

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The Provincial Priory of Durham AGM | Durham Freemasons

The Provincial Priory of Durham held its Annual Malta Meeting on Thursday 14th July to a full room at Gateshead Masonic Hall. In attendance was special guest E. Knight Jamie Ingham-Clark, Trustee of The St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group.

After a full Malta ceremony installing a new candidate, the Provincial Prior for Durham, Rt E Knight Richard Scott addressed those present and gave an update on the 2025 fundraising appeal started in 2021, for the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital, which had so far raised £19,000. This also coincides with the 50 th anniversary of the separation of the Northumberland and Durham provinces.

At the end of the address, the Provincial Prior presented a cheque for £20,000 to the special guest for the evening E. Knight Jamie Ingham-Clark. This together with the figure already raised in 2021, marks a total so far raised of £39,000 towards the target of £50,000.

It is hoped that the target will be exceeded by some margin.

Kt Jamie Ingham-Clark thanked the Provincial Prior for the magnificent cheque and proceeded to give a very informative talk detailing the work of the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital. Knights Templar has been funding the hospital for over 100 years and in that time, it has never been rescinded. Finally, he reported that the £20,000 would be enough to pay for 20 Retinal Repairs at a cost of £1,000 each or 28 Cataract operations for £700. In contrast to this in 2021, the hospital performed 6500 of these types of operations.

The festive board followed the meeting, and the food was enjoyed by all those present.

At the end of the evening, the Provincial Prior presented E. Knight Jamie Ingham-Clark with a fundraising appeal pin.

Together we are stronger

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A Landmark Day For Durham Freemasons | Durham Freemasons

Today, Saturday 25 th June, saw Gateshead bathed in sunshine, as over 400 Durham Freemasons and Brethren from many other Provinces gathered to witness the installation Ceremonies of WBro John Paul Thompson as Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent.

Some 4 years have passed since the Freemasons of the Province of Durham witnessed an event of such high importance, emphasised by a packed FED Banqueting Suite who enjoyed a wonderful day with all the pomp and pageantry you would associate with such a momentous occasion.

Both Provincial Grand Chapter and Provincial Grand Lodge were reciprocally opened in due form by the Presiding Officer, Bro Stephen William Walker, before he graciously handed over to the Pro Grand Master, Peter Geoffrey Lowndes, to preside over one of his last such investitures in the provinces, having recently announced his retirement year, having been appointed as Pro Grand Master on 11 March 2009.

Peter went on to preside impeccably over both ceremonies, supported by Charles Hopkinson-Woolley, Grand Director of Ceremonies of UGLE.

The day also saw Michael Graham appointed as Deputy Provincial Grand Master having served as Assistant Provincial Grand Master since 2018.

Other appointments included the reappointments of Clinton Eliot Leeks, Andrew Moule and the returning John David Watts as Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, and the appointment of Andrew Peter Fall Foster as Assistant Provincial Grand Master to complete the quartet.

It was a fitting day for Stephen William Walker, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, and Gordon Brewis, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, to stand down from their respective positions having both served the province with distinction.

Likewise, in the Royal Arch Michael Stuart Shaw was reappointed as Deputy Grand Superintendent, David Nigel Hanson was appointed Second Provincial Grand Principal, and Rakesh Bhalla was reappointed as Third Provincial Grand Principal, with Paul Anthony Lee Hopper standing down as Second Provincial Grand Principal, also having served with distinction.

Following his investiture as our Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent, John  gave his addresses, each inspiring and both rapturously applauded by the brethren.  We congratulate him and look forward to a bright future under his leadership.

To read the Grand Superintendent’s Address in full  Click Here .

To read the Provincial Grand Master’s Address in full  Click Here .

At the conclusion of the formal proceedings, the room was hastily transformed into a banqueting suite to allow over 300 members to enjoy a fabulous luncheon and continue the celebrations into the early evening.

Together we are stronger.

Follow this link to view further images on our Flickr feed.

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