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The “Auckland Project” | Durham Freemasons

The Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Andrew Moule visited the Auckland Youth and Community Centre (AYCC) as a follow up after an MCF grant was awarded to them in September of this year.  The award of £10,000.00 was to cover a period of 2 years for the general day to day operational running costs of the charity. Andrew was met by Bill Niblo, the Chairperson on the Board of Trustees, and was given a full tour of the building showing the facilities offered to the children to enable them to participate in many activities.

Auckland Youth and Community Centre (AYCC) is a much-loved community hub in one of England’s most disadvantaged housing estates. The charity supports local children widening their horizons and improving their mental and physical health.  AYCC run several youth provisions and sitting in the top 0.5% most socio-economically deprived in England, the charity go above and beyond to tackle the complex local challenges of generational poverty and disadvantage.

They run after school clubs, a disability group, detached outreach and a Holiday Hunger scheme which provides packed lunches during school holidays. They also work closely with the local schools to support and supplement the young people’s education. Some of the volunteers and qualified youth workers used to attend the clubs and with the help of AYCC they have gained qualifications and work experience they never would have had the opportunity to access otherwise.

Each year the charity supports 428 young people. Case studies from parents are very positive – “AYCC has given her the tools to cope with many of the difficult situations she has had to face”. This is just one of the many testaments recorded by parents.

The children started to arrive after school, and it was obvious from the happy faces that this facility was a joy to them all. Hot dogs with ketchup were to follow their play time a sure-fire children’s favorite.

Well done to all the amazing staff for your dedication and challenging work.

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More than Grandparents | Durham Freemasons

In July of this year the MCF awarded “More than Grandparents”, a charity based in Sunderland City Centre, a grant of £13,500.00 spread over 3 years to assist them in their day-to-day operational costs required to provide vital services.

The charity supports kinship children and kinship carers (most often the children’s grandparents) to access specialist support to help reduce the number of referrals of children into adoption services.

Assistant Provincial Grand Master Clinton Leeks accompanied by Robin Middleton, a member of the Durham Benevolence Committee visited the charity to see first-hand the difference this donation is making and to meet some of the carers involved.

“It was a privilege for me and Robin Middleton on behalf of Durham Benevolence to meet CEO Mel Nichols and some of the carers at “More Than Grandparents” a very friendly and welcoming centre in Sunderland. The stories we heard of decent people striving to cope to keep kinship children out of care with little if any statutory help were inspiring and showed yet again what an MCF grant can do to help to change and improve lives.”

Quote by “Clinton Leeks, Assistant Provincial Grand Master ”

We are so grateful to be supported by the MCF. The funding means we can continue to support vulnerable kinship families who don’t get the support they need and deserve from statutory services. Too often families are left struggling financially having stepped in to care for a child–managing their child’s trauma or challenging behaviour and extremely difficult relations with birth parents and supervising contact, often alongside other caring roles or their own health conditions. MCF funding means we can support kinship families, reducing isolation, ensuring they understand their rights and entitlements, accessing other support and above all creating a sense of belonging.”

Quote by “Melonie Nichols, CEO, More than Grandparents”

Check out the fantastic work done by visiting their website.      click here

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Continious Giving | Durham Freemasons

Since the completion of our Durham 2021 Festival, many have been asking about existing direct debits and new direct debits in support of the MCF. To that end, on Saturday 30 th  July our Provincial Grand Master has launched the continuous giving scheme which was so successful in the run up to the 2021 festival.

Anyone who has an existing direct debit from the 2021 festival  DO NOT  need to take action. Your direct debit is already counting as continuous giving towards our next festival.

If you wish to start a new commitment Click on the QR Code, attached to this post, or scan it with your camera phone to enable you to give continuously give each month, quarter or annually in support of the MCF.

This will enable us as a province to support the MCF whilst we are out of festival and anything you give will be credited to you and your lodge when we have a future festival. We did this to great effect in 2010 let’s do it again in 2022.

Paul Quinn has kindly agreed to be our relief chest co-ordinator for this fund and can be contacted for further information if required at

Also attached to this post is a “Continuous Giving” application form which can be printed or sent electronically to your members. Please encourage those who’s direct debit to re-start a new direct debit and once again it can be forgotten.

Click below to download form

Continuous Giving Form

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Festival Finale | Durham Freemasons

The Bishop’s Suite at Ramside Hall, Carville, Durham provided the setting for Durham Freemasons, their partners, and friends to celebrate the conclusion of the hugely successful Durham 2021 Festival, where the sum of £3,477,877 was raised.

The sell-out event with over 350 tickets sold started in the reception area where pre dinner drinks were served and it steadily filled with smartly dressed ladies and gentlemen looking forward to a fabulous evening in good company.

After all the guests had taken their seats in the main dining area, which looked brilliant and fit for this special occasion, the Provincial Grand Master and Festival Director John Thompson and his distinguished guests were announced and welcomed by all present. John then thanked all guests for attending and hoped they all had a superb evening. John made special mention of Mrs Sue Snowdon, the Lord-Lieutenant Her Majesty’s representative in County Durham, Sir David Hugh Wootton, Assistant Grand Master and Sir Paul Williams, O.B.E, KStJ, Deputy President and Chairman of the Trustees of the MCF.

Enter CIC opened the entertainment, and this was followed by a 5 course meal enjoyed by all present.

The formal Toasts were observed with suitable replies by the appropriate people. In his reply John made special reference to the Province of Durham as a whole for the magnificent effort made by everyone involved throughout the Festival resulting in the end total. Flowers were presented to Mrs Sue Snowdon and Johns wife Andrea.

A fabulous night enjoyed by everyone who attended and with the help of Chris Tame the entertainment, it continued until the “wee hours”.

Johns full speech here

Click here for loads of photos

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Durham TLC in video | Durham Freemasons

Director Andy Kelleher and Videographer Damianio Petrucci of Kartoffel Films based in London arrived at the University Hospital of North Tees to produce a video on behalf of the MCF, showing the wonderful work being done by the TLC throughout Country. There are 48 local ‘Teddies for Loving Care’ (TLC) charities/initiatives across England and Wales that provide small teddies to their local A&E departments. In addition some TLC charities also donate a portion of their funds towards teddies for minor injuries units, children’s wards, hospices and women’s refuge centres. There are even teddies flying on air ambulances.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation ( ) are producing on behalf of ‘Teddies for Loving Care’, a short video that celebrates the initiative, the people that run it and the medical professionals that use the bears day-to-day. The TLC video will offer an insight into what the TLC charities do and their impact on their local communities. Durham TLC along with another Province will appear in the production and it will be featured on this site as soon as it is available.

Duncan Maw and Mark Davies were present representing Durham TLC, along with Helen Bainbridge, the Programme and Engagement Manager of the MCF, who briefed the film crew as to the content required. Many thanks to the hospital staff who went out of their way to assist. We all look forward to the finished product.

Together we are making a difference

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