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The Newsletter of the Provincial Grand Lodge & Provincial Grand Chapter of Leicestershire & Rutland


£4,000 Presented to Strides!

The Provincial Grand Charity Steward of Leicestershire & Rutland Royal Arch Freemasons, Peter Williamson, has presented a £4,000 cheque to Doreen Watson, Chair of the Strides! (Leicester) Charity. The money was donated by the Royal Arch Masons and the Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons Charity (LRFC).

Strides! is a support group for adults with mental health issues living in Leicester or Leicestershire. It is a user-led organisation facilitated by volunteers. They meet each Wednesday afternoon for group activities including outdoor games and country walks, visits to museums and places of worship, creative activities, cooking, discussions and talks by visiting speakers. The group aims to develop positive, proactive thinking, to build confidence and the ability of members to work co-operatively in planning their programme.

The support provided by Strides! fills a huge gap in aftercare for people with mental health issues, and often prevents readmission to hospital, helping to relieve pressure on Mental Health and Social Services. Almost 50% of their Trustees are or have been part of the group. Several members have gained enough confidence to take up Voluntary work or paid employment and one recently founded and runs a support group for alcoholics and substance misusers.  Many members have enrolled on educational classes including a Catering Course leading to employment. During half-term break and summer recess, two Member Volunteers arrange for small groups to meet for social gatherings.

Doreen Watson gave her thanks to the Leicester Freemasons for considering Strides! for such a generous donation. She said during the summer they would try to have two or three days out to places of interest such as Barrow Boating or Desford Bird Sanctuary. She added that funds are very limited but now this donation will enable Strides! to consider a more expensive activity such as a trip to a theatre performance or similar – the members will decide!

The scale of the donation is a triumph for the digital donation strategy being implemented by Craft and Chapter across the Province. QR codes and giveTap links enabled the companions in the Royal Arch to raise a bigger sum of money than ever before - almost twice as much. Those companions who do not have computers, or do not own smartphones, were able to take part in this inclusive drive by using alternative methods of making donations. What an impact they all achieved!


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