To help more than 1.4 million people experiencing mental health issues, Freemasons in Leicestershire & Rutland and across England are donating more than £550,000 to help citizens across the UK.
One example is a recent donation to the Loughborough Wellbeing Centre, where Helen Carter, CEO said, “On behalf of the Trustees, staff , volunteers and Wellbeing café members at Loughborough Wellbeing Centre, may I please thank both the Freemasons of the Howe and Charnwood Lodge and the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charity Association for the very kind donation of £2000 to our local Mental Health Charity. We have been working tirelessly throughout the last 14 months of the pandemic to continue to support people in Leicestershire living with enduring mental health issues and have expanded our activities to ensure people have stayed safe and well. All donations help towards providing this support and with our plans to expand and create a Wellbeing Centre in Loughborough which is a much-needed resource for people of all ages for many years to come.”
Many people are reaching crisis point with their mental health due to the pandemic. According to NHS Prevalence Data 2020, one in six young people have a probable mental disorder, while the Young Minds Survey 2020 found 83% of young people said the pandemic had made their mental health worse.
To help the population exit the pandemic in a better state of mental health, the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales, are supporting various institutions, schools and universities.
Among the institutions receiving support, the Freemasons are donating £125,000 to Young Minds to help them to support approximately 1.4 million young people. The goal is to increase Young Minds’ reach by 10% and help many more young people find the support they need, when they need it, and be able to take practical, actionable steps to improve their mental health.
The donation will enable the project to proactively recruit more young Black people and disabled people, to diversify Young Minds’ pool of bloggers to expand the experiences and voices on the website. The idea is to create more content on racism and mental health, as well as for those living with bipolar disorder.
The UGLE and the Masonic Charitable Foundation’s (MCF) - the Freemasons’ charity - donations will also help 100,000 children and young people across the UK to access information, support and guidance online.
During almost two years of the pandemic, Freemasons have donated millions of pounds to support people in need. They have donated many tonnes of food, tablets for hospitals, ambulances and PPE, as well as supporting carers, women’s refuges, care homes, hospitals, hospices and funds for NHS workers. In 2020, the Freemasons total charitable donations topped £51 million.
In addition, Freemasons also worked 18 million hours as volunteers in a range of different areas where there was a need, including driving vulnerable people to hospital, preparing meals, taking care of people at risk, organising care packages, as well as producing scrubs, PPE and hand sanitiser.
Peter Kinder, head of Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons said, “mental health is a very important topic to us and our members, especially in recent years as we battle through this terrible pandemic. During this time, many local and national Freemasons have rallied together in support of the community and vulnerable people, preventing mental health problems and supporting families.”
In addition to the £1m donated in 2020, the Freemasons have committed a further fund of £2.1m to support the ongoing Covid-19 crisis response. Of that £2.1m, £850,000 has been allocated to support homeless people through several charities with which UGLE partners, while £715,000 is earmarked to support adult, young and parent carers.