Caring Together, a leading local charity, has received a grant of £35,000 from Cambridgeshire Freemasons. Caring Together supports carers of all ages across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk and can provide support for carers who are preparing for, and during, bereavement. Being able to offer both one-to-one and group support for carers through their bereavement means that they can be given practical and emotional support, information, advice and guidance.
This local grant is one of many from Freemasons across the country who are leading a project to help up to 33,000 adult, young and parent carers, with donations totalling more than £715,000.
Andy McGowan, Caring Together head of carer services, said, “We are very grateful for this generous support from Cambridgeshire Freemasons through the COVID-19 Community Fund. Looking after a family member or friend can be very demanding and the coronavirus pandemic has made it even more challenging. For people who are facing losing the person they care for, or have suffered this type of bereavement, it is an incredibly difficult time.
This funding will help us work to reduce the loneliness and sense of isolation they can face, help us to involve them in different social activities, and in providing much-needed emotional and practical support. The benefits of being together after caring - having the on-going support of other carers, including those who have themselves been bereaved, staff, and volunteers - can make a big difference at a time when this support is needed so much.
Being able to continue our support for carers after their caring role is hugely important and this funding from Cambridgeshire Freemasons will help us to do this.”
Richard Cross (pictured above), a carer who experienced bereavement and a range of challenges when his wife Sheila passed away said, “I personally want to express my deepest gratitude to Cambridgeshire Freemasons. I know first-hand how hard and difficult it is when a carer loses the person they love so much and have cared for. So much of what I experienced was cold and impersonal.
“But because of the help I have received from Caring Together, I was able to get on to a positive footing much sooner that would otherwise have been the case. And I know that this funding will mean that they can help other carers be better prepared for bereavement and then be better supported through all they go through.”
David Cameron, a Cambridgeshire Freemason who coordinates donations, said, “We are delighted to be able to continue our support for our local communities with this latest grant to Caring Together”.
According to Carers UK, the number of carers grew exponentially during the pandemic, reaching more than 13 million. The helping hand from the Freemasons is supporting them with essential items, life skills, counselling, crisis support, activities and breaks.
Approximately 20,000 unpaid carers are receiving access to crucial support online, funded by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body of the Freemasons.
The UGLE is also working to protect young carers, who are under increasing pressure as they support family members during lockdown.
In particular, the Freemasons’ project is providing 870 young carers with respite through activities and breaks, while 760 young carers are being provided with essential items and life skills. Elsewhere, almost 100 schools are receiving assistance to identify hidden young carers and provide support.
In total, more than 1,800 young carers are receiving advice, support and information. In addition to their support for young carers, the Freemasons are providing funding for crisis support, advice and information to almost 3,000 adult carers. Meanwhile, the project is also assisting 1,050 parent carers with advice and support.
Dr David Staples, chief executive of the UGLE, and himself a Cambridgeshire Freemason. said: “These have been very difficult times for everyone and especially for carers. With the donations, we are helping with training, counselling, support, mental and physical health, as well as activities to reduce stress.
“We want to recognise the enormous contribution carers make to families and communities throughout the UK. They do their best because they want to make a difference and care deeply for their family members.”
In Bedfordshire the donation will help up to 20,000 unpaid carers to access online support, information and guidance with ease, freeing up staff to help those who are most in need. And in Essex, the donation will benefit 4,000 carers with a new minibus, providing transport to and from activities and day centres, removing barriers to participation.
Meanwhile in Buckinghamshire, almost 2,000 young carers will be supported at school, to improve their wellbeing and reduce stress and isolation. The donation will fund the salaries and project costs of three support staff to work with schools in identifying and supporting young carers. The aim of the project is to find young people with previously ‘hidden’ caring responsibilities and raise awareness of their burden.
Elsewhere, in Cumberland and Westmorland, Freemasons’ donations are supporting the Eden Carers project with mobile phones and laptops for its staff, enabling them to continue to support more than 800 unpaid carers of all ages flexibly and remotely, complying with Covid-19 restrictions.
Notes to Editors:
Interviews available on request
Livia Ferreira, public relations manager, United Grand Lodge of England
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7395 9208 | Mobile: +44 (0)7539 578699
Michelle Worvell, director of communications and marketing, United Grand Lodge of England
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7395 9290 | Mobile: +44 (0)7538 512669
About the United Grand Lodge of England:
The Premier Grand Lodge, which became the United Grand Lodge of England, was founded at the Goose and Gridiron Pub in London in 1717. It has 48 Provinces across the country and more than 7,000 Lodges, with students over the age of 18 able to join one of the 85 University Scheme Lodges. Freemasons use four important guiding principles to help define their path through life: integrity, friendship, respect and charity. One of the oldest social and charitable organisations in the world, Freemasonry’s roots lie in the traditions of the medieval stonemasons who built our cathedrals and castles. Membership is open to people from all backgrounds and the organisation’s aim is to empower members to be the best they can be – it’s about building character, supporting members as individuals and helping them make a positive contribution to society. Freemasonry is one of the largest charitable givers in the country, contributing more than £48m to deserving causes in 2018 alone. Freemasons do not only donate money – more than 18.5 million hours of volunteer work were undertaken by Freemasons in 2018.
About Cambridgeshire Freemasonry
The Masonic Province of Cambridgeshire is relatively small, with Masonic Centres in Cambridge, Ely, Newmarket, March, Chatteris, Whittlesey and Wisbech. There are around 1500 Freemasons and 30 individual lodges. We pride ourselves on our friendliness and inclusivity, with members drawn from all walks of life and professional backgrounds. We welcome enquiries from anyone who is curious about our values and our history. More information is available on our website and enquiries should be directed to our Provincial Office in Cambridge via https://www.cambridgeshirefreemasons.org.uk/ or to our Provincial Information Officer:
Jon Cooper, Press Officer for Cambridgeshire Freemasons
About Caring Together:
Caring Together provide information and advice, run services in our local communities and campaign so that carers have choices. A carer is anyone, including children and adults, who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, and cannot cope without their support. Caring Together are proud to support more than 12,000 carers and their families every year, but there are an estimated 178,000 carers living in our region. And this number is rising. They need your help to make sure that even more carers in our local communities receive the practical and emotional support that they need.
You can find out more about the support available for carers facing bereavement at www.caringtogether.org/together-after-caring
If you want to know how you can support Caring Together and make a difference to carers please go to www.caringtogether.org/help-us-help-others