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Here’s your chance to help Norfolk and Suffolk charities win a bigger slice of Masons’ anniversary fund pie

Stephen Allen, the head of freemasonry in Norfolk, is encouraging everyone to vote for charities as part of a 300th anniversary grant scheme. Picture: Archant Library

Stephen Allen, the head of freemasonry in Norfolk, is encouraging everyone to vote for charities as part of a 300th anniversary grant scheme. Picture: Archant Library

Archant

They have been a part of civic life for 300 years - and now they are celebrating by putting £3m back into the community.

Volunteers at the Star Throwers charity in Wymondham. From left, Sunder Rao Bethapudy; Sadie Wells, Tony Perry, Sandra Cross, Janet Greenway, and Maureen Walters. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Volunteers at the Star Throwers charity in Wymondham. From left, Sunder Rao Bethapudy; Sadie Wells, Tony Perry, Sandra Cross, Janet Greenway, and Maureen Walters. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Freemasons are donating the money to worthy charities across the country, and readers have the chance to help decide how some of the money is distributed across our region.

Six Norfolk-based charities have been selected as finalists for Freemasons Community Awards Tercentenary Fund grants, with each set to receive between £4,000 and £25,000, depending on how many votes they get.

Stephen Allen, head of Norfolk Masons, said he wanted to encourage everyone to take part and vote for a charity they feel deserves a boost.

Mr Allen said: “We are delighted to be able to invite the whole community to join our 300th anniversary celebrations by helping us to decide which of these excellent local charities should receive the highest award.

West Norfolk Carers - Chey Charlesworth with Steve Rourke (left). Picture: Matthew Usher. West Norfolk Carers - Chey Charlesworth with Steve Rourke (left). Picture: Matthew Usher.

“Every vote counts, so I encourage everyone from Norfolk to visit the website and take part.”

Alan Fairchild, Norfolk Masons communications officer, said the Masonic Charitable Foundation grants would make a lot of difference to the charities involved.

He said: “Over 100,000 people have already voted but with three weeks to go before the on the line poll closes on 31 July there is still time to for many more member of the public to help a favourite local charity gain the maximum grant.”

The grants mark the 300th anniversary of the formation of the first Masons’ Grand Lodge in London 1717.

Centre 81 members, volunteers and staff.  Picture: TMS Media Centre 81 members, volunteers and staff. Picture: TMS Media

The Norfolk finalists for the grants are:

Star Throwers - This Wymondham-based charity is dedicated to empowering and supporting cancer patients and their loved ones through advice, support, and wellbeing therapies. Its volunteers are there for people with cancer at any stage of their journey – at diagnosis, during treatment, to life after cancer – but are especially dedicated to helping those with terminal cancer.

Star Throwers also believes in supporting the ‘whole person’ and their loved ones, not just focusing on their cancer.

Stepping Stones - This is a small, vibrant charity based in Norwich which supports adults with learning disabilities.

Home-Start Norwich volunteers from the north Norfolk area. Picture: Home-Start Norwich Home-Start Norwich volunteers from the north Norfolk area. Picture: Home-Start Norwich

Their aim is to enrich lives by building skills, independence and making informed choices.

They charity’s ethos is that it is important for everyone to be able to take part in and make a contribution to the world around them. Its team works in a ‘person-centred’ way, helping to build life and social skills through four subject areas – art and craft, cooking, horticulture and IT.

West Norfolk Carers - Based in King’s Lynn, this not-for-profit group support carers of all ages, from seven to 97.

This is done by offering carers a range of age appropriate activities including one-to-one support.

Paddy Seligman, founding chairman of the Norfolk Millennium Trust for Carers. Picture: Ian Burt Paddy Seligman, founding chairman of the Norfolk Millennium Trust for Carers. Picture: Ian Burt

Team members undertake home visits and also provide carers support groups, craft and therapy sessions, mindfulness workshops, counselling and listening support, financial support and access to small learning grants.

They also access grants to help families where they are in hardship and are unable to buy or replace essential equipment and household goods.

Centre 81 - This Great Yarmouth-based group provides a centre for the purposes of recreation and leisure, with the aim of improving residents’ quality of life.

Established in 1981, the group works with people with physical and other disabilities including those with complex health and social needs, as well as those who have deteriorating health and shortened life expectancy.

Home-Start Norfolk - This family support charity helps parents to give their children the best possible start in life. The charity’s particular focus is on families who are disadvantaged and coping with health problems such as mental health problems, disability, deprivation, family breakdown or isolation.

Norfolk Millennium Trust for Carers - The trust, born out of a We Care Appeal in the Eastern Daily Press in 1998, gives unpaid carers in the county grants to provide a better quality of life for them and their loved ones.

The grants help to provide practical items like white goods and laptops, power packs for wheelchairs, and short breaks and leisure activities which relieve the 24/7 pressures of caring.

To find out more about any of the finalists and to vote, visit mcf.org.uk/region/norfolk
To find finalists based in Suffolk and nearby counties, visit mcf.org.uk/vote

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