Senior members of St Helens and Prescot Group and the Province of West Lancashire attended Willowbrook Hospice in St Helens recently to officially present a donation of £19.449 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
Out of a fund of £450,000 Two Hospices were chosen for large donations to aid in special projects, Willowbrook were chosen as a recipient in order to aid in the creation of Willowbrook Connections.
This is a three phased project to aid carers and family members who need support before, during and after the loss of a loved one, particular emphasis was given to children and male relatives who are often reluctant to seek help.
Amongst other things the project will provide a Kids Shack where children between the ages of 5 and 16 can come out of school hours, get to know each other, and take part in activities together. Support will be on hand from trained staff who will engage with the children and help support them in difficult times.
A similar project will create a Men Shed designed to help and support male relatives who are often unwilling to talk about their difficulties.
The St Helens and Prescot Group has supported Willowbrook since it’s creation. Donations from the group and also from individual lodges are an important aid in funding this essential and important local service. Although the Hospice does receive aid from central government and local health authority this only provides a small percentage of the large sums the Hospice requires each year to function.
Chairman of the Trustees Alan Chick introduced the talk and gave a short explanation of the work of the Hospice, Alan thanked the Brethren on behalf of the Hospice and stated that this donation was by far the most generous the Hospice had received from Freemasons charities. He assured the Brethren that the support of Freemasons was very important to the Hospice and hoped it would continue.
The Willowbrook Connections project was explained to the Brethren by Family Support Therapist Jan Barlow, Jan explained that she was now able to go from part time to full time working and so provide much more care and therapy for bereaved relatives, she gave a presentation explaining the work of Willowbrook Connections and informing the brethren of the importance of continuing support for family members of terminally ill patients both pre and post bereavement.
Neil Wright the chief executive then addressed the Brethren. Neil explained that the Hospice costs 4.5 million pounds per year to run and that government support of 1.5 million left a funding deficit of 3 million, all of which had to be raised by various means, donations and legacies were a very important part of this fundraising as was the Hospice lottery and income from the charity shops run by the Hospice.
Neil then went on to explain some of the difficulties faced by relatives of patients, he pointed out that there are many ways in which bereavement affects carers and family members.
Top picture Staff and Brethren (L to R)
Bro Graham Williams Group Chairman, Nicky Saunders Fund Raising Manager, W.Bro.Philip Gunning Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro.Les Newman Group Charity Steward, Alan Chick Chairman of the Trustees, W.Bro. Fred Dickinson Provincial Grand Pursuivant, W.Bro. Tony Bent Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Neil Wright Chief Executive of the Hospice, Chris Heywood Director of Clinical Services, Janet Barlow Psycosocial Therapist, W.Bro.Colin Rowling Past Group Chairman