Every spring and autumn Freemasons from all parts of Devon would normally meet to give support local charities & organisations throughout the county who are in need of assistance, nominated by their local lodge.
This year The Lodge of Felicity in Plymouth selected “Memory Matters Foundation” to make the donation of £830, this is on top of a donation of £5,049 given six months ago by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF).
In 2010, two nurses – Laura Walker and Kate Smith, set up Memory Matters; an organisation founded to help change the face of dementia support in our community. Memory Matters started because both women were frustrated with the lack of support provided for people living with dementia, as well as their carers.
Kate and Laura’s intention has always been to provide meaningful services that respond to the needs expressed by people living with dementia. They believe that having access to compassionate support, therapies and peer led activities, enables people to live well with their dementia.
As one happy beneficiary said:
“Dementia doesn’t have to mean ‘the end’, it’s just a different chapter.”
In March 2017, the duo opened Moments Café in Plymouth City Centre; with a trip down memory lane for most, and a calming, friendly atmosphere for all.
All profits from the Café help to sustain Memory Matters together with donations from organisations like the Freemasons, enabling them to provide support for people living with dementia as well as offering free services in their Memory Matters Hub.
The money donated by the Freemasons is raised through the “WAKE Fund” a trust conceived by William Alexander Kneel, the Provincial Grand Master from 1970 to 1984, the late owner of Kneels laundry & dry cleaners (now Johnsons). This fund stands at £2 million and the interest earned is given annually to local non masonic organisations in need of help. Since the first disbursement in 2001 over £850,000 has been given to over 900 worthy causes selected by members of the 131 Masonic lodges based in the county.
This spring Ian Kingsbury, Provincial Grand Master for the Devonshire Freemasons would have presented cheques to 9 deserving causes, but due to lockdown restrictions cheques totalling £7,500 have been sent directly to the charities concerned.
Ian Kingsbury said
“It’s a great shame not to be able to meet the representatives of the charities we are funding this year but, I am delighted that the Freemasons of Devon are able to contribute to these important local causes many of which are so competently run by volunteers and hopefully these donations will make a real difference, we are acutely aware that in these extreme times Covid 19 makes fundraising for charities even more difficult than usual so are happy that we can continue to help."