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Older people in north Norfolk will feel less isolated thanks to Norfolk Freemasons 

Around 85 older people per week in the area around Sheringham will feel less isolated and take part in a variety of engaging activities thanks to a grant to Age Concern North Norfolk from Norfolk Freemasons. 

A £15,000 grant over three years will support those older people who find themselves isolated because of the loss of a partner, geographical remoteness or an inability to use modern communications technology. Age Concern North Norfolk’s efforts are particularly focused on individuals who live alone and face challenges in meeting their basic needs for hygiene and nutrition, a situation that has been exacerbated by recent global challenges including the pandemic and the cost of living crisis. 

Age Concern North Norfolk offers a daily sanctuary of care, companionship and support. Their services are diverse and tailored to the needs of the community’s older residents, featuring engaging activities such as alpaca visits, lunch clubs, light exercise classes and music and song sessions. Practical support extends to dementia care, medication assistance, bathing and laundry services and a critical befriending call service. For those unable to attend in person, the charity also offers a ‘meals on heels’ service, ensuring no one is left behind. 

Feedback from the community underscores the charity’s impact, with many beneficiaries sharing stories of newfound friendship and support in the face of loss and isolation. A local councillor has praised Age Concern North Norfolk as ‘a vital resource for the community’s social care provision,’ highlighting its integral role in the wellbeing of the area’s older population. 

The grant from Norfolk Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation. 

Anneliese Maerz Centre Manager at Age Concern North Norfolk said:  

‘Thanks to the generous support of Norfolk Freemasons, we’re able to continue to support older people in Norfolk. Our beneficiaries are very grateful for the support and look forward to their sessions. The community has seen a positive impact and has meant that their wellbeing has continued to improve as a result.’ 

 Paul Hooton The Chair of the Norfolk Freemasons Charitable Fund said: 

‘I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Age Concern North Norfolk and support the important work they are doing in our community. Loneliness has been shown to have a detrimenal effect on an individual’s health, and this local charity is doing a wonderful job in making contact with people who often do not get to have contact with others.’ 

£52,000 of support for Age UK Norwich and Local Pensioners

Norwich pensioners living in poverty will get help and support thanks to Norfolk Freemasons
More than 200 local older people living in poverty will receive vital support thanks to a grant of £52,000 from Norfolk Freemasons to the Age UK Norwich charity.
Norwich has around 30,000 residents aged over 65 who experience poverty, isolation and ill-health – living in some of the most deprived wards in the county. In these areas, life expectancy is nearly a decade (8.8 years) lower when compared to other areas in the city. Age UK Norwich is targeting these areas as a priority, helping with financial, housing and debt as well as improving health, wellbeing and independence.
Thanks to the Freemasons’ grant, Age UK will be targeting Lakenham ward in the south east of the city, one of Norwich’s most deprived areas. The charity will form a multi-disciplinary team to target older people within the ward, providing vital information and advice, especially in the following areas:
Statutory and civic benefit entitlement—e.g. pension credit, single occupancy housing tax discounts, Personal Attendance Allowance for carers.
Encouraging and reporting housing or landlord issues—experience shows, this is a common area of issue for older people living in poor living conditions who feel unable to challenge issues.
Promoting Health Coaching Support—raising the profile of the charity’s Health Coaching programme and Healthy Ageing campaign.
Providing access to Hardship Support—coordinating with local agencies, such as Norwich Foodbank, and Norwich Credit Union to provide emergency hardship support for people in financial crisis. For example, purchasing equipment, digital enablement, fuel and food vouchers.
Community Solutions—providing volunteer connection to help those who live alone to re-connect to their community and have additional support for activities for health or wellbeing.  This includes activity befriending, companionship and support for shopping or transport.

The new Age UK team will work together to raise the visibility of health and welfare through telephone, postal and direct community marketing; and coordinating engagement with referral partnerships such as One Norwich Primary Care Network, Dementia Cafes and other charities.
Based on their previous work and experience, Age UK expects that 90 per cent of older people with whom they will be working will feel more confident about dealing with their problems; 50 per cent will feel more able to do the things they enjoyed; 60 per cent will feel less isolated or lonely; 66 per cent will feel able to sleep better; and 90 per cent will feel their health and wellbeing has improved.
The grant from Norfolk Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Jamie Price, Head of Operations at Age UK Norwich, said:
“We’re very grateful to Norfolk Freemasons for their generous grant which will give Age UK Norwich a unique opportunity to make a real difference to some of the most vulnerable people in the city. This is vital work helping these older residents in our community with health and wellbeing at a very difficult time.”
Stephen Allen, Head of Norfolk Freemasons, said:
I’m really pleased we’ve been able to help Age UK Norwich. With over a quarter of the city’s residents over 65 years experiencing poverty and all the problems that go with it, there’s never been such a need for the services this excellent charity provides.”

£60,000 Support for a YMCA project

Single parent families in Norwich will get help and support thanks to Norfolk Freemasons
18th May 2023

Around 100 formerly homeless people from young single parent families will be given the support they need to move on with their lives, thanks to a grant of £60,000 from Norfolk Freemasons to YMCA Norfolk.
This project will support vulnerable and hard to reach single parent families by providing a dedicated Family Engagement Worker to provide a range of support, activities and opportunities to ensure a brighter future for them and their children. The project will be tailored to the young people’s strengths and aspirations, enabling them to address poor social mobility, parenting skills, improve physical, emotional and mental health, reduce loneliness and isolation and sustain independent living. 
The support on offer will likely include counselling, parenting skills, financial literacy, life skills, creating peer support networks and much more over a period of up to two years. The aim is to get them into a position to be ready to pass the local authority assessment for placement into council accommodation, and give them the skills and tools they need to maintain independence and not go back into the ‘system’. Many of these parents are care leavers themselves, and risk their own children following in their footsteps into the cycle of care. They are referred into YMCA accommodation by social services, are aged 16-25 themselves and all have young children.
YMCA Norfolk have designed the programme using research with their intended beneficiaries, with research showing 90 per cent requested community based social and peer support groups, while 80 per cent requested practical support like budgeting and education and employment support. The project’s success will be measured on the number of families successfully avoiding children being taken into care, and instead successfully accessing social housing.
The grant from Norfolk Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
John Lee, YMCA Norfolk CEO, said “We are very grateful to Norfolk Freemasons for their generous grant which will allow us to give support to single parent families that is designed to change the course of their lives. The aim is to get them into social housing, equipped with the skills they need to become independent – and we could not do this without the support of the Norfolk Freemasons.”
Stephen Allen, Head of Norfolk Freemasons, said:
“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help YMCA Norfolk with their excellent project to help local one parent families. The parenting and financial skills on offer are potentially life-changing, giving them a chance of real independence, where the children can hope to take full advantage of their education and break the cycle of depravation that has blighted their parents’ lives.”

Norwich City Community Sports Foundation

The Norwich City Community Sports Foundation recieved a grant of £45,000 from Norfolk Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Local children at risk of gang involvement and school exclusion will receive help and support through sport thanks to Norfolk Freemasons
17th May 2023
Hundreds of local children will be helped to avoid youth crime, gang involvement and exclusion from school, thanks to a grant of £45,000 from Norfolk Freemasons to the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation.
The Foundation’s Onside Project uses the power of sport and physical activity to break the cycle of violent youth crime, reducing poor mental wellbeing and risk of school exclusions, and to also bring families closer together.
Over the last three years the Foundation has worked with over 200 children and their families, and during the next three years they will work with a further 360 children and approximately 120 families, thanks to the Freemasons’ grant.
The onside project was developed in partnership with Norfolk County Council Children’s Services (NCCCS), Youth Offending Teams and Norfolk Police in 2019. It is delivered as an early intervention with the aim of tackling the issues in early years which has the potential to lead into more violent adult behaviour and other associated behaviours. Foundation staff work alongside NCCCS case workers, meet the family, and deliver interventions that include physical activity as the main ‘hook’, which develop into learning skills such as communication and teamwork. The charity also run behavioural and educational exercises, including awareness of drugs/alcohol, violence and gangs, nutrition, mental wellbeing, and additional maths and English support. The new funding from Norfolk Freemasons will help them expand from their core work in Norwich and Great Yarmouth to include Thetford and Dereham

The grant from Norfolk Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Toby Nickerson, the Foundation’s Community Development Manager, said:
“We’re extremely thankful to Norfolk Freemasons for their generous grant, which will allow us to continue supporting some of the county’s most disadvantaged children and families through our one-to-one delivery with our skilled Youth Worker’s”.
Stephen Allen from Norfolk Freemasons, said:“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Norwich City Community Sports Foundation with their hugely valuable project to break the cycle of violent youth offending and gang involvement. They will help children by improving their mental health and reducing their chances of being excluded from school while at the same time helping the whole community by reducing overall crime.”

New Treatment for Diabetes

New treatment for diabetes on the horizon

There will be hope for new treatments and better care for people with or at risk of diabetes, as PhD students receive a research grant of £315,000 from the MCF in partnership with Diabetes UK.

Over 4.9 million people in the UK are living with diabetes which, if untreated, can lead to health complications, like eye, foot or heart problems. Around 90 per cent of people with diabetes have type 2, and it is predicted that over 850,000 people have type 2 diabetes and are unaware of it. The series of research by the PhD students aimed to improve the treatment and diagnosis of different forms of diabetes, and protect people with the condition from its long-term complications, tackle some of the problems that diabetes can cause and improve the lives of many living with the condition.
Cells in our pancreas have a molecule on their surface, called GLP-1R, which tells them to release insulin. Some people have genetic variations that impact GLP-1R, allowing it to do its job better. These variants appear to protect people from developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Liliane El Eid, from Imperial College London, has started her PhD studentship and has started to explore these genetic variants, to understand how it helps to protect against type 2 diabetes. She has found that signals from GLP-1R are stronger when inside the cell, rather than on the surface of the cell and will be delving into these findings for the remainder of her studentship. In understanding more about GLP-1R, scientists could develop new drugs in the future that could help to ‘switch on’ insulin production and in turn prevent type 2 diabetes.

PhD student, Liliane El Eid
“Thanks to funding from the Freemasons, I’ve been able to conduct my work. Without their generous support, I would have been unable to complete important research testing to understand how we can prevent type 2 diabetes and potentially help many around the world.” – Liliane El Eid
Oliver Richards at Swansea University looked to improve the screening process for a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy, called gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnancy hormones make it hard for the body to use insulin properly, resulting in high blood sugar levels. While gestational diabetes usually goes away after giving birth, it can increase risk of type 2 diabetes in later life. Current screening for this form of diabetes is time-consuming and expensive, as mothers must fast overnight and be in hospital for several hours.
Oliver worked with Professor Thornton to develop a quicker, cheaper and more informative test for expecting mothers. This could reduce the time and cost of diagnosis, allowing the NHS to screen more pregnant women who are more likely to be at risk for gestational diabetes.
This research found that the new test works effectively with a non-invasive finger prick blood test, which is less invasive for the mother and easier to administer for hospital staff, making the testing process more time and cost effective. Moreover, this new method could provide further health information that could help to decrease the risk of pregnant women developing type 2 diabetes in later life.

“We’re grateful that the Masonic Charitable Foundation has joined Diabetes UK on our mission to create a world where diabetes can do no harm. This partnership has allowed us to support exceptional scientists starting out in their career, helping to nurture the diabetes research rising stars of the future. The projects the MCF has funded will help to make strides across a wide range of research, from diabetes-related kidney problems, to preventing type 2 diabetes and screening for gestational diabetes.” – Anna Morris, Assistant Director of Research Strategy and Partnerships
Another PhD student, Beth Williams, was in the process of understanding how communication between kidney cells change in diabetes. Beth has identified that disrupted cell-to-cell communication in the kidney, brought about by high sugar levels, can trigger inflammatory damage throughout the body switching on a protein in the body, called TGF-b1, which is harmful to kidney cells. Early evidence suggests two treatment options could help to stop this protein.
“We’re really pleased to be in partnership with Diabetes UK, who are the leading charity in the UK for people living with diabetes. In supporting future scientists through their research, we can have a major impact on the lives of many having to manage diabetes.” – Les Hutchinson, Chief Executive of the MCF

Norfolk 2027 Festival Appeal

Norfolk 2027 Festival Appeal
Provincial events for 2023

This June, for all those thrill seekers, there is to be a tandem Skydive at Beccles airport arranged via UK parachuting. Due to the nature of this event, there are as you may expect some preconditions that must be adhered to. Should you have any underlying heath issue, you must check with your doctor beforehand. All a participants must complete a self-declaration medical certificate, which will be emailed to you direct, along with an ‘introduction to sky diving’, from UK Parachuting, once we pass on your details. Maximum weight 16st. 7lb for men (105kg), 15st 7lb for women (98kg). Minimum age 16 years, under 18-year-olds will require parental consent, the good news for all our senior masons …there is no upper age limit!! Further details can be found at

The cost per person is £210.00. This expense cannot be taken from sponsorship money. The cost may be paid by the individual, a kind Brother or Brothers, from Lodge funds not associated with charity, e.g. General purposes account, dedicated raffle etc, or even an employer contribution or other benefactor providing there is no benefit to them, such as publicity or advertising. Gift aid cannot be claimed on this expense. Please check with the Festival team if you are unsure.

Where and when? Beccles Airfield on Wednesday 21st. June 2023. The longest day! we have requested a wonderfully bright and warm day to give all those intending to jump the best possible experience. The start and finish times will be determined once final numbers are known. There’s ample parking and plenty of room for family members and friends to come along and support, bring a picnic and make a day of it!

How does it work? You will be given a tutorial; this will be around 20mins. You then get the chance to jump in tandem with an experienced Instructor, from around two miles high, travelling at 120mph and free falling 5,000 feet in 40 seconds. It’s a fantastic experience that will last for between six and seven minutes but will be a memory forever. Wear comfortable clothing, track suit and trainers are advised. Ladies can have a female tandem instructor if preferred, please advise in advance.

How do I record sponsorship? Sponsorship forms should already be with your Charity steward, if not please download and use the sample attached or contact the Festival team on and we will be happy to supply them.

How much do I need to raise? Based on our previous event, we would expect each participant to a raise at least £500 in sponsorship …. but the sky’s the limit! Don’t forget ‘gift aid’ and boost every qualifying donation by 25%.

Please keep the Festival team advised of all participants by email to with the following information; Lodge name and number being represented Lodge contacts name and details , Name of participant, Address, Age, Gender, Contact email address and telephone no. We will gather all the information and do the rest, should your details change please keep us advised so we can inform UK Parachuting.

Happy landings!!!

The 2027 Festival team.

For further information or enquiries on this or other Festival events contact the team on

The MCF Great North Run Challange

Dear all.

For those of you who are already members of the Provincial Grand Charity Stewards Facebook Group you will have seen my post today regarding the MCF Great North Run team.  There are three of us running and at the same time, attempting to raise funds for the MCF.  I am aware that you cannot share posts from within this group and so I have added below the words from that post and also attached a photo of the team.

I would be most grateful if you could, if possible, share this post on your Provincial social media channels, particularly if you are in Festival Provinces.  If that is the case, then please remember that any donations received from individuals, Lodges (and Chapters) and of any donations from the province, will count towards festival totals.

The MCF – your charity, our charity. A charity for freemasons for families for everyone. A charity funded entirely by Freemasons, that

builds better lives by encouraging opportunity, promoting independence and improving wellbeing. A charity that strives for excellence

by making a difference and being responsive to need.

So far this year (since 1st April 2022) the MCF has responded to the need of 73 local and national charities with grants totalling in

excess of £1.5million.

So far this year the MCF has made a difference to the lives of nearly 1,100 Freemasons or family members with grants in the value

of £3.5million.

But the MCF can only do this with through to support and donations from Freemasons. That is I am running in this year’s Great North Run

with two of my colleagues in order to raise funds for the charity so that it can continue to provide this support.

If you wish to sponsor us that would be great, (And don’t forget, any donations that come in from Provinces in Festival will have their

donations allocated to their appeals). If you are not able to make a donation then please take some time to look at our website to see

how amazing the MCF is –

Myself and my running mates would be most grateful for any support that you can give to this endeavour.


Led by Professor Colin Cooper, researchers at the University of East Anglia have found a link between bacteria and aggressive forms of prostate cancer, identifying five types of bacteria which were common in urine and tissue samples from men with aggressive prostate cancer. It is hoped that these findings could help pave the way for treatments that could target these particular bacteria, slowing or preventing the development of aggressive disease.
Deaths from prostate cancer outnumber deaths from breast cancer. It is the most common cancer in men today, taking the lives of more than 11,000 each year.
In 2018, Professor Cooper gave a talk about his research at Norfolk Provincial Grand Lodge. A year later, he came back to receive a major financial boost of £190,213 from lodges and the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which has provided funding for his Tiger Test research.
We are delighted the UEA is making these breakthroughs and our support, together with the other UEA funding partners, has all been part of massing the quality research team and laboratory necessary to secure these important findings. They have caught worldwide attention and we hope for many more important discoveries from the Cooper lab in the future.
Read more about the latest breakthrough here – link to UEA news page

Freemasons contribute to £500,000 for Ukrainian refugees

Thousands of Ukrainian refugees as well as displaced people still inside Ukraine will be given help and support, thanks to half a million pounds raised by Norfolk Freemasons and other Provinces across England and Wales
The money is being directed to charities working on the ground in Ukraine, as well as organisations helping refugees in neighbouring countries including Poland, Moldova, Romania, and in the UK.
The £500,000 was raised in less than three weeks and the total is still growing as Freemasons continue to dig deep to help the refugees.
The war in Ukraine has created by far the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War, and more people are fleeing Ukraine for countries to the west every day.
The chosen charities, each of which will receive £100,000, are:
The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) – which could help setup a ‘Blue Dot Hub’ to provide a safe space for up to 5,000 children and families on the move every day. Blue Dot Hubs offer critical services such as child-friendly spaces, mother and baby facilities and a crucial family reunification support.
Plan International UK – which could help set up 55 temporary learning spaces in Poland, Moldova and Romania, so children can learn and play in a safe space away from the war.
The Refugee Council – which could help to fund two full-time therapists to provide specialist therapy for hundreds of traumatised refugees.
British Red Cross – to fund work with hundreds of Ukrainian refugees in the UK to help them overcome loneliness and isolation and to offer other practical support to help ease them into life in Britain.
UK for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency – which could help provide essential repairs to severely damaged homes in Ukraine that have been damaged by shelling and conflict.

Norfolk Freemasons contributed to the grant through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Stephen Allen, Head of Norfolk Freemasons Freemasons, said:

“Freemasons have an outstanding record helping those in need in this country and around the world, but this huge sum to support Ukrainian refugees was raised in record time. I’m very proud that Norfolk Freemasons have been able to play such an important part in this essential work.”

The Pathway Foundation Appeal

When members of Lodge of Friendship No 100 became aware of an urgent appeal by the Pathway Foundation in Great Yarmouth, their Charity Steward John Capon arranged a meeting at the Pathway Mission in Admiralty Road, Great Yarmouth with the project supervisor Jennifer King and The Reverend Canon Simon Ward. Also invited was the Head of Norfolk Freemasons Stephen Allen and his colleague Michael Muskett MBE.
The meeting quickly identified the two areas which the Pathway Foundation required urgent assistance for. First was a new dishwasher to replace the failing original, then the purchase of a suitable vehicle for the distribution of hot food and to give advice to the homeless and most needy in the local area. Stephen Allen agreed that the appeals should be supported by Freemasons from both Norfolk and Suffolk who meet at the Royal Assembly Rooms in Great Yarmouth, as the Pathway Foundation provides a vital service to the local area.
The replacement dishwasher being the priority, it was quickly sourced and funding immediately made available from the Rotary Lodge of Norfolk and Potters Holiday Resort at Hopton, both donating £1,000 each from their charity funds.
The biggest task was to raise £7,000 for the purchase of the vehicle. This was needed not only to collect food donated by local supermarkets, but to deliver hot food to the homeless and needy in the local area. The appeal request was made to lodges in early January, and following an excellent response from lodges, together with personal donations from members businesses, the fantastic total of £7,556 was soon raised. This enabled the purchase of a van, together with a three year warranty, insurance for twelve months and signwriting onto the vehicle.
Altogether a fantastic effort which enabled the van to be handed over a few weeks later on a beautiful sunny day. Stephen Allen, Lodge Charity Stewards and other members together with the private and business doners were all in attendance when the van was presented to Jennifer King and the Pathway Volunteers. Afterwards, Jennifer and her team were given a tour of the Royal Assembly Rooms and provided with a welcome cup of tea, which made a pleasant change as it is usually them who serve the teas!
The appeal raised the magnificent sum of £9,556, with Gift Aid adding a further £111. Sincere thanks must go to all who gave their support.