Paul Palmer

Funding for hospice service to care homes

Farleigh Hospice in Chelmsford has launched a major new programme, funded by Essex Freemasons, to support residents at care homes across mid-Essex with critical end of life and palliative care.

The programme will cost £33,000 to deliver, money donated by Essex Freemasons via the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) and is urgently needed to support the care home sector which has been badly affected by the Covid pandemic.

Debbie de Boltz, Fundraising Manager for Farleigh Hospice, explained: “We knew there was an urgent need to extend the Hospice service into care homes but until now we never had the resources to make this happen. This grant from Essex Freemasons has made all the difference and will allow us to strengthen our team enabling us to launch this new programme, which in turn will provide the critical support needed for residents and staff at care homes.”

In practical terms care homes can now work more closely with the Hospice, helping to identify residents approaching the end of life who can choose to remain where they are or be transferred to the Hospice for specialist support. The £33,000 grant is part of a £100,000 package of donations from Essex Freemasons and the MCF for Hospices across the county. Similar grants of £30,000 plus have been given to St Helena at Colchester and St Luke’s in Basildon.

“Hospices have always attracted support from Freemasons,” said Peter Hollingsworth, Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Essex Freemasons. “I am delighted that we have once again been able to fund vital new projects to ensure that they can keep up their fantastic work in the community.”

Farleigh Hospice provides care for any type of illness that is considered life-limiting, including cancer, neurological diseases, and chronic heart, lung, and renal diseases, both in their Inpatient Unit or in a patient’s home environment. This service has now been extended to care homes as a result of the Grant. In addition to MCF Grants of more than £450,000 donated to Hospices nationally, Essex Masons traditionally support local hospices across the county with combined donations exceeding more than £50,000 each year.

Pictured above at the Farleigh Hospice Memorial Garden are Colin Felton, Provincial Charity Steward; Samantha Riches, Care Home Coordinator; Sheona Evangeli, Locality Care Teams Manager; and Peter Hollingsworth, Asst. Provincial Grand Master.

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Saxon Hall Vaccination Centre

Police swoop on ‘lockdown rave’ at Saxon Hall ... to find 80+year olds queueing for their Covid jabs!

Southend’s freemasonry centre, Saxon Hall, in Aviation Way, opened its doors last week to NHS front line staff, offering the building for use as a vaccination centre in the battle against Covid19.

On the chilly opening day, the first 80-year-old-plus invitees for a jab turned up for their 8am appointments almost an hour early, and kept coming.

Helping the queues grow even longer was the late arrival of the actual vaccines – and then there wasn’t enough supply to meet demand, which led to further delays, and lengthening queues, while fresh supplies were sourced.

And then police arrived. Chairman of Saxon Hall Dennis Baum, pressed into willing duty as a car park attendant, said: “They had been notified that there was a rave taking place at Saxon Hall – only to find 80and 90-year-olds with wheelchairs, zimmer frames and walking sticks patiently queueing for their vaccinations.”

Dennis added that although the earlier queues had resulted in a few grumpy old men and women, “as a balancing act, many more very appreciative people couldn’t have been more grateful to receive the vaccine, and thanked Saxon Hall and Essex freemasons for providing the venue”.

In the days following, local voluntary organisations, including the Leigh Lions, Community Police and OneLove Soup Kitchen Southend, made queueing a lot more comfortable for those awaiting the vaccine by providing gazebo shelters, hot drinks, blankets and wheelchairs, as well as helping with steward duties and providing refreshments for the hardworking NHS staff.

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