The Finishing Line is in Sight! But will it be for £5 or 6 Million?

Charity representatives of the 300 plus lodges in Essex attended the Provincial Charity Stewards Conference: Saturday 14th August 2021 

With just over three weeks before his Installation as the new Most Excellent Grand Superintendent for Essex, at Freemasons’ Hall in London on 9th September 2021, Paul Tarrant, gave the closing address to charity representatives from the Royal Arch Chapters in Essex, as well as those from the Craft Lodges, at the Provincial Charity Stewards Conference held at the Southend Masonic Centre and online on Saturday 14th August 2021

Masonic provinces in England and Wales raise vital funding for one of the UK’s largest charities, the Masonic Charitable Foundation, through appeals called ‘Festivals which normally last for five years.  The Essex 2022 Festival ends in seven months’ time. The initial target was £5 million but, after receiving a large legacy, was increased to £6 million before covid 19 struck and decimated the fundraising of the 9,000 Freemasons in the County, “We can all see it has been a rough year,” said Paul Tarrant.

The conference was informed that the total raised so far in Essex is £4.3 million.  With the lifting of restrictions Lodges are meeting again so £5 million appears feasible. Delegates heard how the MCF has been coping over the past year and how each individual Relief Chest scheme is embracing technology as well as the changes and innovations in methods of donating with a big move to online giving.

The MCF has committed over £7 million to the work of national charities based in Essex as well as local charities and good causes with 95% of the favourable press coverage about Essex Masons being charity based.  After Paul Tarrant had thanked the conference organisers and presenters, he said “We get more from the MCF than we give,” and emphasised to all the delegates the need “to support the MCF as much as possible”.

There is no doubt that as the Freemasons in Essex resume meeting in their lodges once again, there will be a considerable amount of fundraising activity among their members, particularly over the next seven months. On closing the conference, Paul Tarrant said “The finishing line is in sight”. Charities, good causes and readers throughout Essex will all be watching carefully and wishing them every success whilst asking the question “but will it be for £5 or 6 million?”