Freemasons donate £4000 to Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity

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The donation stems  from a public ballot to decide how to spend £3 million of charity funding as part of the United Grand of England’s tercentenary celebrations where Freemasons nominated 300 charities across England and Wales to receive a grant from the Masonic Charity Foundation.

BRCC employs a team of part-time Village and Community Agents across rural parts of Bedfordshire, who act as a bridge between vulnerable and isolated people and the local support networks and services that can help them. Having started in Bedford Borough and expanded to cover all of the Borough’s rural areas, we have also moved into Central Bedfordshire, with Agents in place in Potton and Biggleswade. The Agents assist in early intervention and prevention, helping people to continue living independently at home with a higher quality of life, and reducing pressure on increasingly stretched statutory services. Agents act as facilitators building local support networks, providing information, advice and guidance and promoting access to services. Agents’ particular strength is the ability to work with people who have not yet asked for help. Awareness of services among more isolated rural people can be low, and statutory and voluntary organisations can struggle to reach many of the clients in need of their services. Also, with a tradition of self-reliance and often living among affluent neighbours, rural people may be unwilling to admit they are struggling. By establishing themselves within the rural communities they serve, Agents can reach people who might otherwise fall ‘under the radar’.

Agents build relationships of trust with their clients, increase their awareness of the services, and help them to navigate the sometimes confusing array of different agencies. They provide time for people and respond to a wide range of issues, sometimes providing advocacy services to enable clients to access services or benefits where they have previously been turned down or where the client gave up through finding the process too complicated. Our team of Agents is currently working directly with nearly 1,000 clients every year. Over half of these are over 75 years old, and nearly half have some form of disability. The issues with which they assist clients are very wide-ranging and include enabling them to claim benefits to which they are entitled; increasing access to health and care services; finding transport solutions; decreasing social isolation; and helping them to continue to live independently at home by accessing low level practical support, home safety and security measures.

Masonic Charitable Foundation

Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the Masonic Charitable Foundation is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country.

Most of the support provided by the Masonic Charitable Foundation takes the form of financial grants to individuals and families to assist with daily living costs.  We can also award grants to provide specific items or services.

A range of health and care needs, including medical and dental treatments, counselling and mobility aids or home adaptations are supported, with funding also available for respite, residential, nursing and dementia care.

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