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Eight charities across the County have been nominated by Essex Freemasons to receive a share of a £3 million Community Awards Fund

Eight charities across the County have been nominated by Essex Freemasons to receive a share of a £3 million Community Awards Fund, set aside to celebrate 300 years of modern Freemasonry and charitable giving – but what happens next is up to you.

Each charity – which provides help and support locally and across all parts of Essex - will receive at least £4,000 and that figure could be boosted to £25,000 subject to a public vote coordinated by the MCF, the Freemasons Charity based in London.

The eight Essex Charities are:

Equal People – based in Rayleigh. Equal People Performing Arts is a fully inclusive performing arts studio centre. It has created a safe and dignified space where disabled and non-disabled children and adults can work together in all aspects of the performing arts.

Essex Boys and Girls Clubs – based in Chelmsford. Essex Boys and Girls Clubs is a registered UK charity. They work to enable young people aged 11-25, in Essex and East London, to reach their potential.

YMCA Essex – based in Colchester and Chelmsford.  YMCA we seek to build lives, hope and futures for children, young people and families with childcare and youth services.  Their work includes a Nursery for babies and children aged 3 months – 5 years.  

Grapevine, Essex – based in Billericay.Grapevine Essex was established in 2012 to provide supported recreational and educational activities for adults with learning disabilities living in Essex.

Colchester Hospitals Charity Time Garden Appeal. They have set up a working group to develop an outside area of the hospital to provide a place for quiet contemplation, peaceful reflection and privacy for patients who are dying, and their relatives. To provide an alternative space to the busy clinical ward areas will cost £160,000

Special Needs and Parents (SNAP) – based in Brentwood. SNAP (Special Needs and Parents) helps Essex families who have children aged 0-25 years with special needs and disabilities.

Southend Blind Welfare Organisation.In the mid 1950’s a group of local people thought that there was the need for a Local Charity that would give help and support to the growing number of people in Southend who were Blind or Partially Sighted

Mersea Island Festival Trust. Offer youth Groups and families with disabled young people with opportunities to try out new activities, make new friends and have loads of fun! Over 300 people come from all over the UK and sometimes abroad.

The online public vote, which starts on June 12th until July 31st, will allow supporters, friends, Freemasons and interested members of the public to back their favourite charities.

Anyone who wishes to vote for one of the nominated charities should visit www.mcf.org.uk/vote, select the Essex page and vote for the charity of their choice. All the nominated charities are guaranteed to receive a grant, but the public vote will determine the amount from £4,000 up to £25,000.

The £3 million fund, which is being distributed to mark the 300th anniversary of the formation of the first Grand Lodge in 1717, is being administered by the Masonic Charitable Foundation and will be distributed to 300 charities across the country.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation receives all of its funding from Freemasons and their families.  It is estimated that half of Freemasonry’s total charitable expenditure of over £33m goes to charities that help people in communities across the country.

Rodney Bass, Provincial Grand Master for Essex, said:

“We are delighted to be able to invite the whole community to join our 300th anniversary celebrations by helping us to decide which of these excellent local charities should receive the highest award. Every vote counts, so I encourage everyone from Essex to visit the website -www.mcf.org.uk/vote -  and take part.”

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