The freemasons have made it their mission to those most impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, donating £1m between April and July 2020. Now, they are focusing on protecting the homeless with a series of donations across England and Wales.
Homelessness During Covid-19
The homelessness crisis has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, worsened by many losing their jobs and finding themselves on the streets. In 2019, Shelter reported an estimated 280,000 homeless people in England. Already in 2020, the Greater London Authority reported 4,227 people sleeping rough in London between April and June 2020, 2,680 of which were sleeping on the streets for the first time.
The funds raised will help provide safe living conditions, healthcare, meals, and employment opportunities for the homeless; as well as helping protect them from the winter weather, which kills hundreds of homeless people every year. In addition, Freemasons will be volunteering their time at 26 homeless support organisations.
- More than 40,000 homeless people will be provided with essentials, transport and support, as well as help accessing services such as counselling, healthcare and benefits;
- Almost 197,000 meals will be provided to homeless people;
- Approximately 600 people are being given employment and training opportunities;
- Nearly 1,400 individuals are being provided with accommodation and support.
Charities are Pooling Together
UGLE, the governing body for Freemasons in England and Wales, are prioritising organisations across the United Kingdom including charity Emmaus which is distributing money over different homeless communities across the country. They are also supporting London-based charity, Only a Pavement Away, which provides employment in the hospitality sector for the homeless, ex-offenders and veterans.
The donation will fund courses in the charity’s life skills programme for homeless people, which will help them to live independently and sustainably. The Freemasons’ donations will also fund an in-home starter kit containing a cookery book, a cooking utensils starter pack, and an essential ingredients box. This is in addition to the provision of key kitchen equipment including a cooker, microwave and fridge. Participants will continue to be supported by the charity after the course finishes with access to the Employment Pathway Support service.