January Charity Update

This months update includes news on the Bristol Cathedral appeal and MCF donations to Womankind and the South Bristol Advise Centre

The Bristol Cathedral Organ Appeal

For nearly 900 years the walls of Bristol Cathedral have been alive with sound. Its renowned organ consists of a historic Renatus Harris case from 1685 and a 1907 Walker instrument that sits inside. It is a true mechanical organ. However over time, parts of the instrument can no longer be heard and even on a good day only 90% of the sounds issue forth. Bristol Cathedral has almost raised £2 million for the restoration fund which will give the organ a new lease of life for the next 50 years. Our RW Provincial Grand Master Jonathan Davis presented a cheque for £10,000 to The Very Revd Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Bristol at the Masonic Hall, Park Street in January. Also present was the DPGM WBro Richard Lewis, WBro Paul Binding of the BMBI and WBro Tim Brunton MCF. The donation was via matched funding between the Provincial Charity [BMBI] of Bristol and the MCF of UGLE.  This is a perfect example of where Masonic charities, from Lodge level to Provincial to UGLE can if co-ordinated make for a significant charitable impact.


On 14 January I had the pleasure of meeting with Kyra Bond at the Womankind offices on Brunswick Square, who made me most welcome. This is the Bristol women’s therapy centre. It is a centre run by women for women. They help hundreds of women every year to improve their mental health and well-being so they can experience a better quality of life. They receive referrals from the NHS via the hospital or GP setting.  Many of those seeking help have either experienced sexual abuse or abusive relationships. With all the local cut backs their services are under even greater pressure than before, however they are still keeping their waiting period to see referrals to 3 months at the moment. The charity regularly links up with other charities working in this field, some of which the MCF and BMBI have already donated to like-The Green House. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


On 23 January I was warmly welcomed by Fran Begley at their offices at The Withywood Centre, Withywood BS13 8QA.

SBAS provides free professional, confidential advice and information to residents of South Bristol seeking help with welfare benefits and debt. They work with local agencies, including Bristol Credit Union, Avon and Bristol Law Centre and Bristol City Council. They have a 99% successful appeal rate with DWP. They have the Pennywise Project funded by the National Lottery which aims to give people financial skills to make their money work better for them. Mentors meet with beneficiaries on three occasions in a range of locations. They also run a home visiting project for older and disabled people. During the initial six months they assessed 1205 clients at drop in sessions to determine health issues. SBAS is also deals with people with mental health problems. They also work with Bristol City Council to work with tenants in rent arrears to help stop evictions that can cost the council up to £10,000 for such an action. The £4500 was to help fund the salary of their older peoples benefit adviser. SBAS consists of local people doing a vital job helping people from some fairly deprived areas of Knowle, Hartcliffe and Withywood.  www.southbristoladvice.org.uk