The Masonic Charitable Foundation has awarded a grant of £17,000, which has been enthusiastically received by the charity "Together for Short Lives". This is a charity that helps parents of children with life-shortening conditions to get access to medical care, benefits, housing and other essential services.
The latest figures show that there are 49,000 children and young people in the UK living with life-shortening conditions – that is one child in every 270 or one in every school. According to recent research, there are at least 4,493 children aged 0-19 with life-limiting conditions in the West Midlands region alone.
Parents who should be devoting their time to the needs of their sick children and other family members may be having to spend a great deal of time dealing with separate organisations in order to access the services they and their children need.
Together for Short Lives runs the "Voices for Families" Advocacy Support Service in conjunction with the LawWorks legal charity. The service matches families with legally trained advocates who can offer support including writing letters, presenting claims and applications to local authorities and other agencies and liaising with third parties. Last year the service supported 72 families with specialist legal advice, helping them to resolve complex issues from accessing the right housing to welfare, benefits and support.
The grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons and their families from across England and Wales, will establish monthly clinics in four children’s hospices around the country, including Acorns Children’s Hospices in the West Midlands. There will also be a helpline for families in distress, and in-depth legal support can be provided for the most challenging cases.
Although the funds were sent directly to Together for Short Lives, John Hayward the Provincial Charity Steward for Warwickshire was pleased to present a certificate to Ms Lizzie Chambers, Development Director for the charity, who was accompanied by Julianne Oliveri-Knight, the Programme Funding Manager. The presentation was made at the Acorns Hospice in Worcester, which will be one of the centres to benefit from the grant. A tour of the hospice also demonstrated the work that Acorns, Lifelites and Together for Short Lives are all doing to help children and families in this sad position, and it was good to be able to reinforce the help that the Masonic Charitable Foundation and Freemasons across the country provide to these charities.
Provincial Grand Charity Steward