Charity work does not stop once a Festival ends

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A Message from Essex’s New Provincial Grand Charity Steward, Chris Hicks

As we come to the end of the very successful Festival 2022, it is time to look at where we are going; what we in Essex will be doing on the Charity front, going forward.

Colin Felton and the team have done a fantastic job in achieving a wonderful total for the Festival and we will have a very successful evening on 18th June, when we celebrate this. I hope you will all enjoy this celebration.

However, Charity work does not stop once a Festival ends and we need to prepare for the next big event and Festival, as well as supporting our local charities and working with the MCF to support Essex-based charities. These may well have suffered badly over the past two years of the pandemic, seeing donations reduce and calls on their services increase.

I know Lodges and Chapters have given some support alongside supporting the Festival, and this is highly commendable and I thank you all. Now you will be able to increase that support and also your financial help for other good causes.

To help you there will be a series of Charity Steward Training Sessions, from September. The plan is to run one a month, each at a different centre around the Province. They will enable new and experienced Charity Stewards to learn or refresh their duties and responsibilities, and about activities that can be carried out.

These sessions will be held in the evenings and, while open to anyone, will be targeted at Charity Stewards in both Lodge and Chapter. Details will be circulated soon.    

In addition, the creation of the new Charity Stewards’ Lodge, Burntwood Lodge 8016, means another opportunity to learn the “tips and tricks” of being a Charity Steward, as well as hearing from Charities themselves about how we can help them, and from the MCF and other interesting and relevant organisations. The Lodge will become Burntwood Lodge 8016 (the Charity Stewards Travelling Lodge) at the Installation meeting on 5th April, when 14 joining members will swell its numbers. The meeting after that will be at Hutton on 7th June. Details of these meetings will be posted on the usual platforms.

The next two milestones for the future are: the Essex 250 celebrations in 2026, when we will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the creation of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex; and Festival 2033 – yes, I appreciate we have just finished one, but the Festival process goes on – which will be launched in 2027.

These two events may be a while away, but the new Charity Team will be planning for them in the background to ensure that they can be launched efficiently and effectively at the appropriate times.

In the meantime, celebrate what we have achieved for Festival 2022, continue to support your local charities, of which the MCF is one, and plan for the future!