Thousands of older people who have been badly affected by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, will be given help and support, thanks to a £250,000 donation to Age UK’s 'Emergency Coronavirus Appeal' from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), the Freemasons’ charity.
Older people are amongst those most at risk if they contract COVID-19, and while the government’s instructions to stay at home are vital, they also mean that millions of older people are struggling through a frightening and miserable time alone. Age UK has seen a huge surge in demand for their services during this crisis and is supporting older people with expert information and advice, crucial friendship services and practical help in communities through the network of local Age UK charities.
The donation builds on ongoing work between the two organisations, which joined forces in 2018 on a £1 million three-year programme, funded by the MCF, to help older people feel less lonely and get the most out of life. As the scale of the coronavirus crisis became apparent, the MCF agreed that resources from this programme could be re-purposed to support older people through the pandemic. The new £250,000 grant will provide extra resources for this vital work.
Donations to the Appeal will support Age UK’s national Information & Advice line and telephone friendship services that are needed more than ever to help tackle loneliness and offer vital support at this time. Funds will also support Age UK’s network of more than 130 local Age UK charities across the country, which are stretched to their limits providing essential food and medicine deliveries as well as running befriending support for older people living in their communities. As well as financial support, the MCF will be encouraging Freemasons to give their time to their local Age UK charity.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation is funded entirely by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Laurie Boult, Fundraising Director at Age UK, said:
“This is a period of great anxiety for everyone, but especially for older people and their loved ones. Age UK is determined to be there for older people who need our help and especially for those who have no one else to turn to in this time of crisis. The generous support we’ve received from Freemasons through the MCF will help us reach many more older people, and we’re determined to rise to the challenge and continue to provide comfort, hope and practical support to those who need it most.”
David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation said:
“Helping socially isolated older people is one of the MCF’s top priorities and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to build on our existing £1 million programme with Age UK with this latest grant, which will help to support thousands of older people through the current crisis caused by COVID-19.”