John Hayward, Midlands Freemasons, and Julianne Oliveri-Knight, Programme Funding Manager at Together for Short Lives
Posted: 23rd February 2017

The Masonic Charitable Foundation has awarded £17,000 to Together for Short Lives, the leading UK charity that helps children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families to access care and support

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 are instead spending huge amounts of time coping with numerous separate bureaucracies in a struggle 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.

The grant will establish monthly clinics in four children’s hospices around the country, including Acorns Children’s Hospice in Birmingham.

Alongside the clinics, families will continue to be referred for advocacy support through Together for Short Lives’ national helpline for families in distress, and in-depth legal support can be provided for the most challenging cases.

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.

Barbara Gelb OBE, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives said:

We are enormously grateful to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for this generous grant towards our ‘Voices for Families’ Advocacy Support Service, which provides a powerful voice for families, helps to alleviate pressures and to resolve complex issues, so families can focus on making the most of their precious time together.

John Hayward, of Midlands Freemasons, who is pictured presenting the donation to Julianne Oliveri-Knight, Programme Funding Manager at Together for Short Lives said:

Together for Short Lives does wonderful work and we’re very pleased to be able to support their efforts to help children with life limiting illnesses. Freemasons across the country already provide funds and facilities at every Children’s Hospice and we are pleased to be able to further our involvement in this vital area.

To read more about the charities and individuals we support, please visit the Our Impact page.