Burnley homelessness charity given £39k boost from Freemasons

Burnley charity Emmaus is starting the year off with a £39,982 boost from Freemasons to help people who have been experiencing homelessness move into permanent homes.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 1:10 pm

The generous donation will help fund Emmaus Burnley’s new project, Free Streets, which will provide nightly support to people experiencing homelessness.

Free Streets will provide Covid safety items, basic hygiene and clothing items and advice and guidance to street homeless people across major towns in Lancashire and the surrounding area.

The project will work with people experiencing street homelessness and focus on proactive signposting, assisting direct access accommodation options, health interventions, and liaising with agencies that support welfare needs.

Burnley Emmaus' Free Streets will provide nightly support to people experiencing homelessness. Photo: Getty

Funded entirely by Freemasons and their families, the Masonic Charitable Foundation is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country.

Emmaus Burnley has been awarded this money through a combination of Freemasons Covid-19 relief funds and directly by the MCF.

Having donated £1m between April and July 2020 to help those impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, Freemasons are now focusing on protecting the homeless, with a new series of donations in England and Wales, totalling £850,000.

Stephen Buchanan, director at Emmaus Burnley, said: “The funding and support from Freemasons will ensure we can work with and try to support in a variety of ways some of the most vulnerable people in society, without being tied to contracts or Local Authority boundaries.

"It will see volunteers, including local Freemasons, on the streets at night making a real impact across the old County Palatine area of Lancashire. This role is pivotal in linking the most marginalised rough sleepers into external agencies, accommodation, and Emmaus where possible, helping them access the help and support they need.”

Emmaus communities in 12 locations across the UK, including the Emmaus in Burnley, Lancashire, are among the organisations being prioritised by the United Grand Lodge of England, which is the governing body for Freemasons in England and Wales.

The funds raised by Freemasons will help provide safe living conditions, healthcare, meals, and employment opportunities for those who are experiencing homelessness; as well as helping protect them from the winter weather, which kills hundreds of homeless people every year. In addition, Freemasons will be volunteering their time at 26 homelessness support organisations.

Dr David Staples, chief executive of UGLE, said: “We are expecting a harsh winter this year and so it’s essential to protect and support the homeless. Hundreds die every year on our streets during the winter, which is a shocking statistic, and due to the pandemic, many vulnerable people have found themselves on the streets for the first time.

“In this second phase of donations, following our initial contributions during the Covid-19 crisis, we have donated the largest part of the funding towards helping the homeless. We hope this will provide those in need with somewhere safe to stay during winter but also offer them more long-term help to get off the streets and into secure accommodation.”

This is just the start of phase two of the Freemasons’ donations, and this month, UGLE will announce the next round of donation packages and charitable initiatives.

To find out more about the Freemasons’ Charity and UGLE, visit ww.mcf.org.uk/

To find out more about Emmaus Burnley or the Free Streets project, visit www.emmaus.org.uk/burnley.