The Provincial Grand Charity of Derbyshire operates and is funded independently of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire. However, both are led by the Provincial Grand Master, the charity by virtue of his role in his role as Grand President. The members of his Provincial Executive are also automatically members of the Charity by virtue of their offices.
The Provincial Charity has an independent Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary while the accounts are the responsibility of the Provincial Grand Treasurer as the nominated Treasurer of the Charity. The present officers are:
- Chairman – W Bro. Peter Hodcroft, PGSD, PAPGM
- Vice-Chairman – W Bro. Mick Hitchcock, ProvGChStwd
- Secretary – W Bro. Graham Sisson, PAGDC, PPSGW
- Treasurer – W Bro. Mick Knifton, PPJGW, ProvGTreas
The operation of the Provincial Grand Charity is in the hands of a Standing Committee and a Petitions Sub-Committee.
The Standing Committee comprises up to 18 members, twelve of whom owe their membership to their offices either within the Province or the Provincial Grand Charity. Three members, elected annually, are selected from serving Lodge Charity Stewards and up to three additional members may be co-opted dependent on current Provincial activities.
The Committee deals with all applications for financial support submitted by Lodges and brethren as well as those received directly from charitable organisations serving Derbyshire people. On average a total of between 30 and 40 grants are given each year at a cost of £25,000 to £30,000. Periodically significant grants are made to major organisations either based within the Province or with Provincial connections.
During the year 2014/15 the following grants were made
- £2,100 to the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain to establish a bursary over five years to be known as the Derbyshire Freemasons’ Bursary Fund
- £10,000 to the Colin Bloomfield Melanoma Appeal
- £5,000 to the National Memorial Arboretum
- £1,000 to the Vanuatu Relief Appeal.
The Standing Committees other activities include:
- The Provincial Carol Service, held annually at Derby Cathedral, while managed by the Provincial Office reports are made to the Standing Committee.
- The Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) scheme, which has been in place in the Province for a number of years and provides teddy bears to help relieve the suffering of traumatised children admitted to hospital or in the care of the Ambulance Service. It is managed locally by W Bro. Neil Hartburn and is funded directly from Provincial funds.
- A Children’s Funfair, held annually in Long Eaton to provide entertainment for children and adults with special needs from across Derbyshire. It is managed by W Bro. Philip Bowler and W Bro. Graham Sisson and funded jointly by the Provincial Grand Charity, Erewash Borough Council and Mundy Grove Lodge.
The Funfair has been a great success and has grown dramatically since its inception in 2012 when 525 people, including parents and carers, attended. By 2015 that had increased to 1,097. Facilities and refreshments are generously provided by members of the Showmen’s Lodge No. 9826, in Loughborough. All those who attend have free rides, beef burgers, hot dogs, chips, candy floss, ice cream and soft drinks. The event is supported on the day by many brethren from Long Eaton Lodges and we are pleased to offer our thanks to St. John Ambulance, Long Eaton Police and Fire and Rescue Service and to W Bro. Tim Draper who provides free transport for one of the regular visiting parties.
The Petitions Sub-Committee is chaired by the Chairman of the Standing Committee and deals with:
- confidential applications from brethren and dependants for urgent financial support and other assistance.
- applications to the Albert Wilson Fund, which meets Lodge subscriptions for brethren in either temporary or longer-term need are also the responsibility of the Sub-Committee.
Where assistance is required applications should, in the first place, be addressed to the Provincial Grand Almoner, W Bro. George Frost, either of his Assistants, W Bros. Mike Oldfield of Phoenix Lodge of St. Ann or Daren Gibson of Okeover Lodge, or the Secretary of the Provincial Grand Charity.