Notts Freemasons' £113k Christmas present
GROUPS from across Notts have benefited from a £113,000 windfall from the county's Freemasons.
The group said it hoped the money, shared out to 38 local organisations, would help support charities in a time of shrinking budgets and council cuts.
Hospices, schools and community centres are among the groups to receive the money.
The beneficiaries were celebrated at a lunch at the Masonic Hall in Goldsmith Street on Saturday.
Roger Garrett, provincial grand charity steward for the Freemasons, said: "There's nothing secretive about Freemasonry – it's an organisation of like minded men across the world. We have a common ideal to help people.
"We try to look after people who are much worse off than we are."
He added: "About 20 per cent of people who came on Saturday have had council funding taken away and some run on a shoestring, so it's important to help."
Among the biggest of the awards, which were supported by Notts Community Foundation, was £20,000 given to the Lenton Centre in Willoughby Road.
The centre is a community hub with meeting rooms, offices and a leisure centre and is run as a social enterprise.
Nicci Robinson, project manager of the children and young people's team based at the centre, said the money would go towards a multi-use games area.
Staff want to build it so teenagers and young children from the area have a safe outdoor sport and play area.
Ms Robinson said: "It's a substantial chunk of what we need. We're grateful to the Freemasons for investing in the children and young people of Lenton and recognising our need."
Nottinghamshire Hospice was also given £1,000, which will go towards day therapy sessions for terminally-ill people.
The cash will also go to in-the-home nursing care organised by the Woodborough Road Hospice.
Rebecca Corry, the hospice's public relations and marketing coordinator, said: "It's a fantastic amount and very much appreciated. It's great to be supported by them."
There are about 3,000 Freemasons in Notts across 90 Masonic Lodges and eight Masonic centres.
Nationally, Freemasons re give about £40 million to charities and good causes every year.
In recent years the organisation has tried to change its secretive image.
Mr Garrett added: "We're just trying to say to the public 'hey, we're over here and this is what we do'."