It was a cheerful Thursday morning for the Chiltern Centre as they were presented with a £6,000 cheque by the Oxfordshire Freemasons. The grant was a portion of £50,000 worth of charity awards distributed amongst four local organisations. Following a public vote, the Chiltern Centre were delighted to receive such a generous donation.
Representatives for the Freemasons visited the Centre on Thursday to hand over their kind contribution. James Hilditch, Provincial Grand Master for Oxfordshire Freemasons, and Graham Ellis, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, were welcomed by a number of the Chiltern Centre team – Paul Barrett, Chair of Trustees; Gareth Groves, Deputy Manager; Ruth Luckett, Finance Director; Jane Ainslie, Fundraiser; and Geoff Braham, Trustee. The Freemasons are long-standing supporters of the charity, with James Hilditch enthusiastically explaining, “We’ve supported [The Chiltern Centre] in the past a number of times, and we’re very happy to continue supporting them for the work they do.”
The Oxfordshire Freemasons’ £50,000 of charitable funds were part of a special ‘Community Awards’ series, celebrating their 300th anniversary. Across the country, the Masonic Charitable Foundation is distributing three million pounds to 300 charities, using a public vote to decide the amounts given. Based on 178,801 votes, the Chiltern Centre place third in Oxfordshire – a feat that Paul Barrett was extremely grateful for. He said, “We are so delighted that first, we were chosen as one of the four charities chosen by public vote, and second, that we could get ourselves to third!”
The Chiltern Centre, located on Greys Road, provides respite care for 6-25 year olds with physical or learning disabilities, and offers valuable support for their families. As they operate almost entirely on charitable donations, the significance of the Freemasons’ Award could not go amiss. “So many like to ring fence their donation around a particular project. The beauty of this money is that it’s free money, and chances are we’ll need it to keep the show on the road,” Paul Barrett expressed. “We are very grateful to the Freemasons for all the help they give us, and all the help they will continue to give us.”