Blackwater Lodge Makes Generous Donation to CENS at White Table Event
Written by W Bro Richard Swan ProvGStwd
Photo by W Bro Peter NasonPPGReg
Wednesday 12th April 2023 saw a very special meeting on what has always been a night to help aid the newer members with a formal rehearsal which had been turned into a white table evening for members, friends, charities and prospective members to be invited into the Lodge with 57 attendees present.
In what is Blackwater Lodge’s 140th year, members of Blackwater dressed in their full regalia and our WM W. Bro Bob McKenzie PPGReg extended a very warm welcome to all guests. Following this a presentation was given by W. Bro Nick Clarke PAGDC, PProvGAlm explaining the layout of the Lodge room for a typical evening with an introduction of each of the officers and explanation of their duties.
This was followed by presentations from three of our six Master’s List of Charities from the last 3 years.
First to present was Marina Woodrow of CENS – Colchester Engagement and Next Steps (formerly the Colchester Emergency Night Shelter) who explained the good work they do for those in need of accommodation and how with their help, c. 69% of referrals were housed over the last 12 months. This highlighted that more help is always needed and how donations will help towards this and how CENS have vastly improved their services following a tough period during the Covid pandemic.
Secondly, we heard from Sally Harrington and Lorna Preece of Next Chapter (formerly the Colchester & Tendring Women’s Refuge) who explained how in addition to their existing outreach support for victims of abuse they have a new children and young person’s team to assist with the c.4,000 referrals they have received over the last 12 months.
Last of the speakers from our supported charities was Graham Miller of St Helena Hospice who gave us a brief history of the services provided by the hospice and how that 2/3rds of their funding is via donations and fundraising. Graham further told us that the hospice costs £10m annually to operate and most of it services extend to home care (with over 3,000 referrals in the last year alone).
There was then a presentation of the donations to each representative of the supported Charities on behalf of the members with donations totalling a fantastic £7,000!! The chosen charities receiving donations from the members of Blackwater Lodge were:
- Personnel Recovery Centre (PRC) (https://www.army.mod.uk/people/work-well/army-recovery-capability/)
- Colchester Emergency Night Shelter (https://cens4homeless.org.uk/)
- The Next Chapter (https://www.thenextchapter.org.uk/)
- St Helena Hospice (https://www.sthelena.org.uk/home)
- Open Road – SOS Bus (https://www.openroad.org.uk/)
- Parkinson’s UK (https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/)
As the meeting in the Temple drew to a close, our guests were invited to ask questions of our Membership Officer, W Bro Brian Wright PJGD PProvSGW with the very first one getting straight to the point, not to mention a few chuckles: “Do you really roll up your trouser leg and have funny handshakes?” – The answer was equally interesting!
Following the meeting all attendees were invited to a splendid three course dinner with a raffle raising another £300 towards our charities and a wonderful evening was had by all.