Thousands of Ukrainian refugees, as well as displaced people still inside Ukraine, will be given help and support thanks to half a million pounds raised by Gloucestershire Freemasons and other Provinces across England and Wales.
The money is being directed to charities working on the ground in Ukraine as well as organisations helping refugees in neighbouring countries including Poland, Moldova, Romania, and in the UK.
The £500,000 was raised in less than three weeks and the total is still growing as Freemasons continue to dig deep to help the refugees.
The war in Ukraine has created by far the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War and more people are fleeing Ukraine for countries to the west every day.
The chosen charities, each of which will receive £100,000, are: The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) – which could help set up a ‘Blue Dot Hub’ to provide a safe space for up to 5,000 children and families on the move every day. Blue Dot Hubs offer critical services such as child-friendly spaces, mother and baby facilities and crucial family reunification support; Plan International UK – which could help set up 55 temporary learning spaces in Poland, Moldova and Romania, so children can learn and play in a safe space away from the war; The Refugee Council – which could help to fund two full-time therapists to provide specialist therapy for hundreds of traumatised refugees; British Red Cross – to fund work with hundreds of Ukrainian refugees in the UK to help them overcome loneliness and isolation and to offer other practical support to help ease them into life in Britain; UK for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency – which could help provide essential repairs to severely damaged homes in Ukraine that have been damaged by shelling and conflict.
Gloucestershire Freemasons contributed to the grant through the Masonic Charitable Foundation which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales. Ian Davies from Gloucestershire Freemasons, said: “Freemasons have an outstanding record helping those in need in this country and around the world, but this huge sum to support Ukrainian refugees was raised in record time. I’m very proud that Gloucestershire Freemasons have been able to play such an important part in this essential work.”