The people The people behind the numbers

Nurturing the talents of the future generation: Alex’s story

Seventeen-year-old Alex was born with cerebral palsy and has been para-swimming since he was eight years old. Alex saw success very soon after starting his swimming career. The large cost concerned his parents, Helen and Andrew, who were trying to do everything they could to support their son’s talent.

As a Freemason, Andrew had heard about the support of the MCF so decided to reach out back in 2016, and the support has continued ever since. The MCF was able to provide a TalentAid grant, helping to cover the costs for his school fees as well as travel, accommodation and entry fees for competitions.

When Alex was just ten, he qualified for the national para-swimming championships, winning silver and gold medals. He initially attended a mainstream school, but his talent was such that he needed to be in an environment which specialises in para-swimming. Mount Kelly school offered him that opportunity, however the fees were more than Alex’s parents could afford so they turned to the MCF for support. Our help has continued throughout his time at the school and Alex now hopes to begin the next chapter of his education at Loughborough University.

 “Alex has reached many milestones in the six years he’s been receiving support from the MCF, which wouldn’t have otherwise been possible. The MCF helped us pay the fees for his specialist school, where he’s been given a fantastic swimming programme that has massively helped him develop. He loves it there as they’ve really embraced him as a pupil with a disability and nurtured his talent in swimming”  said Helen and Andrew.

He has also achieved great success recently, including winning three out of four finals at an International Meet in Aberdeen. Most recently, he discovered that he will soon be moving from the England talent path to the British swimming team, which has always been one of his main goals.

 “On top of the school fees, the MCF has supported us with grants that have allowed us to bring him to competitions that are either abroad, or the other side of the UK. One five-day trip can cost around a thousand pounds, so without the support, we would have had to miss out on many competitions which would have hindered his success.” said Helen and Andrew.

What our beneficiaries think

We surveyed beneficiaries to help us understand what they think of our work. They answered about their experience applying for support, how they feel connected with the MCF, and how knowledgeable and professional our staff was when responding to their enquiry.

Supporting local communities: Carers in Bedfordshire’s story

Through our grants to local and national charities, Freemasons are helping to tackle some of the most challenging issues facing society. In 2021/2022, we gave £5.8 million to 726 charities across England and Wales.

One of the charities that we helped is Carers in Bedfordshire, who support over 500 unpaid family carers in and around Bedfordshire, providing tailored support to help improve their mental health and to better support their loved ones. Services provided include wellbeing and counselling sessions, a programme of activities and practical advice.

We gave Carers in Bedfordshire £62,453 over three years to fund a project for former carers by providing them access to support workers and peer support groups. The goal of the project is to tackle loneliness that many older people face after losing a loved one for whom they previously provided care.

We were delighted to receive a very generous grant from the MCF. With this funding we are giving former carers practical and emotional support. Loneliness is a big problem for former carers, who may have devoted years to caring for a loved one. With the MCF’s help, we are bringing them together to make friends and support each other.”


Jolene Macnaughton, Fundraising and Communications Manager, Carers in Bedfordshire.

Volunteers make up the backbone of a charity: Arwyn’s story

Visiting Volunteers play such an important role for the MCF, Arwyn explains what they do:

Being a Visiting Volunteer requires you to have awareness and understanding. Having an awareness of the people, of the state benefit system and how the local authority can help. We also need to understand the MCF, so we can provide people with the help they need.

The steps involved when helping someone would include a pre-visit phone call. This is an opportunity to build rapport and inform members on what a home visit will entail. The visit itself comprises of a few elements: helping applicants apply for support, collecting important documents and compiling a report for the Grants Team. Occasionally we will arrange a follow-up visit where we will collect additional documents and ensure we have accurate information.

I have been a Visiting Volunteer since 2015, and it has not felt like it’s been that long. My greatest satisfaction is understanding the circumstances of people and knowing that the MCF will be able to help to make a big difference to them.”


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