A HOSPICE has received a welcome boost in the shape of a five-figure donation from the Freemasons.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) has awarded £19,995 to St Mary’s Hospice, in Ulverston, to support its Make Do and Mend project, which gives bereaved people a chance to get out of the house and mend furniture.

In partnership with Hospice UK, the foundation had invited bids for funding from hospices who wished to extend and develop bereavement services to expand vital support for bereaved families and individuals.

Applications were received from 90 hospices throughout England and Wales with the St Mary’s bid being one of the nine successful ones.

Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger said: “It is wonderful to see the money which has come from the pockets of Freemasons through their charitable giving being used to support such a good cause.”

The initial idea for the Make Do and Mend scheme arose from discussions on how best to connect with those bereaved people who found it uncomfortable to access the already available support and counselling.

Head of clinical services at the hospice, Jo Blake, who was responsible for submitting the bid, said: “We have been considering various options of how to engage with bereaved people who may benefit from counselling or simply an opportunity to talk with someone but are reluctant to do so. It is principally, but not exclusively men that this applies to.

“The Make Do and Mend project will see bereaved people given an opportunity to work at our furniture outlet in Barrow.

“Donations of furniture are received at the premises with some needing a little repair or re-painting.

“With the donation we are going to adapt a room we have at the rear of the warehouse into a place where repairs can be undertaken. It is hoped that this will encourage the recently bereaved to get out of the house and meet with people who are going through similar emotions to themselves.

“The atmosphere may help some of them air feelings they are trying to bottle up safe in the knowledge that they are in the company of others who will understand what they are going through. Counselling will be on hand should anyone wish to take advantage of it.”

Mr Grainger, along with Furness and South Lakeland chairman Peter Schofield and group charity steward Richard Wilcock,visited the Duke Street premises to learn more about the project. The donation from the MCF enabled an unused corner of the premises to be developed into a suitable work space. They met with head of retail Caroline Welch, who gave them a tour.

She said: “It is really satisfying that the retail arm, rather than being simply a fund-raising part of the hospice, can now be involved in helping to provide palliative care. It is an exciting and new development.

“The hospice receives a lot of furniture, which requires a touch of paint, a repair or upholstering. Those pieces which have been processed through the Make Do and Mend scheme will now be labelled as such in the warehouse. I am proud that the retail branch of the hospice, which previously had been principally concerned with fund-raising, is now playing a part in delivering bereavement care.

“We very grateful to the Freemasons for their help in funding the scheme.”