I have chosen two charities to be supported from the proceeds of the 2012 Prestonian Lecture. One is a Masonic charity and the other a Scouting one. Both are worthy causes, much deserving of our support.
The Masonic charity is the Masonic Samaritan Fund, which provides grants for medical, dental and respite care and support to Freemasons, their wives, partners, widows and dependants, who have a diagnosed need, face a long wait for treatment on the National Health Service and who can not afford to fund it themselves without incurring financial hardship. Each year the Masonic Samaritan Fund makes grants of over £4,000,000 – more than £11,000 per day. So far no qualifying petitioner has been refused relief due to a lack of funds. However, the UK has an aging population. By 2025 it is expected that almost two million people will be over the age of 90 and one million will suffer from dementia. Coupled with cuts in public sector finances, the Masonic Samaritan Fund faces increasing calls upon its resources. Proceeds from the Prestonian Lecture will help the Masonic Samaritan Fund to continue its good work in looking after us and our families when we need it most. More information about the Masonic Samaritan Fund can be found at www.msfund.org.uk. The Fund’s registered charity number in England & Wales is 1130424.
The Scouting charitable cause is the development of the UK Scout Association’s archives. As the home of the worldwide Scout Movement, the UK has a particular responsibility to protect the many unique and irreplaceable national and international documents and artefacts that date from Scouting’s origins to the present day. These documents range from Baden-Powell’s handwritten manuscript for “Scouting for Boys” to current plans for growing Scouting’s capacity to satisfy the 35,000 young people who are waiting to join. £40,000 is needed to digitise the archive and to move it into a climate controlled environment, preserving it and enabling Scouting’s legacy to be shared with a wider audience and future generations. With your support The Scout Association will also be able to complete an archive website to make heritage material available to the public in the UK and overseas. For more information about Scouting in the UK please visit www.scout.org.uk. I would hope that proceeds from the Prestonian Lecture could meet the full cost of this globally significant project, so that no draw need be made on The Scout Association’s own funds, which can then be applied to the growth and development of Scouting, for today and tomorrows’ young people. The Scout Association’s registered charity number in England & Wales is 306101.