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High Sherriff receives £10,000 from Somerset Freemasons to ‘Unlock Potential’

Somerset Freemasons have donated over £10,000 toward a pilot programme run by the ‘Somerset Crimebeat Trust’ called ‘Unlocking Potential’. The programme is designed to assist young people from disadvantaged backgrounds obtain the skills and confidence necessary to be able to attend interviews with prospective employers with a view to obtaining an apprenticeship.  The programme includes training in skills such as communication and public speaking, team building, writing a comprehensive CV along with the opportunity to meet potential employers and talk with their apprentices.

The former High Sherriff of Somerset, Denis Burn who supports the Charity, was presented with the award by Assistant Provincial Grand Master Martin Slocombe at the annual Christmas Carol Service held at ‘All Saints’ Church. Weston-s-Mare on December 12th.  Martin said, “The participating Schools are Hans Price and Broad Oak with the active support of Yeovil College. We are particularly keen to encourage the involvement of parents and carers so that they can support their child and build on the information and learning of the programme.”

The presentation was attended by the Provincial Grand Master (PGM), David Medlock accompanied by his wife Jackie along with the Deputy PGM, Ben Batley and his Wife Keris. David told Compass-SMR “Throughout the programme, the young people will meet employers and have the chance to speak to them about apprenticeship offers, interviews and work experience. The aim is that these students will develop new contacts they have met on the programme who may be able to assist as they start to think about applying for an apprenticeship.”  

Ben Batley, presenting Denis with a plaque said “We are delighted to leave our ‘Freemasons Footprint’ in the form of this plaque engraved with the words ‘Supported by Somerset Freemasons’, to encourage engagement with the public about the good works that we do.”

Denis thanked the PGM for supporting his Charity and said that he really appreciated the work that Freemasons do on behalf of others, which often goes unnoticed by the public. “You are kindly providing space for the young people in your Hall and your membership are using their contacts to support the programme. Helping disadvantaged young people to find a pathway to an apprenticeship is clearly something close to the hearts of a number of your members and it will make a massive difference to these young people.” The money was raised by the Weston-s-Mare Craft Lodges (£2,500), ‘Match Funded’ by the Province (£2,500) and made up to £10,000 by the Masonic Charitable Foundation. 

Barry Davies
Provincial Communications Officer

Denis Burn, writes to the PGM

Dear David

I have had little to do with the Freemasons until last year but have become increasingly impressed with what I am learning. The Lodges in Weston have responded wonderfully to the ideas I discussed with them in January; they have helped provide space at no cost, provided generous financial support and used their individual contacts to help in other ways such as apprentice opportunities with Western Power. The South Bristol Youth team are doing some great work with the young people, learning from their experiences in Bristol. We have pretty well assembled the funding for the next three years and your generous offer to provide £10k for this programme will, I think, get us over the line. If we do raise more we shall be able to increase the size of the cohort.

Thank you so much for this latest generosity and I hope you enjoy your time as PGM (I am even learning the lingo!

Best wishes

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