On the 3rd November, the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Alexander Sillars McLaren, accompanied by the Provincial Grand Almoner, WBro Barry Heal and WBro Bob Summers attended the premises of Age UK Manchester at Openshaw, on the east side of Manchester.
The purpose of the visit was to officially present the Minibus that was generously funded by the Mark Benevolent Fund to the value of £32,739 (excluding VAT).
It is a wonderful vehicle fully equipped with wheelchair access and the appropriate signage of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons and the Mark Benevolent Fund.
We were met by Mrs Shirley Charlton who offered us shelter from the inclement weather and wearing our masks and socially distanced we enjoyed a cup of tea.
The Provincial Grand Master briefly outlined the background of the Mark Benevolent Fund and some of the recent grants that have been made to the St John Ambulance, the Blood bikes etc but also mentioning a few of the smaller grants which are just as important.
We then went outside and WBro Summers took several photographs of the vehicle, Mrs Charlton, the Provincial Grand Master and the Provincial Almoner.
It has to be said that Mrs Charlton and all the staff that were present were absolutely delighted with their new Minibus and were keen to let us know how much of a difference it will make to the services they provide.
Their current vehicle, an 05 plate, was parked up near the new vehicle and one of the drivers informed us how unreliable that vehicle had become. Hopefully, they will not have that problem with their new vehicle.
Shirley Charlton said:
“There are two very old minibuses here at Openshaw and, during the last few months, one of them has had to be put out of use. It finally got to the point that we could not afford to repair it.”
Sally Dervan, Chief Executive of Age UK Manchester said: “We are delighted by the amazing news that The Mark Benevolent Fund has extended their generosity by funding a new minibus for our Openshaw Day Care Centre. We can assure you that the vehicle will make an enormous difference to the lives of vulnerable older people in Manchester. This is enormously valuable to us at a time when our work with vulnerable people is more important than ever before.”
Age UK Manchester (previously known as Age Concern Manchester) is a charity serving North Manchester communities such as Abbey Hey, Gorton, Openshaw, Clayton, Moston, Middleton and Blakeley. The Centre provides both Day Care and Home Care for these communities and is a very important service which provides assistance for people with Dementia, Alzheimer’s, physical disabilities and mental disabilities.