THE Freemasons of Antrim have announced their commitment to the Vision 2020 campaign, which will see Freemasons from across the Island of Ireland aim to raise ‘six figures’ for charitable causes by the end of 2020.
Vision 2020 is the ‘Grand Masters Festival’ which happens only once every decade and this upcoming festival will be donating all funds raised to three very important charities; The Simon Community, Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Médecins Sans Frontières.
As the largest provincial lodge in Ireland, Antrim is comprised of 157 Lodges and over 5,000 Freemasons, they have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for both local Masonic and non-Masonic charities over the years and members are already planning to make 2020 extra special with even more fundraising initiatives.
Launching the Vision 2020 Festival, Provincial Grand Master of Antrim John McLernon, said: “Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest social and charitable organisations in the world. We have over 5,000 members in Antrim, 25,000 across Ireland, and over six million worldwide.
“Friendship, respect and charity are foundational to our organisation, and next year’s fundraising drive will further promote and support those core values.
“Kindness and charitable giving are deeply ingrained within the principles of Freemasonry, so we support our members to make positive contributions to their communities.
“Goodwill, kindness and a desire to help those less fortunate are fundamental principles of the Masonic fraternity, and therefore, charitable giving is a major part of our membership.
“Vision 2020 will help focus on the positive good and lasting legacy of people that happens as a result of people working together.
“Freemasonry brings all people together irrespective of their race, religion or any other perceived differences that can divide.
“In such uncertain times, I am proud to commit The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim to fundraising events across the calendar in 2020 to support the vital work these charities do 365 days a year.”
A range of events are planned throughout the year which include, golf days, Big breakfast’s, BBQ’s and a much anticipated Country and Western Night at the Hilton Templepatrick in June.
The money raised during the Vision 2020 Festival will be used to support specific projects the charities have identified as having a significant positive impact on their work.
John Bell from the RNLI said: “Even though the RNLI is a well-known charity, it derives no income for its services from any source other than from the voluntary sector.
“We are privileged to have been chosen to benefit from Vision 2020 Festival and intend to use the money to support two projects, both of which will make our waters safer and ultimately help to save lives at Lough Ree Station and Enniskillen Station.”
In bringing assistance to those in greatest need, Médecins Sans Frontières runs hospitals and clinics, performs surgery, battles epidemics, carries out vaccination campaigns, operates feeding centres and offers mental health care services.
Money raised during Vision 2020 will support the charity’s essential emergency work enabling health teams to respond quickly and effectively to provide for those in need.
Simon Community NI is Northern Ireland’s leading homelessness charity. Last year it welcomed 3,163 people – adults, young people and families from all walks of life, who found themselves without a home.
With funding from Vision 2020, the charity plans to create ten new homes in areas of high need in Northern Ireland.
Joanne McAllister from Simon Community said: “We want to provide safe places where people can move from emergency and temporary accommodation where we can continue to support them to deal with the complex issues that caused their homlessness, helping to ensure it never happens again,”
For further information on Vision 2020 please visit www.pglantrim.org or freemasons.ie