The Charity Victim Support Wiltshire has received a number of donations from Wiltshire Freemasons in recent years, but the latest is certainly one of the largest! On the 27 May, Francis Wakem Provincial Grand Master and Stephen Bridge Provincial Grand Charity Steward attended Victim Support’s Devizes office and presented a cheque for £10,000 to the charity; this fantastic sum consisted of £5,000 donated by Wiltshire Freemasons and a further £5,000 of matched funding from the Freemasons’ Grand Charity.
Victim Support has for some while been looking to fund a major project which will allow them to make a significant impact on child safety in Wiltshire. Now with the help of Wiltshire Freemasons the Charity are able to do so far sooner than they anticipated. With the money donated Victim Support will be able to be part of the Junior Good Citizen scheme, a well-established event which promotes individual and community safety to children aged between 10 and 11 years through an annual multi-agency event.
pic right shows: Katie Maclean Senior Service Delivery Manager for Wiltshire and Wayne Stevens Divisional Manager – Gloucestershire & Wiltshire receiving cheque from Stephen Bridge and Francis Wakem
Over a two week period commencing on the 23 June some 1200 Wiltshire school children in Year 6 will attend the Junior Good Citizen scheme with their teachers and work through 10 stations specifically designed to encourage them to respond appropriately to situations that could adversely impact on their safety and to reflect on how their actions can influence the wider community. With the help of Wiltshire Freemasons the staff and volunteers from Victim Support will recreate a chat room where children will be encouraged to communicate on line with other ‘children’, in reality a member of Victim Support. This will then be used as a basis for discussions around cyber safety, anti-cyber bullying and inappropriate disclosure of personal details. Opportunities will also be given to children to discuss other concerns such as domestic violence and bullying with follow up contact and work being organised as appropriate.
Because Victim Support will be working at an established event the entire donation will be directed specifically at the children involved. With no start up or running costs it will be possible to provide every child attending with items such as a tote bag or drinks bottle printed with the Victim Support name and contact details; it is hoped that these gifts will promote wider discussion and understanding of Victim Support’s work within the school and family.
None of this vital work by Victim Support would be happening this year, and also potentially next, without the exceptional generosity of Wiltshire Freemasons and the Freemasons’ Grand Charity. Safe and happy children are important to us all but the work funded by Wiltshire Freemasons through Victim Support will reach and benefit a far wider audience and undoubtedly make a significant improvement to the quality of life within the county.