Northumberland Freemasons Assist With “Adopt A Refuge” Project

13th July 2021

The Diocese of Newcastle Mothers Union First Internet Branch have been able to provide essential work within the community after receiving an invaluable donation of £1500 from Northumberland Freemasons.

Referred to as a Pandemic within a Pandemic, domestic violence has increased markedly during lockdown, while abusers were confined in crowded conditions with partners and children, leading to the need for women and children to escape, often at short notice, to one of the several refuges, supported by the Mothers Union in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. As a result of these emergencies, they often arrive with almost nothing, not even a handbag, and the children with no toys or belongings.

The First Internet Branch commenced support of one of these refuges in a project called “Adopt a Refuge”, providing basic essentials that the women and their children would need on their arrival.

Sylvia Hickey, the Vice President of the Diocese of Newcastle Mothers Union, explained “Mothers` Union challenges us to ask what is required rather than us assuming that we know, and this is just what this project achieves. Our sincere thanks to the Freemasons for enabling us to get the project off the ground, we hope to be able to continue this work into the future.”

Stuart Cairns, the Secretary for the Trustees of the Richard Henry Holmes Benevolent Fund, said “Newcastle Diocese Mothers’ Union is part of a world wide organisation which is passionate about caring for families.

We heard that the Newcastle Mothers Union were trying to raise funds to provide emergency packs of essential items to give to those women and children who were fleeing from domestic abuse.

The Trustees would far prefer that any abuse would stop but awarded a Grant of £1500 to support the cost of providing those emergency packs.

The stories I heard were quite heart breaking. Some of these women and young children flee with absolutely nothing and I mean, nothing. The emergency packs provide essential toiletries etc. Personally I would have agreed a higher amount but that decision wasn’t mine.”  

Find out more about the great works undertaken by the Diocese of Newcastle Mothers Union at

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