Young homeless and vulnerable people from across Blackburn and Darwen will continue to receive food and other essential items thanks to a grant of £2,500 to the Nightsafe charity from East Lancashire Freemasons.

Nightsafe is a charity providing housing, shelter and provisions to homeless people aged 16-24 years. The Blackburn-based charity provides vital services to homeless and vulnerable young people.

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the charity had to shut down its face-to-face food and toiletry pack distribution following Government advice, which was reaching 25-30 people a week at Platform 5 – their Day Centre.

Wayne Bowman from Nightsafe hands out supplies, thanks for the Freemasons.

Wayne Bowman from Nightsafe hands out supplies, thanks for the Freemasons.

As a result of the Freemasons donation, this has now reopened to street homeless young people and in addition Nightsafe are now delivering 250 parcels a month through volunteers and staff via the food larder operated out of their Cornfield Cliffe Project.

The packages are now not only going directly to homeless people, but also to families and individuals outside of the 16-24 age range. The parcels include food and toiletries, with each parcel tailored to the requirements of the recipient. For example, someone who is street homeless would be given a parcel with ring pull cans and ready to eat food.

A family parcel would be based on the number of people in the family and also assessed on dietary requirements and their available cooking facilities. Many people living in food poverty are also in energy poverty, and may well not have gas or electricity in the home.

The grant from East Lancashire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

In response to the extraordinary need created by the coronavirus pandemic, Freemasonry is providing special funding of £2.75 million for projects helping those who are particularly affected by the virus. This extra money comes on top of the estimated £45 million given to charity every year by Freemasons.

Jan Larkin, CEO of Nightsafe, said: “We’re very grateful to East Lancashire Freemasons for their generous grant, which is allowing us to continue to help homeless and young people and families during this pandemic. As always in a crisis, it’s the weakest who suffer most and these are people who desperately need our assistance.”

Dave McGurty from East Lancashire Freemasons said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Nightsafe with their hugely important work providing food and other essentials to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. The pandemic has made life even tougher for people who are homeless or living in extreme poverty, and Nightsafe are making a real difference.”

How the Freemasons donation helps Nightsafe

Without the help of our supporters, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.

Thank you to all our #NightsafeHeroes.

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Whether you can give a little bit of your time, may a donation of money or some much needed items.

Even just a share of this story – it all helps and we are always so grateful.