Lodge of Fortitude - £1000 for charityW.Bro Colin Hearne’s chosen charity as Worshipful Master 2015/6 of The Fortitude Lodge No.105 presented a cheque for £1000 to members of friendsandfamilies.org.uk a local Plymouth Charity on 1st June 2016 at an Ice Skating session at the Plymouth Pavilions.

Also in picture from Friends and Families are Grace Russell, Bethan Parfitt & Jess Butland, plus W.Bro John Chapman, Charity Steward of the Fortitude Loge.

Friends and Families is a non-profit organisation unique to Plymouth, providing information, support and services for families with disabled children, many of whom describe them as a life saver. Their services give families opportunities to network and create bespoke training and educational environments. They offer individual family support and give advice on relevant issues. They run social and leisure events allowing “time out to have fun” away from the stresses and punishing regime of caring.

This allows a vital ‘recharge of batteries’, relieving isolation and time for young carers to have fun. Integrated activities enable children with disabilities opportunities to experience a huge diversity of sports, arts, crafts and music not elsewhere available to them or their families. The group is friendly, informal and supportive. They encourage everybody to share their valuable information and experiences. They do not have any emphasis on specific conditions or disabilities but suggest that, regardless of the type of additional need, each family experiences similar concerns.

Friends and Families of Special Children was founded in 2002 by a small group of parents who identified a huge gap in service provision for Children with disabilities and their families within Plymouth and its surrounding area. The group gained Charitable Status in 2005 (Registered charity No 1140826) and is now one of the main providers of integrated leisure services within the City.

Photo and article by W.Bro John Smerdon.