Kindness has always been a core principle of Freemasonry. Individuals give time and money to help others, whether locally, nationally or globally. It may be realising a dream for a member’s child, caring for older Freemasons, volunteering on a local community project, making donations to other UK charities or responding to an international disaster appeal.
Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country, with Derek Parkinson and Mark Matthews representing West Lancashire.
A recent grant for £5,000 was given to “Leadership Through Sport and Business”, a national social mobility charity, with a branch operating in the Liverpool City region. Following on from the donation, a reciprocal invitation was extended to view their working and progression, which was readily accepted by Mark Matthews. This meant an early start to the day, with Mark and Liverpool Group Publicity Officer Geoff ‘Scoop’ Cuthill, meeting up at a coffee shop near to the waterfront. Soon joined by Chris Oliver, the cohort manager for the charity in Liverpool, an informative and interesting conversation ensued.
The day was going to be a full programme, held away from their base at Anfield Stadium, the home of Liverpool Football Club and the coffee shop was chosen as the meeting point. Joined by Stephen Piscopo, the project lead for the LFC Foundation and Shamaine Armstrong, cohort manager from Manchester, a full explanation of the charity was given.
Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB) is a national social mobility charity, that both prepares and supports bright young people, who face disadvantage, into secure, sustainable, high-quality careers, in accounting, business and finance. Together with Premier League football club foundations and education delivery partners, they aim to provide young people with personal and professional development, to prepare them for the world of work, placing them in AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) Level 2 and 3 apprenticeships, with leading employers in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
Addressing all forms of disadvantage: personal, in terms of adverse life events; socio-economic, in terms of class boundaries or lack of social capital; and practical, in terms of the preparation young people need for the working world. Attention is focused on communities, where leadership potential is often wasted and the charity empowers young people in the locations that it works, to become future business leaders. Employers increasingly recognise the importance of recruiting young talented individuals from diverse backgrounds and many employers have said that LTSB apprentices offer new ideas and fresh enthusiasm to their organisations.
With all now present, Mark and Geoff accompanied the group, including the students, to the nearby office of Hays, a worldwide expert in recruitment. Here they met up with Olivia Maufe, a recruitment consultant with Hays and Aubrey Holloway, an intern in the company, studying at Manchester Metropolitan University. Hays have become great supporters of the scheme and Olivia and Aubrey took the students through personal and presentational skills, including the composition of an effective and current CV (curriculum vitae).
In the afternoon, the cohort was going on to a renowned local art gallery, for a session where each student is given half an hour to research a piece of art of their choosing, after which they will be asked to present on what they have found. Whilst challenging, this activity has previously proven to be one of the favourites of the young people and has had impressive results in improving their confidence and presentational skills. For many it is their first time visiting an art gallery and so it is a fantastic experience for them.