OSM Charity support is shown in the Norfolk Province in several ways.
First Each Conclave will collect and distribute funds to charities of its choice and these are often local functioning charitable bodies.
National OSM Benevolent Fund
Next, all individuals in the Province are encouraged to contribute according to their ability to the National OSM Benevolent Fund, which responds very quickly to the needs of members wherever they may be and is often the first to become involved in helping a Brother with difficulty.
Provincial Campaign (July 2013 – July 2015)
Then, the Province also adopts a local Charity to support over a limited period of time as a specific project. We are currently engaged in fundraising for the Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund. The fund operates in Great Yarmouth and is very involved in Norfolk, though it also has offices in Essex and Lancashire.
Details are given below on their activities. This is a two year initiative and a cheque for the proceeds will be presented to the Fund Representative following the Annual Meeting on the 25th July this year. The fund stands currently at a little over £5,000 which is an outstanding effort from all the members of the Province.
The following is extracted from the Charity Information Brochure:
Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund is a national registered charity (no. 1011325) with offices in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
What We Do
Since the charity started in 1992, our main aim has been to make a positive difference to the lives of children suffering from cancer or leukaemia. This is done by offering practical, financial and emotional support to the whole family through our range of projects.
The caring teams at our offices never give less than 100% when trying to ensure that the families we help have the support that need to get through the problems and stresses that cancer brings. We aim to make a big difference to as many children as possible with the minimum of fuss and without the need for ‘red tape’. Any request for assistance will be considered in an open, friendly, understanding and sensitive manner.
The Lennox prides itself on the assistance it is able to offer to families when they need it most. This crucial support is offered through a range of projects including Care Grants and Respite Breaks.
We believe that a short break away is often the key to the survival of family relationships during the rollercoaster ride of childhood cancer. A Respite Break enables everyone to sit back, relax and spend some quality time together as a ‘normal’ family where cancer is not the main issue of the day.
The charity currently owns two holiday homes in the UK. One in New Forest on the south coast of England and the second on Mersea Island, just off the Essex Coast. These holidays are provided free of charge and often with spending money to ensure a totally stress free time.
Care Grants are money gifts which are given directly to families battling the financial side-effect of cancer after a child is diagnosed. Each grant application is considered carefully to allow us to support as many children and families as possible in this way. Care grants offer a financial cushion and can be a one-off payment or provide long-term support.
Examples of one-off Care Grants:
Medical equipment, family day trips, an essential household bill, hospital travel, professional care or to give a life limited child the holiday of their dreams.
Examples of on-going Care Grants:
Hospital travel costs, professional carers, relief of a long-term
In addition to these two main projects, it is very important to us that hospitals with specialist children’s cancer wards receive the assistance they need to ensure that children undergoing treatment receive the best care and quality of life possible. We have strong links with many hospitals including Queen’s Hospital in Romford, Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Where needed we purchase crucial medical equipment, deliver new toys, games and soft toys to the wards, donate seasonal goodies such as Easter eggs, Christmas selection boxes and fund children’s parties.
The shock of finding out that your child has cancer or leukaemia is understandably devastating, and the emotional journey that follows can be equally, if not more, difficult. In cases where a child is old enough to understand what they are fighting the strain on both the child and parents can multiply as each family member deals with their own different emotions.
We all know that remaining positive is an important part of the healing process and parents are usually expected to stay strong for their child, but when faced with the possibility of losing your child, staying strong is easier said than done. We are here to listen to a story, talk through a problem, or just provide a shoulder to cry on. We can put parents in touch with families in a similar situation or suggest support groups to help deal with fears and concerns.
History of the Charity
Vincent Fitzmaurice was born and raised in Plaistow, East London with his four brothers and two sisters. He has always been a family man with a devotion to children. While still at school, Vincent joined the West Ham Parish Church choir and became heavily involved in community work through the church. He began working for the children’s charity Barnardos at their head office in Barkingside where his keen interest in music and the arts prompted him to organise various fundraising events for many different causes.
Very few people in this world are not touched by the plight of children and their families who face a massive struggle every day to defeat the diagnosis of cancer. Vincent was no different. While watching the families and children at a charity carol concert, it struck him that although these children had many disabilities and problems to overcome, that night they were really enjoying themselves and became part of a ‘normal’ family again! This left a deep impression on Vincent and gave him the idea to start up a new children’s charity.
Vincent set about discovering as much as possible about how he could help to make a positive difference and how to go about it. By talking to medical experts and researching all available material, Vincent found that more children die from cancer than from any other childhood disease. Over 1,500 children under 16 are diagnosed every year with cancer in some form or another. Armed with this information Vincent set about establishing an organisation that would help to improve the child oncology units of various hospitals throughout the country.
What’s in a name?
The charity’s first meetings were held at West Ham Parish Church in Plaistow and eventually a small desk area in the chapel became the charity’s first office. The church warden at the time, Geoffrey Lennox, was a great believer in helping children with cancer and his help and support was invaluable to Vincent, he truly made a difference to the charity. When Geoffrey passed away after many years of service to the community it seemed only fitting that the charity be named after him, and so it became ‘Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund’.
During it’s first few years, the charity provided funds to purchase more up-to-date equipment for hospitals like the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children in East London and still offers this type of support today. Through this contact with hospitals and their individual social workers, Vincent began to hear many stories of families who couldn’t afford the special foods their children required to back up the treatment or the costs of getting to hospitals and hospices that offered the crucial care their child desperately needed. He discovered the sad truth that many families struggled to find even the most basic of support.
Today we provide direct practical, financial and emotional assistance to not just the children, but also their parents and siblings families. Something that not many other organisations or charities do. This could be as simple a paying an electric bill for a family who spend all their time caring for a sick child and are unable to earn an income at the same time. It could be to cover travel expenses to enable a child to receive life-saving treatment, or even just to provide a little cash for a dying to child to have that final birthday celebration with family and friends. Lennox also offers respite breaks for children and their families to spend some time away from the burden and trauma of cancer. These breaks are an opportunity for the whole family to escape the treatment, hospitals and doctors and spend quality time together. .
Respite Breaks are constantly in demand and so there is always a waiting list and we would love to support more families in this way. We also have more requests for Care Grants now than ever before and our fundraising team work hard every day to increase the number of families we’re able to support each year.