Hackney Borough Volunteer Metropolitan Police Cadets receive a welcome boost
W Bro Brian Francois PAGDC reports
Some years ago, members of the Lodge of Remembrance No 4895 decided that the main amount of their charitable donations would be directed to disadvantaged London youth. Initially, the Lodge supported the Army Cadet Force in southeast London, but this came to a stop when the relationship with the school collapsed.
The Lodge was already giving £1000 annually to the Royal British Legion but was wondering what else they could do. In September 2021, during a Lodge Meeting, a discussion took place as to where the Lodge’s charitable efforts should be re-directed.
One of the newest members, then a Fellowcraft, was Bro Jack François, aged twenty-two, and a Police Officer serving in the London Borough of Hackney. Hackney is one of the poorest Boroughs in the Country, and that led Bro Jack to suggest coming to the help of the Hackney Borough Volunteer Metropolitan Police Cadets. Most of the brethren agreed this was potentially a suitable project and suggested that further enquiries were made. A notice of motion to that effect was raised and approved. But one of the brethren, also a serving Officer, expressed some reservations. From his own experience, he feared that some senior Metropolitan Police Officers, who maintained a suspicious mind about Freemasonry, might object to a Metropolitan Police organisation accepting a direct donation from a Masonic Lodge.
The Lodge made some initial enquiries with the Metropolitan Police service manager of the Hackney Police Cadets. They revealed that the Metropolitan Police did not finance in any way their cadets and, therefore, would welcome any financial assistance that the Lodge might be minded to give.
The young people who emanate from the most disadvantaged backgrounds and who, by membership, are doing their best to improve themselves and evade the ‘gang culture’ prevalent in the Borough are regarded as the poor relations of the Metropolitan Police Volunteer Cadet scheme. Many of them are unable to afford uniforms or boots. One thing the volunteer organisers insisted on is that a meal was provided for each cadet during their meetings. It is known that some cadets even take food home to share with their siblings.
These circumstances were reported to the Lodge members in November 2021. They promptly unanimously agreed to make an initial £1,000 donation to the Cadets with an option of additional donations in the future.
On 19 January 2022 the Secretary, W Bro Brian François PAGDC, accompanied by a retired Officer, W Bro Norman Harding, the Charity Steward and Bro Jack François, attended the Hackney Police Cadets meeting in Forest Road, London E8. There, they presented a cheque of £1,000 in support of the unit. The cadet manager, Jill DiMartino, promised to keep the Lodge informed as to how the donation is disbursed and thanked all the Lodge members and Freemasonry profusely for their generous support.
The Lodge now intends to make an annual award to a ‘cadet of the year’ selected by the managers and potentially invite the cadet and their manager to a white table festive board to broaden the relationship.