I would like to tell you all a Christmas story with a sightly more up to date twist.

In my capacity as a District Councillor, people bring me all manor of problems, some of which I can help with directly, some I pass on to the correct authorities, and some I simply cannot do anything with at all……

The world in which we currently live is filled with all manor of difficulties caused by the Pandemic and we often hear of heroic efforts to overcome them. There are also of tales of people taking advantage of the situation to their personal benefit by accessing all manor of help where it is not justified. Sometimes however, the sifting of the given information reveals a situation different to most, where the individual does not qualify for help as a business (works from home), or as a self-employed individual either (used his own pension to bolster the income for the qualifying period thus taking himself out of the available schemes) and in addition operates in the entertainment industry (very badly hit). If you turn to Universal Credit in such circumstances and are told that you will receive less than £20 per month as your partner “earns too much” (she earns less than they pay in rent) in desperation you start to use your overdraft facility (agreed in better times) just to exist. I was asked if I could help with a grant application through the council to assist them at this time (there was none).

This was when I discovered that with no help, the debt would simply grow, and Christmas dinner would be a miserable affair.

In hope more than expectation I turned to our PGM and asked if there was anything that we could do. Leave it to me he said! I did and a small grant to cover immediate needs (Turkey, stuffing, roasties, sprouts, Christmas Pudding etc) was got to him.

To cover his blushes, I will not say who this is, but he has asked if during better times he can put on a show for us, to repay the kindness shown. We will of course be delighted!!

If any of you ever wondered what we do Freemasonry for, look no further. That my Brethren is the true spirit of a fraternal Christmas and I humbly pass on his heartfelt thanks to you all.

Sincerely & Fraternally

Simon Reay – Head of News West Kent