Founded in 1985, The People’s Kitchen has served on average of 40,000 hot meals per year to the city’s homeless and disadvantaged population and demand for its services has increased by 30% in the last five years.

Now, the charity has received a fantastic opportunity from the Masonic Charitable Fund to share in a donation of £3 million as part of Freemasonry’s 300th anniversary celebrations.

An online public vote is being held to decide which local charities within the Province of Northumberland will receive up to £25,000 each from the £3 million fund, which is being distributed to mark the 300th anniversary of the formation of the first Grand Lodge in 1717. The donations are being administered by the Masonic Charitable Foundation and will be distributed to 300 charities across the country.

Maureen Armstrong, volunteer fundraiser for The People’s Kitchen was very excited by the online vote.

“We would urge everyone that knows about our work with our “friends” on the streets of Newcastle and in The Kitchen, to vote for us.

“£25,000 is a life changing amount and will do so much good to help our friends. It’s not just about providing food, we provide a listening ear, sign post to other essential services and offer the hand of friendship to people who have nothing.”

Around 140 hot meals are served every single night that The People’s Kitchen is open to the most vulnerable adults in Newcastle and surrounding areas. In addition, friendship, clothing, showers, activities and outings are provided and outside agencies are partners in providing advice on finance, mental health, dental hygiene, housing and addiction. The People’s Kitchen is now one of the most prominent charities in the North East.

Anyone who wishes to vote for The People’s Kitchen should visit, select the Northumberland Province page and vote for the charity. All of the nominated charities are guaranteed to receive a grant, but the public vote will determine the amount from £4,000 up to £25,000.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation receives all of its funding from Freemasons and their families. It is estimated that half of Freemasonry’s total charitable expenditure of over £33m goes to charities that help people in communities across the country.

Notes to Editors:

Full details of the 2017 Community Awards – Tercentenary Fund scheme can be found at

About the Masonic Charitable Foundation

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief. In total, MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally.

As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports Masonic families with a financial, health or family need. Visit

About the United Grand Lodge of England

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body of Freemasonry in England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands (plus a number of Districts and groups overseas), formed in 1717 and has a membership of over 200,000.

UGLE will celebrate its official 300th anniversary on 24 June 2017, marking the date that four London Lodges came together at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St Paul’s Churchyard and declared themselves the world’s first Grand Lodge.

Freemasonry is one of the world’s largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations, and its symbolic origin lies in stonemasonry.

Visit for further information.
Freemasonry has recently been the subject of a major documentary by Sky TV, Inside the Freemasons.
Photo: Maureen (in white masonic apron) with a team of volunteer Kitchen staff
The People’s Kitchen: The Alison Centre, 56 Bath Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 5SQ (near St James’ Park)

Make a donation

Regular support to The People’s Kitchen is the best way of ensuring that we can continue our vital services and plan for the future.

Be a volunteer

Over 200 volunteers deliver a staggering 35,000 hours of voluntary hours each year representing a benefit in kind wage saving of £500,000.