The Herefordshire Freemasons for awards DMWS a grant of £79,700. This enables DMWS to continue to help veterans & over 65s return to independent life in their own homes after hospital treatment in Herefordshire.

Herefordshire Times News Article:

Full Press Release details below:

Military veterans and the over 65s receive help after hospital stays thanks to Herefordshire Freemasons


Hundreds of local military veterans and older people who are frail or coping with serious medical conditions will be helped to return to independent life in their own homes after hospital treatment. A new welfare officer has been funded by a grant of £79,700 from Herefordshire Freemasons to the Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS).

The project will support people who are over 65 and considered frail or frequent attenders to hospital and those who have social care needs preventing them from being discharged from hospital and live independently in Herefordshire. There will be a focus on those who are socially isolated.

An estimated ten per cent of Herefordshire’s 45,000 residents over the age of 65 are veterans, with many having health concerns. More than a quarter of these identify themselves as lonely, with a further 40 per cent believed to have problems with loneliness and isolation even if they do not always identify themselves as such.

Ashley Winter, the local welfare officer for DMWS is currently dealing with 49 cases in Herefordshire, ensuring that these vulnerable individuals are helped to live as normal a life as possible. One elderly lady who had worked for the Land Army, is confined to a chair simply because she cannot get up without external help. However, with Ashley’s assistance as a link to the relevant support agency, she was provided with an automatic chair.

Studies have shown that loneliness can have the same negative effects on health as obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Since the Second World War, DMWS have been supporting the Armed Forces community, aiding physical and mental health recovery through their professional welfare services.

The grant from HerefordshireFreemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Paul Gaffney, Chief Executive, DMWS said:

“We’re very grateful to Herefordshire Freemasons for their generous grant. Thanks to them we’ll be able to help more military veterans and the over 65s facing social isolation issues, to live independently in their own homes. Providing community connections for those in need gives a tremendous lift to their lives. Our vital service reduces unnecessary ‘bed blocking’ in hospitals, removing stress to the person and eases direct pressure on the NHS.”

Michael Holland from Herefordshire Freemason, said:

“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help the DMWS, who do outstanding work backing our veterans. Far too many of them are stuck in hospital because they don’t have proper support to safely return to their own homes or are lonely and isolated. By helping to fund Ashley Winter as a local welfare officer, the quality of life of many of our veterans and their families will be greatly improved.”


Notes to Editors:

Picture caption: Ashley Winter dedicated welfare officer for the Defence Medical Welfare Service reducing isolation for veterans and those over 65 in Herefordshire, enabling them to live independently.

The Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) is an independent charity providing help and support to the Armed Forces community, frontline services and NHS staff when they are receiving medical treatment. For 75 years their practical and emotional support has ensured that no family goes through the worry of illness or injury alone.

The DMWS Welfare Officers give confidential medical welfare support to patients and their immediate family as well as to their primary care givers and healthcare professionals. DMWS work with patients when their medical needs are being met but when other issues, problems or social influences may be distracting them from their recovery. The support is tailored to individuals needs.

DMWS operates in hospitals and recovery centres across the UK and Cyprus for serving Armed Forces personnel, veterans, frontline staff, merchant navy and their families.

Service During COVID19:In response to this period of national emergency, delivery of DMWS Emergency Response Service (ERS) will expand to include issues related to Covid19.

A message from Paul Gaffney, DMWS Chief Executive on the organisation’s operational response to COVID-19 can be found here:

For further information regarding DMWS please contact Harriet Mallinson, PR Manager,

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 Freemasons and their families with a financial, health or family need. Visit

For further information about the Masonic Charitable Foundation, please contact Guy Roberts, Press Officer (  |0203146 3311)

Published: 6th May, 2020
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