We British all know the power of a cup of tea. This communal activity brings us together like nothing else, allowing us to share experiences and ask for support when we need it, something any charity that relies on public donations must do. When our fundraising manager met Keith ‘Mr. Yorkshire’ Madeley MBE for a cuppa, though, we couldn’t have predicted the positive impact it would have.

Keith Madeley is a business man and philanthropist who is chairman of several businesses and organisations in Yorkshire. Born in Bradford, Keith lived all over the country before returning to the North to contribute to the communities he grew up in. He is currently the chairman of The Yorkshire Society, which is where he met our current Development and Programme Manager Caron Munro, who was previously a committee member of the organisation.

Before his involvement with the trust, Caron found out about Keith’s support for Autism Plus, another fantastic charity that supports both adults and young people with autism, learning disabilities and mental health conditions. Caron decided to meet up with her old colleague to let him know about the work we do over a nice cup of tea.

Our interns hard at work

After hearing about our work, Keith immediately wanted to help and suggested that Caron should apply for a grant from his Masonic Lodge. The Lodge of Peace is one of the oldest Masonic Lodges in the country and often offers grants to charities like ourselves. Caron took his advice, and thanks to the generosity of its members we were awarded a £2,000 donation from his Provincial Grand Master’s Fund. That money went towards the much-needed purchase of gardening tools for our Branching Out programme. Branching Out is one of our social enterprises, offering high-quality garden services to local residents and businesses.

After we were awarded the money, Keith even came down to see our interns and the tools in action along with his colleague from The Lodge of Peace, Phil Taylor.  Keith Madeley was awarded an MBE in 2011 for ‘Services to the Communities in Yorkshire’ and his work with Lighthouse Futures Trust is yet another example of the fantastic work that led to that recognition.

Want to make a difference and have a cup of tea at the same time? Why not visit our café and store Keepers Coffee and Kitchen, 76 Otley Old Rd, Leeds, UK.