Essex-wide scheme will support nursing degree apprentices

Kevin Thompson, Raili Zupping, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Lee Taylor, Gary Payne of Old Chelmsfordian Lodge

Kevin Thompson, Raili Zupping, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Lee Taylor, Gary Payne of Old Chelmsfordian Lodge - Credit: Essex Freemasons

A conversation among Essex Freemasons about how to help others during the coronavirus pandemic has led to a county-wide scheme to support nursing degree apprentices.

Kevin Thompson, a retired police officer who joined the Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust as a porter, had met Raili Zupping.

Raili joined the apprenticeship degree nurse training scheme at PAHT and Anglia Ruskin University just three weeks before the first wave of Covid-19 in 2020.

A single mother living on a minimum wage, Raili had no recourse to government funding and no support network.

Old Chelmsfordian Lodge members contacted ARU who suggested helping with equipment, study material and medical journals through £1,000 for each year of the course.

Some members set up a regular standing-order, others donated lump sums. The Essex Freemasons Community Fund (EFCF) added £500 and pledged £1,500 over the next three years.

Seven other Federation of School Lodges in Essex will similarly sponsor an apprenticed nurse with further match-funding from the EFCF, for the course duration.