Chapter Chat: Royal Black Institution launches new charity initiative Operation Hope to help members and their families

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​​The Royal Black Institution has launched a new charity project, Operation Hope, aimed at supporting members and their families through difficult times.

The loyal order has identified that many members are struggling with issues following the coronavirus pandemic and envisages the programme focusing on “the twin pillars of education and well-being”.

Over a 21-year period the institution has gained a distinguished record in charity work, donating a total of £845,000 to various charitable causes.

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These include NI Chest, Heart and Stroke; Action MS; the Alzheimer’s Society; Macmillan Cancer Support; Kiwoko Hospital, Uganda; and the Child Evangelism Fellowship.

​King Charles – then the Prince of Wales – with Sovereign Grand Master Rev William Anderson at the institution’s headquarters in May 2019​King Charles – then the Prince of Wales – with Sovereign Grand Master Rev William Anderson at the institution’s headquarters in May 2019
​King Charles – then the Prince of Wales – with Sovereign Grand Master Rev William Anderson at the institution’s headquarters in May 2019

The last donation – £65,000 in June 2022 – was to the Somme Nursing Home in Belfast, to enable the installation of an eco-friendly heating system.

Sovereign Grand Master Rev William Anderson said: “Our biennial appeals were launched in 2002 and have raised money through members organising events for selected charities.

“However, the impact of Covid-19 had a direct impact on this important work of the institution, as it was effectively closed during the height of the pandemic, and we were therefore unable to organise any fundraising events.”

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Following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, the institution turned its attention to helping the membership in returning to normal working patterns, including its biennial charity appeals.


Rev Anderson said it became apparent “internal support was required on a large scale to support our members, their families, and friends, together with the wider community, to once again build capacity to enable delivery of support to our members, as many were struggling to overcome issues following the pandemic”.

He added: “We therefore plan to deliver this support across the twin pillars of ‘education’ and ‘well-being’. This will be the focus over the next two years for our charitable fundraising.”

Operation Hope will involve raising funds to progress the planning and development for the delivery of assistance, guidance and skills using pamphlets, podcasts and seminars.

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Under the theme of ‘education’, topics will include faith in a secular society, family life, bereavement, financial planning, and skills training.

‘Well-being’ topics will include mental and physical health, benefits support, stress, isolation, and retirement.

Rev Anderson said: “The development of Operation Hope in a society where many find themselves devoid of hope will be an important project for the Royal Black Institution as it enables us to deliver the objectives set out in our Mission Statement based on faith and citizenship.

“Scripture teaches us that Spirit-led volunteerism is important for Christians in order to help others in their time of need. I trust that this project will be a blessing to many.

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“The first goal is to raise the funds to enable us to do the work. Let us all be encouraged to be creative in how we raise funds for such a well-deserved project.”

Meanwhile, the institution has sent its congratulations to King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, as the United Kingdom prepares to mark the Coronation with a weekend of celebrations next month.

The Coronation takes place on Saturday, May 6 at Westminster Abbey, London, with the service conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby.

The institution said: “The Coronation of His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen Consort is a momentous event in the history of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.

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“The King has devoted his life to charitable causes, transforming lives and building sustainable communities.

“As the Prince of Wales, he was patron or president of more than 400 organisations and carried out dozens of engagements every year in support of his core charities and patronages.

“We send our warmest congratulations to His Majesty on this unique occasion.”

Rev Anderson said: “The Coronation ceremony is rooted in long-standing traditions and pageantry.

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“It is a solemn religious ceremony, which has remained essentially the same for hundreds of years and is traditionally conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

“The events will bring people together to celebrate the monarchy and the combination of tradition and modernity, culture and community that makes up the United Kingdom.”

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