In January 2011, our Provincial Grand Master, R W Bro Rev M C G Lane JP, hosted a meeting with The Chief Executive of The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls & Boys at Newport Masonic Hall to receive a presentation on Freemasonry Cares.
Freemasonry Cares is a joint initiative of the central Masonic Charities launched with the explicit aim of increasing awareness of the help available to Freemasons and their dependants. The Charities are concerned that there are individuals who would benefit from their support, but for a multitude of reasons are not receiving it. These include a lack of awareness of the existence of the charities, poor understanding of the full range of facilities available or not knowing how to access the support.
This project is trying to address these problems through the delivery of a simplified message, the establishment of a centralised point of contact and the development of a more co-ordinated approach to publicising support. It is hoped that it will be particularly useful when dealing with dependants of Freemasons who may have limited knowledge of the charities and the help available. We should not under estimate the number of Freemasons and their dependants who require help.
It might be useful to remind ourselves of the function of the central charities.
The Grand Charity supports emergency grants to help fund disaster relief work at home and overseas, medical research, vulnerable people, hospices, air ambulances and many other worthy causes including the Royal College of Surgeons.
It also offers financial care through the Masonic Relief Grants scheme to Freemasons and their dependants who are experiencing hardship or financial difficulties.
The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys provides assistance to relieve poverty or financial hardship for our younger people who are in difficulty with family life as the consequence of tragedy, desertion or matrimonial problems with the parents.
They also offer help through the Talent Aid scheme for talented children in sport, music, drama and the arts.
The Masonic Samaritan Fund assists with care for those who have an identified medical, surgical, dental or respite care need, and are waiting for, or are unable to get treatment via the National Health Service or their Local Authority, and are unable to afford private treatment. The Fund can also provide mobility equipment including stair lifts.
Last, but not least, is the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, which is responsible for the care of older Freemasons and their dependants through the 17 homes available in England and Wales. This Charity also provides care advice and support for Freemasons and their dependants in the community through the Care Advice Team.
As part of Freemasonry Cares, a central free phone help line has been established. Publicity material through the Freemasonry Cares pamphlet is also available, which emphasises the support available in terms of themes (financial, healthcare and family) as opposed to a charity by charity basis.
Following the successful pilot launch programme in 2009/2010, Freemasonry Cares is to be introduced to all of the Provinces in England and Wales during 2011/12. Our R W Provincial Grand Master accepted an invitation for Monmouthshire to be included in the early release of this project. A working party was established and the following actions were agreed.
- An introductory letter to Freemasonry Cares from our Provincial Grand Master and the Central Charities pamphlet were distributed in April to every Monmouthshire Freemason.
- The Freemasonry Cares pamphlet, was also distributed to the Province’s Widows using our Almoner network and the Newport and Chepstow Widow’s groups.
- Lodge Secretaries have been asked to enclose the pamphlet in Initiate’s information packs. A presentation by the Provincial Grand Almoners for Craft and Chapter is also available.
- A DVD has been produced by The Grand Charity which features the stories of four individuals who have received help as the result of contacting the Lodge Almoner or the Freemasonry Cares helpline. Our Almoners have a copy for viewing by our widows and Lodges.
We do of course hope that you will not face financial hardship, health or family difficulties, but please remember Freemasonry Does Care.
Further information is available from the Freemasonry Cares help line ~ 0800 035 6090, the Lodge Almoner, Provincial Grand Almoner or Information Officer.
W Bro Jim Wheeler
Provincial Grand Almoner
Province of Monmouthshire.
October 2011. - If you'd like more information about Freemasonry Cares, please click here.