Friday, 16 September 2011

Children missing out as masonic families struggle to cope with the prolonged economic downturn

The effects of the recession are still being felt by many masonic families. Enclosed with this edition of Freemasonry Today is the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB) 2010-2011 Annual Review. The document reveals that the RMTGB accepted 30 percent more new cases in 2010 compared with 2009. In total, 1,820 children and young people received support in 2010, and the trend shows no sign of reversing.

Not surprisingly, the number of financial distress cases has risen as the economy struggles to recover from the recent global financial turbulence. Children can do little to escape the effects of monetary hardship and often, despite the best efforts of their parents, miss out on opportunities that in previous years had been taken for granted – frequently with life-changing consequences.

The general rise in the cost of living, government cuts to local services such as libraries, school travel and the education maintenance allowance, coupled with a significant increase in tuition fees, mean that the cost of raising children is continuing to increase rapidly.

The RMTGB exists to ensure that financial hardship does not impact on the general welfare or education of children from masonic families. RMTGB chief executive Les Hutchinson is keen to stress that support is available for children and young people who may be affected. ‘It is a tragedy that it is so often the children who suffer most because of financial situations completely beyond their control,’ he says. ‘Even temporary financial difficulty lasting a few months can have life-changing consequences for children.’

Despite the increase in cases, and the higher costs of living, Hutchinson stresses that the generosity of Freemasons means that the RMTGB is in a strong position to assist those children and young people who most need help. ‘I would urge anyone struggling to support their children financially during this time to contact the RMTGB or their lodge almoner.’

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