Susan Beaumont has been confined to a wheelchair for the past 10 years. Although she lives independently she remains, at 34 years of age, reliant on her parents for both physical and financial support. Susan has limb girdle muscular dystrophy – a progressive condition that causes weakness in her hip, thigh and shoulder muscles – making it increasingly difficult for her to manage in a self-propelled wheelchair. Her mother, as primary carer, spends the majority of each day with Susan, while her parents remain on call at night in case she is unwell or there is an unforeseen household emergency.
Paul Healey, Almoner of Susan’s father’s lodge, applied to the Masonic Samaritan Fund in the hope of securing a grant to supply a powered wheelchair. The application was successful and Susan is now enjoying a new-found freedom and increased independence without the need to rely on others to push her around. One of her first outings was to the Provincial carol service held at the Penistone Parish Church, near to her home. Susan is now hoping to acquire a car through the Motability scheme that can be driven from her wheelchair, thereby further increasing her independence and mobility.
RMBI care home Connaught Court, York held an open day to celebrate the opening of their new Dementia Support Wing.
The new Wing was funded with the £86,000 donation by the Province of Yorkshire, West Ridings. The Province has close ties with the Home and has been a great supporter of the work of the RMBI for many years.
The wing now has a fresher environment internally and alterations have been made to ensure that it is a modern dementia zone area.
The donation will also help to fund a sensory garden so that residents can enjoy the outside environment safely.
The event also saw the celebration of Dignity Action Day at the Home and was attended by residents, relatives and members from the Association of Friends.
Drinks and canapés were served at the events and an excellent time was had by all.
To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding will make grants available up to £250,000 to non-masonic causes in its area
The Province was invited by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe, to become involved in the Diamond Jubilee. As the Province covers three Lord Lieutenancies, making grants that covered the entire vicinity was seen as an appropriate manner in which to mark the occasion.
Called the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Masonic Grants, £100,000 will be allocated to major grants and the rest will be for minor grants under £5,000. Provincial Grand Master John Clayton said, ‘It is fitting that an organisation such as the Freemasons, which instils a moral and ethical approach to life, should mark the occasion by making available these grants. In the past 25 years, the Province has given over £2.5m to support local non-masonic causes.’
Applications for grants, from recognised organisations, must have the support of a lodge or chapter in the Province.
Lodge Master Roger Farris, pictured above at the lodge’s anniversary celebrations, declared, ‘One of the principal philosophies of Freemasonry is charitable work in the community and we were delighted to be able to support St Luke’s as it celebrates its 40th anniversary.’ Una Moran, director of St Luke’s fundraising, echoed Roger’s sentiments, ‘The Freemasons have been great supporters of St Luke’s and this donation is extremely important to us. It costs £700 per hour every day of the year to simply maintain the service we provide and a donation like this means so much to our work now and in the future.’
There are around 900 Freemasons in Sheffield and 26 different lodges, but Britannia Lodge, No. 139, is the city’s oldest. ‘Freemasons do a tremendous amount of good work and offer their brethren real camaraderie. I hope Britannia Lodge will celebrate its 500th anniversary,’ resolved Roger.
To mark the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen the
£100,000 of the total will be allocated to major grants; the rest will be for minor grants under £5,000. John Clayton, the Provincial Grand Master in announcing the decision, said “It is fitting that an organisation such as the Freemasons, which instils a moral and ethical approach to life: and teaches and practices concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need, should mark the Diamond Jubilee of The Queen by making available these grants. In the last 25 years the Province has given over £2.5M to support local non-Masonic causes”.
Applications for grants, from recognised organisations, must have the support of a Lodge or Chapter in the Province, and will normally be for capital projects or to purchase equipment. Eligibility for grants will be in line with the existing rules, consequently, applications will not be considered for revenue projects or to sponsor individuals.
Certificates to mark the Diamond Jubilee will be presented to recipients of the grants at an event to be held at the Royal Armouries in
Nell Bank, in Ilkley, is akin to a small village, providing outdoor day and residential education to many local schools and community groups. Some 20,000 children benefit annually from the facilities, but there is an urgent need to replace the present adventure playground with an area that better accommodates children with special needs, as well as wet weather.
The £20,000 grant donated by the lodge will assist with the cost of providing a new play area.
Matthew Scanlan reports on a pilot scheme
The comedian Bob Hope once quipped, ‘If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.’ And as every Freemason knows, Freemasonry places great emphasis on a generous heart and charitable giving, even though not every member is aware of the charitable help that is available to both himself and his loved ones. Therefore, in the wake of a recent pilot scheme which was specifically launched to help raise awareness of the work of the masonic charities, Freemasonry Today decided to speak with those involved to see how the initiative went.
In September 2009 the four main masonic charities – the Freemasons’ Grand Charity, the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and the Masonic Samaritan Fund – launched a joint pilot scheme called Freemasonry Cares to try and better inform members about their work.
For seven months the provinces of Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Durham and Yorkshire West Riding piloted the scheme, which focused on informing members and their dependents, as well as lapsed members (those who may have fallen on hard times or who have become too infirm to attend meetings), about the wide range of charitable help and support that they are eligible to apply for in times of need. And in all instances the message was simple: if you have a masonic connection and you are experiencing financial or healthcare problems, contact Freemasonry Cares.
In the words of Eric Heaviside, the Provincial Grand Master of Durham, ‘One of the most surprising things we discovered with Freemasonry Cares was just how many brethren and their families were totally unaware of the potential guidance and assistance available to them. Many simply go to their lodge and afterwards put away their regalia, and that’s it. And many in the province didn’t realise what they were entitled to; for some it never occurs to them to even seek advice in this regard.’
To tackle this shortfall in knowledge, a specially produced booklet was distributed throughout the four pilot provinces to members and widows of deceased masons. The booklets addressed commonly posed questions relating to both eligibility and the type of help available; help that typically ranges from purely financial related issues such as funeral costs or education support, to healthcare and family support, including hospital treatment, respite care and child maintenance. And in every province the booklets seem to have proved an unqualified success.
A key initiative of the scheme, information about which was also featured in the booklets, was the setting up of a confidential helpline number and this also appears to have won universal approval. For as Eric Heaviside once again explained, ‘One of the problems we frequently encounter is that a lot of our people are very proud people and they don’t want to call on charities. But we have tried to explain that it’s Anyone who wishes to contact Freemasonry Cares should ring the confidential helpline number: 0800 035 6090 more of an entitlement and not charity as such, and that appears to have helped somewhat’.
John Clayton, the Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire West Riding, also noted that because calls made to the helpline number are dealt with in strict confidence, a greater number of masons have been encouraged to come forward and enquire about possible help, far more than was the case in the past.
He also pointed out that in the case of Yorkshire West Riding where there were already wellestablished charities such as Provincial Grand Master’s Fund, which in 2009-10 donated £425,662 principally to non-masonic charities, they have noticed an upturn in charitable applications by as much as sixty percent since the launch of the Freemasonry Cares scheme in the autumn of 2009. Therefore it was generally agreed that even in provinces such as this, the new initiative can not only better inform masons and their dependents about the good work of the charities, but it can also provide a boon for public relations.
The conclusion of the Provincial Grand Master of Cambridgeshire, Rodney Wolverson: ‘the initiative was very good, well presented and well thought out, and overall it was received very well, but most importantly, it also shows that Freemasonry really does care’.
This optimism is also borne out by the facts. For during the pilot year the number of grants awarded in the four test-case provinces saw an increase of thirty-six percent on the previous year, compared to a thirteen percent average increase across the rest of the country. Consequently, the initiative is now being rolled out nationally and over the next eighteen months provinces across England and Wales will be invited to introduce Freemasonry Cares in the hope that the pilot success can be repeated across rest of the country.
The second national Masonic Mentoring conference was hosted by Grand Lodge at Freemasons’ Hall on Great Queen Street on Wednesday, 10th February. Provinces and Districts were well represented, with delegates contributing from almost every Craft Province, the Metropolitan Grand Lodge and from Districts overseas, including the Eastern Archipelago and South Africa. A variety of perspectives were shared throughout the day, never with a shortage of discussion.
Proceedings were opened with an address from the Grand Secretary, who described the importance of equipping our members to act as advocates and ambassadors of the Craft. The opening address was followed by a key note presentation by W Bro Stuart Esworthy PPrSGW(Warks), titled 'The Values and Expectations of the 21st Century Mason', assessing the characteristics and nature of the Craft that may attract prospective candidates in the early 21st century.
Following the opening sessions, W Bro David Wilkinson PDGSuptWk, Metropolitan Grand Inspector and W Bro Jon Leech, MetGMen, presented the Metropolitan Grand Lodge’s Training of Mentors in London. W Bro Jon Leech also shared the Metropolitan Grand Lodge’s Initiate’s Guide, Guide for Royal Arch Masons and Mentoring Officer’s Guidance.
Lunch provided an opportunity to meet other Mentors, share experiences and browse a wide range of Mentors’ and Candidates’ support materials brought to the Conference by the delegates.
W Bro Gary Brown, ProvGStwd(Yorks W Riding) and W Bro David Loy PM ably tackled the after lunch session, energising the audience with an imaginative presentation of Masonry Matters, the Province’s successful, new initiatives enthusing new Masons, sharing ideas between Lodges and providing important, stimulating roles for new Past Masters .
The day concluded with a look at the year ahead from the national coordinator, W Bro James Bartlett, PJGD. The delegates discussed the 3R Library, the role of the Internet in attracting prospective candidates, recruitment materials and enthusiastically endorsed a further national conference in 2011, together with more regional meetings.