Completely at home
Last year, 96 per cent of residents said they were happy living in an RMBI care home – a statistic echoed by 93 per cent of relatives.
At the RMBI, care is provided for older Freemasons and their families as well as some people in the community. Caring has been RMBI’s way of life since 1842 and it provides a home for over 1,000 people across England and Wales – while supporting many more. Whether people need residential or nursing care, specialist dementia support or day services, the RMBI cares for them professionally and kindly.
Those members of the masonic community who choose an RMBI care home have the security of knowing that they have a home for life as long as it is possible to support their needs. This applies even if their financial circumstances change.
Silver Jubilee for medical research
The Masonic Samaritan Fund has marked its 25th anniversary by donating a combined £1.125 million to 13 medical research charities
Freemasons across England and Wales nominated the worthy recipients of the MSF Silver Jubilee Research Fund last year, and presentations for the successful nominees took place in the Provinces throughout 2015 in the presence of the Provincial Grand Masters.
The final presentations took place in December 2015, with donations made to a number of good causes.
The Macular Society was presented with £100,000 for research into a cure for age-related macular degeneration, the biggest cause of sight loss in the developed world. £90,000 was presented to Parkinson’s UK to support its research into a solution for life-threatening swallowing problems that often develop in people suffering from the disease. And £100,000 was also presented to the British Heart Foundation for research into a deadly variation of a protein called titin that can cause sudden death.
Supporting young people
Stepping Stones was launched in 2010 by the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys to help support young people in their communities. Over the past five years, grants totalling more than £1.3 million have been awarded to 63 local and national charities, with the most recent round of grants totalling over £250,000. The Daisy Chain Project Teesside received £30,000 to fund its education and employability programme for young people with autism. The farm-based charity provides services including respite care, animal and sensory therapy, after-school clubs, family outings and support groups.
Grants for flood-hit regions
The Freemasons’ Grand Charity donated £25,000 to the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal 2015 on direction from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Cumberland and Westmorland. The grant will support those who suffered financial hardship as well as wider community relief and rebuilding projects.
An additional £5,000 was donated directly to the Provincial Grand Master Benevolence Fund. This will go towards helping Freemasons and others affected by flooding in the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland.
Festive appeals total tops £8m
The closing months of 2015 saw the conclusion of two successful Festival Appeals from Bedfordshire and East Lancashire Freemasons. Both Provinces held special events to celebrate raising more than £1.5 million for the RMTGB and over £2.5 million for the RMBI, respectively.
Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes attended both events along with the Presidents and Chief Executives of the charities, Mike Woodcock and Les Hutchinson for the RMTGB, and James Newman and David Innes for the RMBI.
The funds raised by Bedfordshire and East Lancashire bring the total raised for the central masonic charities through 2015 Festival Appeals to a staggering £8.2 million.
Launching in 2016
In January, the Province of Durham launched its 2021 Festival Appeal for the RMTGB at the Sage Gateshead.
Provincial Grand Master Eric Heaviside said: ‘We come across many distressing cases of children who need our help. This is our opportunity to help give them a better life.’
The Provinces of Buckinghamshire, West Lancashire, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Worcestershire launch their Festivals for the new Masonic Charitable Foundation later this year.
Fly high for charity
The end of 2015 saw some fantastic and exhilarating fundraising efforts by members of the masonic community
The Rev David Bowen, Provincial Grand Master of Herefordshire, and Kevin Lyons, Past Master of Delphis Lodge, Hereford, completed freefall tandem skydives from 12,500ft and raised over £7,000 for the Herefordshire 2020 Festival in support of the Masonic Samaritan Fund.
Meanwhile, Nigel Moran and Andrew Paice from the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight completed the Sky Tower 100ft freefall challenge in Tivoli Friheden, Denmark. They completed the feat dressed as Batman and Robin to raise funds for the 2016 Festival for the RMTGB.
At the top, Andy suggested that Nigel (Batman) should go first. Nigel shouted, ‘So mote it be!’ before plunging into the net below. Their sense of achievement was reinforced by raising over £1,000, double their original target.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation’s Chief Executive David Innes looks forward to the challenges ahead for the new charity
The creation of the new Masonic Charitable Foundation is a significant milestone in the evolution of benevolent support within and by the masonic community. I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to lead this new charity during its formative years.
The logo of the Foundation depicts a charitable heart at the centre of our masonic square and compasses symbol. It is my belief that the Foundation should become instantly recognisable as a force for good by all masons and their families, as well as by the charity sector and public at large. We will all be working hard to ensure this happens.
The transition from four charities to one has the sole purpose of improving the services provided to our many stakeholders. The transition will be challenging, but the staff and trustees share my determination to prevent any disruption to our services. The needs of our beneficiaries will remain paramount.
I look forward to reporting on the Foundation as it evolves and welcome your support.
‘It is my belief that the Foundation should become instantly recognisable as a force for good by all masons and their families.’ David Innes, CEO, Masonic Charitable Foundation
To promote the launch of the new Masonic Charitable Foundation in April 2016, the charity has produced an exclusive lapel pin. The Foundation will bring together the work of the four central masonic charities into a single organisation, continuing to provide a wide range of support to Freemasons and their families who have a financial, health and care, or family need.
By wearing this new lapel pin, you can help spread the word about your new masonic charity. To request your lapel pin, simply subscribe to the Foundation’s mailing list at www.mcf.org.uk
Air Ambulance flying high
London Freemasons have donated £2 million towards London’s Air Ambulance ‘Your London, Your Helicopter’ campaign, which has now succeeded in raising enough to acquire a second emergency medical helicopter for use by London’s Air Ambulance advanced trauma team.
The Freemasons presented a cheque for £250,000 in March 2015, with a further instalment of £750,000 presented by Metropolitan Grand Master Sir Michael Snyder in November 2015. Graham Hodgkin, CEO of London’s Air Ambulance, said: ‘We thank all those Freemasons across the Metropolitan area who worked tirelessly to raise the £2 million.’