Plain sailing for Jubilee Trust

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Provincial Grand Master Mike Wilks had a special mission when he boarded the sailing vessel Tenacious at Southampton Docks: to present the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s (JST) chief executive Duncan Souster with a cheque for £15,000 from the Grand Charity

The donation will be used for the JST’s Buddy Bursary scheme, which funds sailing expeditions for both disabled and able-bodied people, promoting equality by teaching them how to crew a tall ship together, sharing challenges and celebrating their individual differences. Since the JST began in 1978, more than 40,000 people have set sail to destinations including Tenerife and Costa Rica. 

Launched 15 years ago, the Tenacious is one of two tall ships used by the group – the only tall ships in the world designed so they can be sailed by a crew with widely varied sensory and physical abilities, including wheelchair users. 

New approach to child protection

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in Warwickshire has obtained a £47,500 grant from the Grand Charity for a new approach to detecting and preventing abuse of young children.

The grant is for the salary of a clinical psychologist, who will head up the implementation of the New Orleans Intervention Model, which works with infants under five years old who are in care, aiming to safely reunify them with their biological parents where possible. 

The aim is to protect and promote the mental health of infants by working with their key care relationships, including both biological parents and foster carers.

Published in The Grand Charity

Backing for Somerset hospice

Weston Hospicecare has received a £2,464 donation from the Grand Charity. The cheque was presented to John Bailey, the hospice’s director of patient services, by Somerset Freemasons Ian, Terry and Derek Porter.

John Bailey said, ‘I would like to thank The Freemasons’ Grand Charity once again for their generous support, which makes a real difference to the lives of local people with life-limiting illnesses.’

Published in The Grand Charity

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. 

Published in The Grand Charity

The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has donated to English National Ballet to support their pioneering work with people living with Parkinson’s across the country. The £30,000 grant will enable English National Ballet to deliver the Dance for Parkinson’s project in Cardiff, Ipswich, London, Liverpool and Oxford, and extend the programme to new locations.

Dance for Parkinson’s helps people living with the disease to have a better quality of life by overcoming the physical, social and cultural barriers associated with the condition. Professional dance artists and musicians deliver weekly classes inspired by English National Ballet’s repertoire in the dance studios. The charity aims to directly benefit 1,000 people with Parkinson’s annually and to provide support for carers, friends and families, who can also participate in the dance classes.

One participant who took part in the project in London said: “The ballet did make me urgently want to move more, and move better and hinted at how this might be possible.”

Fleur Derbyshire-Fox, Engagement Director at English National Ballet, says: “We have long-believed in the power of dance as a transformative and liberating activity that can bring joy and well-being benefits to people living with Parkinson’s. A mixed-methods research study with the University of Roehampton – the most significant study into the benefits of dancing with Parkinson’s, as seen within English National Ballet’s programme and over a period of three years – confirmed the impact of this programme, highlighting that dance is a meaningful activity to participants that brings many long term benefits and is valued highly by them. We are so happy that we can continue to provide this service and take it to new areas of the country.”

Chief Executive of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity Laura Chapman said: “We are delighted to support the wonderful work that English National Ballet does to help people affected by this debilitating condition. English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s programme provides a creative outlet that resonates deeply for participants on intellectual, social and emotional levels.”

Classes are delivered in London at English National Ballet’s studios in Kensington, as well as nationally, in collaboration with regional Hub Partners National Dance Company Wales, based in Cardiff, DanceEast in Ipswich, MDI in Liverpool and Oxford City Council. 

For further information on English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s programme please contact Robert James, PR Manager on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 020 7590 2933

 

Published in The Grand Charity

£30,000 given to support those affected by Cumbria floods

The Freemasons' Grand Charity has donated £25,000 to the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund 2015. The emergency grant will support individuals and families who suffer financial hardship as a result of flooding, as well as wider community relief and rebuilding projects. A further £5,000 has also been donated directly to the Provincial Grand Master Benevolence Fund. This will go towards helping masons and non-masons affected by the flooding in the Province of Cumberland and Westmorland.

Deputy Provincial Grand Master Keith Young said: 'This is an example of Freemasonry working in, and within, the community.

'The adverse weather in Cumbria has plunged individuals and families into particularly horrendous circumstances. It’s important that we do what we can to support these communities and minimise any potentially long term devastating effects.'

If individual Freemasons are affected by the recent events, an application for a Masonic Relief Grant can be made through their Provincial Grand Almoner. However, it should be remembered that the normal financial assessment will apply to such applications.

Published in The Grand Charity

Recognised and valued

Whether you’re among those providing vital help or receiving it, caring will touch nearly everyone’s lives. Aileen Scoular finds that Freemasonry has been united in its support of carers for 25 years

Every day some 6,000 people become carers. Today there are around 6.5 million in the UK, and national membership charity Carers UK estimates that by 2037 more than nine million people will be in a caring role. 

This means providing unstinting, unpaid support for a loved one, friend or neighbour who is older, disabled or seriously ill. 

While some carers will have made a decision to provide care, for many the role will have presented itself gradually or unexpectedly, and they may struggle to balance caring with their own needs.

Of particular concern is the fact that the number of older carers is growing rapidly. ‘The Carers UK joint report with Age UK, Caring into Later Life, showed that there are now almost 1.3 million carers aged 65 and over in England and Wales – an increase of 35 per cent in 10 years,’ says Emily Holzhausen, director of policy, advice and information at Carers UK. ‘It was even more alarming to discover that the fastest-growing group of carers are those aged 85 and over.’ Around 87,000 octogenarians now care for a loved one, despite their own fragile health.

Young lives are affected, too. Carers Trust estimates that there are around 300,000 carers aged 16 to 24 in the UK, and some 13,000 of those are providing more than 50 hours of care a week, which makes it very difficult to work or go to college.

Thankfully for today’s carers, there is a network of dedicated caring charities. But the problem is that not everyone who provides care realises they are a carer, so it can be hard for such charities to reach those who most need their support. ‘People often have a picture of who a carer is and they find it hard to identify with that label,’ says Holzhausen. ‘Many carers simply don’t want to ask for help, often because they feel like it is their duty to care for their loved one.’

Help for those who help

Carers UK celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015 and is working with a network of volunteers and local community-based organisations – including masonic lodges – to help them understand how to reach, connect with and support carers in their community in the best way. However, they need funding to reach more carers with vital advice, information and support, which is why The Freemasons’ Grand Charity’s support of the caring sector is so important.

Over the past 25 years, the Grand Charity has donated more than £1 million to charities that specifically support carers, including a £250,000 donation to Carers UK back in 1990. Baroness Jill Pitkeathley OBE headed up Carers UK at the time and she described it as ‘one of the most significant events which took place on my watch as chief executive… allowing us to expand our branch network, increase our membership and expand our profile with the media. Carers everywhere owe the Grand Charity a debt of gratitude.’

‘Many Freemasons recognise the need for care, and for some it’s a topic that is becoming more relevant to their own lives,’ says Katrina Baker, Head of Non-Masonic Grants at the Grand Charity. ‘It is reported that many carers are already living on the breadline so any welfare cuts take their financial situation to a critical level. The masonic community and our Grants Committee are passionate about supporting the caring sector.’

The Grand Charity has made sizeable donations to caring organisations in recent years. Crossroads Care, a UK-wide network of carers’ centres, received £125,000 over three years, allowing it to develop more branches. Contact a Family also benefited from £125,000 over three years, enabling it to establish a new regional structure in the north of England. Home Farm Trust (Hft), a charity for people with learning disabilities, used a £60,000 donation to fund a Carer Support Service. A conference for The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (now merged with Crossroads Care to form the Carers Trust) was made possible with a £33,000 grant, allowing best practice to be shared across 118 independent care centres. 

‘Unfortunately we receive far more applications for grants than we can support, and the number we receive is rising.’ Katrina Baker

The more you know…

Recently, the Grand Charity once again supported Carers UK with a £100,000 donation to help fund its national advice and information services, giving carers access to free guidance on the practicalities of caring, and information on their entitlements and rights. ‘It is a substantial donation for us, larger than most grants we give,’ explains Baker. ‘Unfortunately we receive far more applications for grants than we can support, and the number we receive is rising.’ 

Baker and her colleagues research the applications thoroughly, and present the Grand Charity Grants Committee with a shortlist from a broad spectrum of charitable sectors. ‘We always aim to be fair when selecting projects to support,’ she says. ‘It is also important to support causes that are of interest and relevance to the masonic community. We want them to be able to connect with the sectors and organisations we’re supporting.’

Not surprisingly, the charities that benefit from the Grand Charity’s donations are very grateful. ‘We hugely appreciate the support that has come from the Grand Charity over the past 25 years, and its current grant to help us develop our network of services,’ says Holzhausen. ‘We’re always keen to work with the masonic community, and we want them to know that our services are always there for them, too.’

Making life better

Margaret Dangoor, 75, regularly visited her mother in a Bath nursing home until her death aged 102, while also looking after her husband Eddie, who has Alzheimer’s, at home in Surrey. She explains how tough caring for loved ones can be

‘Sometimes people are so focused on the person they care for, they forget about their own well-being. Caring is a big role and it can be extremely daunting; many carers also feel very guilty. It’s not all negative, though – there can be a sense of community if you engage with the care environment. I’m a Volunteer Ambassador for Carers UK because I want to spread the word and reach those who might be caring alone. 

‘For me, it’s poignant to see the Grand Charity supporting carers’ charities. My father was a member of Raymond Thrupp Lodge in Middlesex, and Lodge of Honour in Bath when he lived there. When my father was very ill during the last months of his life, the lodge in Bath was very helpful to my mother. She had early Alzheimer’s disease, and a member of the lodge took her to visit my father every day for several weeks. 

‘She had no concept of what a commitment he was making and our family, who were all living at a distance, were extremely grateful.’

The personal impact

Being a carer affects people’s lives in many ways – not all of them predictable – as research from Carers UK reveals

Employment

According to a report by Carers UK, two million people have given up work to care. More than a third of carers have also used up their holiday leave to provide care.

Relationships

Caring can profoundly change the terms of a relationship. Having nursed each other through cancer on separate occasions, BBC Radio 2 DJ Johnnie Walker and his wife Tiggy are now patrons of the Carers UK 50th Anniversary appeal. ‘Caring pushed our relationship to the brink,’ he says. ‘It has left us with a deep understanding of how difficult and challenging caring for someone can be.’

Family

Sometimes, family bonds can break down too. ‘At first, family can be very supportive but as time passes, that support can drop off,’ says Emily Holzhausen of Carers UK. Around 60 per cent of carers worry about the impact their caring role will have on their other relationships.

Physical well-being

Caring has had a negative effect on the health of some 82 per cent of carers, according to Carers UK, and 41 per cent have experienced an injury or their physical health has suffered as a result of caring. Looking ahead, more than three quarters of all carers are concerned about the impact of caring on their own health in the next 12 months.

Isolation

Feeling isolated is common among carers. Many don’t want to ask for help, and others are too exhausted – or cannot afford – to do anything except provide round-the-clock care. Eight in 10 carers say they have experienced loneliness and isolation as a result of their caring role, and over half have lost touch with friends or family.

Financial hardship

Caring is costly and more than a third of all carers do not realise what benefits they are entitled to. Around 48 per cent cannot make ends meet, and 26 per cent have had to borrow money from friends or family to survive.

‘The personal impact’ statistics from Carers UK reports: State of Caring (2015); Alone and Caring (2015); Caring and Isolation in the Workplace (Carers UK and Employers for Carers, 2015)

Published in The Grand Charity

Sign of the times

With support from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, a new GCSE in British Sign Language could open up the education system for deaf young people, writes Glyn Brown

Communication is a major part of what makes life worth living. But it isn’t always easy. Some of us can find it hard to talk to others, to understand them and transmit what we want to tell them. But if you can’t hear, the difficulty can become far more pronounced. 

There is currently a groundswell movement to break through the barrier between the hearing and the deaf. But whereas places such as Scotland and Scandinavia are opening up education by teaching and promoting the use – and understanding – of sign language in schools, England and Wales are lagging way behind, which means they are missing out on the potential talent and ability of a huge number of young people. 

But someone is taking a stand. Founded in 1982, Durham-based charity Signature is now the leading awarding body for qualifications in deaf and deafblind communication techniques. In a radical move, it has drawn up and is piloting a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL). Preparation has taken years, and the pilot is Signature’s next step in persuading the government that the qualification should be recognised. 

The language of change

It was only in 1890 that the British Deaf Association was formed, and began advocating the use of (what was at the time revolutionary) sign language, alongside lip-reading. Suddenly, the deaf were becoming teachers and civil servants, editors and chemists. ‘Once there was a recognised form of communication, people started to realise not only that BSL was a language in its own right, with grammar and syntax, but that these people had just as much to say as hearing people,’ says Signature’s senior policy adviser Dan Sumners. ‘The turning point was when hearing people started to learn BSL and become interpreters.’

With Sweden, Finland and Norway offering sign language as part of the national curriculum, it seems out of step that BSL is currently only taught in deaf schools, community colleges or private organisations in England and Wales. Signature has tried for years to get BSL recognised as a language in its own right. Its first attempt to draft GCSE criteria in 2010 was never used, but the charity was undeterred, assembling a crack team of qualification experts, examiners and BSL teachers to draw up new GCSE content in 2014. ‘They were incredibly passionate, and relentless in making this a rigorous qualification,’ recalls Gillian Marshall-Dyson, Signature’s funding and projects coordinator.

With everything in place by July 2015, the GCSE was then offered to six schools to pilot. ‘The course provides all students with a good working knowledge of BSL,’ says Marshall-Dyson. ‘Not just that – young people love learning it. It’s physical, expressive, a totally new learning curve. They absolutely throw themselves into it.’

Making progress possible

But none of this could have been achieved without financial assistance. Researching funding, Marshall-Dyson noticed that the Freemasons have a great interest in helping children and young people, so an application for funding was submitted in late 2014. ‘On a day very early in 2015 I got into work, switched on my computer and saw an email that said, “We are pleased to be able to award you a grant of £18,000…” I was delighted to receive the news and share it with the rest of the office… In fact, the whole office came to a standstill. And I thought, how wonderful, now we really can forge ahead and bring in a brilliant team to put this groundbreaking qualification together.’

Michael Daws, a trustee of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, has high expectations: ‘The hope is that this GCSE can take pupils beyond survival skills and into having full conversations with each other in BSL. It could be a transformative experience. But what also struck a chord with me was hearing how learning BSL can sometimes be difficult for shy children because it’s so demonstrative – try putting yourself in a position where you’re using your facial expressions and your body to talk. But learning to overcome that reticence, in a GCSE class, could help with confidence in so many ways.’

Of course, it is early days. As Sumners explains, the GCSE will be tweaked and streamlined during regular meetings of the Signature team and the pilot schools, ‘so we can make the specification as robust as possible’. Above all, the GCSE needs to be recognised by the regulating body Ofqual; only then can it be offered officially, and in all schools.

‘The first aspect of this issue is acknowledging an individual’s human rights. But the second is asking why, if we want the UK to remain strong, we wouldn’t want to use the skills of everyone in this country?’ says Sumners. ‘Someone who’s grown up profoundly deaf has an entirely different view of the world to you or me, and it’s a view that’s not being made use of. It sounds grandiose – but developing this awareness could have ramifications that, at the moment, we can’t even imagine.’

‘Someone who’s grown up profoundly deaf has an entirely different view of the world, and it’s a view that’s not being made use of.’ Dan Sumners

Classroom communication

With 11 million people in the UK having some degree of hearing loss, education for the deaf is a key issue

‘Achievement grades in education are much lower for deaf children,’ says Dan Sumners, Signature’s senior policy adviser. ‘In the past, kids either went the deaf school route – learning sign language, which was great for developing the deaf community but constituted a barrier with mainstream society – or down the lip-reading route, where they had to try to speak, even though they couldn’t hear.’ 

Those who were encouraged to lip-read tend to have a low reading age and can lip-read little better than the rest of us. Gillian Marshall-Dyson, Signature’s funding and projects coordinator, adds, ‘Many schools for the deaf are now being closed, and those children are sent to mainstream schools. They struggle and can’t get the education they need, so they slip behind.’

The best way forward, says Sumners, is a mixture of communication, which is what deaf teens increasingly use. ‘They may have hearing aids or cochlear implants, they may use some sign language and do some lip-reading. For years, the assumption was that the deaf were cognitively challenged, but being deaf just means you can’t hear; it says nothing about the rest of your abilities.’ 

Published in The Grand Charity
Tuesday, 08 December 2015 00:00

The history of the four masonic charities

A history of giving

We trace the origins of the four masonic charities that have come together to form the new Masonic Charitable Foundation

The four masonic charities have been integral to the Craft, providing crucial support to Freemasons, their families and the wider community. However, the existence of four separate organisations – each with its own distinct processes for providing support – hindered the development of a truly joined-up and consistent approach. After much consideration it has therefore been decided to launch a major new charity, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). From 1 April 2016, the Foundation will take over the work of the central masonic charities, providing a wide range of grants to Freemasons and their families who have a financial, health or care need. The Foundation will also award grants to other charities, medical research studies and disaster relief appeals. 

The Foundation will ensure that the masonic charitable support network, which has provided assistance for centuries, remains fit for purpose and able to adapt to the needs of new generations. As we look to the future, it is worth remembering how the current four charities have evolved and how, under the banner of the MCF, cradle-to-grave support will remain in place for Freemasons and their dependants.

The Freemasons’ Grand Charity

Soon after the Grand Master’s installation in 1967, he commissioned a review of the masonic charities. It recommended that a new central charity be established to contribute to society as a whole, befitting the importance and scale of English Freemasonry. In 1980, the Grand Charity was established. It also assumed responsibility for UGLE’s Board of Benevolence, whose origins were found in the first Committee of Charity of Grand Lodge, formed in 1725. 

With grants totalling more than £120 million, the Grand Charity has improved the lives of thousands of masons and their dependants, and has made extensive contributions to wider society, funding the causes that are important to members of the Craft. It has enabled Provinces to demonstrate their commitment to local communities through matched giving schemes, grants to The Scout Association and millions in hospice and Air Ambulance giving. Its multimillion-pound research funding has aided numerous medical breakthroughs. 

The Grand Charity has brought far-reaching benefits to masonic fundraising by establishing the Relief Chest Scheme to promote efficient and tax-effective giving. The Craft has saved thousands of pounds in administration costs and donations have been significantly increased through Gift Aid. The scheme has also enabled members to come together following worldwide disasters, funding recovery projects in devastated areas on behalf of Freemasonry as a whole. Indeed, £1 million was raised following the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Through the Grand Charity’s giving, thousands have felt the positive impact of masonic charity and over the past 35 years in particular, Freemasonry has increasingly been seen publicly as a philanthropic leader, supporting many great causes.

Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

From its origins as a school for girls, the RMTGB has worked for over 227 years to relieve poverty and advance the education of thousands of children from masonic families across the UK, as well as tens of thousands of children from wider society. The Trust has spent over £130 million on charitable support over the past 15 years alone.

In 1788, Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini established the Royal Cumberland Freemasons’ School for Female Objects, supporting 15 daughters of distressed or deceased Freemasons. A provision for boys was introduced soon after, and over the next 200 years the institutions’ schools expanded and relocated. Eventually, the boys’ school closed, the girls’ school became independent, and the trustees focused on supporting children at schools near their own homes. 

In 1982, the boys’ and girls’ institutions came together to form the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, later the RMTGB. 

Over time, the Trust moved from fixed financial grants to packages of support tailored to each family’s circumstances. Innovative schemes were also introduced for youngsters with specific talents and needs. 

The Trust’s support also extends beyond the masonic community. In 1988, £100,000 was awarded to Great Ormond Street Hospital, with major grants given ever since. Since the launch of the Stepping Stones non-masonic grant-making scheme in 2010, almost £1 million has been awarded to charities that aim to reduce the impact of poverty on education. The Trust also provides premises and support services for Lifelites, which equips children’s hospices across the British Isles with fun, assistive technology. Established as the Trust’s Millennium Project, Lifelites became an independent charity in 2006.

Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution

The RMBI cares for older Freemasons and their families, as well as people in the community. The history of the charity dates back to 1842 when UGLE inaugurated the Royal Masonic Benevolent Annuity Fund for men, followed by the Female Annuity Fund in 1849. The first home was opened the following year and the RMBI was officially established. In the early 1960s, provision was extended to non-annuitants and between 1960 and 1986, a further 13 homes were set up. The RMBI now provides a home for more than 1,000 people across England and Wales, while supporting many more.

At the heart of the RMBI is the commitment to deliver services that uphold an individual’s dignity. Its Experiential Learning training programme requires all new carers to complete a series of practical scenarios in order to better understand residents and has even received national news coverage for its unique approach. The RMBI is also recognised for its excellence in specialist dementia care services, which are increasingly in demand. Nine RMBI homes have been awarded Butterfly Service status, a national quality-of-life ‘kitemark’, by Dementia Care Matters

None of this could be achieved without a dedicated team, and an RMBI staff member recently received the Care Trainer Award at the 2015 Great British Care Awards in recognition of such commitment. The support and time given by each home’s Association of Friends is also a unique part of the RMBI. The associations – volunteer groups of local masons that work to complement resident services – are independently registered charities and their efforts over the years have ranged from fundraising for home minibuses and resident day trips, to sensory gardens and home entertainment.

Masonic Samaritan Fund

The Royal Masonic Hospital and its predecessor, the Freemasons’ Hospital and Nursing Home, had a Samaritan Fund to support masons and their families who could not afford the cost of private medical treatment. In 1990 the MSF was established to take on the role of this fund, and in its early years benefited from many very generous donations, including a grant from the Grand Charity, and the highly successful Cornwallis and London Festival appeals.

Thanks to the support of Freemasons and their families, the MSF has been able to expand the assistance it provides to cater for the evolving health and care needs of its beneficiaries. In addition to funding medical treatment or surgery, grants are available to support respite breaks for carers, to restore dental function, to aid mobility and to provide access to trained counsellors.

Since 2010 the MSF has provided grants to major medical research projects. Notable successes have included enhancing the diagnosis of prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s as well as support for those suffering from macular degeneration.  

Each year the MSF helps more masonic families fund the health and care support they need to live healthy and independent lives. Since 1990 more than 12,000 Freemasons and their family members have been helped at a total cost of over £67 million.

Funded entirely through the generous donations of the masonic community, the Masonic Charitable Foundation will seek to continue the excellent work of the central masonic charities and be able to respond more effectively to the changing needs of masonic families and other charitable organisations. For more information, go to www.mcf.org.uk

Timeline

Charting the history of the four masonic charities

1725   The premier Grand Lodge sets up the Committee of Charity

1788  The Royal Cumberland Freemasons’ School for Female Objects, named after the Duchess of Cumberland, is founded by Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini

1789  The first anniversary of the Royal Cumberland Freemasons’ School is celebrated with a church service and dinner. Collections are taken, making this the first fundraising ‘festival’ for a masonic charity

1798  Inspired by Ruspini’s achievements, William Burwood and the United Mariners Lodge establish a fund to support the sons of Freemasons

1814  Soon after the union of the Grand Lodges, the Committee of Charity joins with other committees relieving hardship among masons to become the Board of Benevolence

1850  The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) is established, and the first RMBI home opens in East Croydon 

1904  ‘Out-relief’ is introduced so that those not admitted to the masonic schools can receive grants to support their education elsewhere

1914  It is decided that the daughters of serving Freemasons who die or are incapacitated during WWI should receive a grant of £25 per year

1920  The Freemasons’ Hospital and Nursing Home opens

1933  The Royal Masonic Hospital opens at Ravenscourt Park

1934  The girls’ school moves to Rickmansworth Park. The school is officially opened by HM Queen Mary with 5,000 ladies and brethren in attendance

1966  Devonshire Court opens in Oadby, Leicestershire 

1967  Scarbrough Court opens in Cramlington, Northumberland

1968  Prince George Duke of Kent Court opens in Chislehurst, Kent

1971  Connaught Court opens in Fulford, York 

1973  The Bagnall Report recommends that the boys’ school is closed and that the girls’ school becomes independent 

1973  Lord Harris Court opens in Sindlesham, Berkshire, and Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court opens in Porthcawl, Mid Glamorgan

1977  Ecclesholme opens in Eccles, Manchester, and  The Tithebarn opens in Great Crosby, Liverpool

1979  Queen Elizabeth Court opens in Llandudno, Conwy

1980  The Grand Charity is established

1980  James Terry Court opens in Croydon, Surrey 

1981  Cornwallis Court opens in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

1982  The masonic institutions for girls and boys merge their activities to form the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys 

1983  Zetland Court opens in Bournemouth, Dorset 

1984  Grand Charity hospice support begins

1986  The Grand Charity establishes the Relief Chest Scheme

1986  Cadogan Court opens in Exeter, South Devon 

1990  The Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) is established, assisted by a £1.2 million grant from the Grand Charity  

1992  275th anniversary of Grand Lodge 

1992  The Grand Charity awards more than £2 million to charities that care for people with learning difficulties

1994  UGLE recommends that all masonic organisations adopt the Relief Chest Scheme

1994  Prince Michael of Kent Court opens in Watford, Hertfordshire

1994  The Cornwallis Appeal raises £3.2 million for the MSF

1995  Shannon Court opens in Hindhead, Surrey 

1996  Barford Court opens in Hove, East Sussex

1997  Total annual expenditure for Masonic Relief Grants exceeds £2 million for the first time

1998  Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court opens in Braintree, Essex

1999  To commemorate the millennium, the Grand Charity donates more than £2 million to good causes

1999  Lifelites is established by the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys as a Millennium Project to provide assistive and educational technology packages for children’s hospices across the British Isles

1999  The London Festival Appeal for the MSF raises £10.6 million

2000  Following the abolition of Local Authority student grants, the Trust establishes an undergraduate aid scheme to support disadvantaged young people at university. Almost 500 students are assisted during the first year of the scheme, rising to almost 1,000 by 2003

2001  The TalentAid scheme is introduced by the Trust to support young people with an exceptional talent in music, sport or the arts, with 75 supported in the first year

2003  The Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys becomes the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB)

2004  The Grand Charity donates £1 million for research into testicular and prostate cancers

2005  More than £1 million is donated by Freemasons and the Grand Charity to help with recovery efforts following the Asian tsunami

2006  Lifelites becomes a registered charity

2007  Special funding for Air Ambulances begins

2008  All four central masonic charities move into shared office space in Freemasons’ Hall, London

2008  The Grand Charity donates £500,000 to The Scout Association, enabling more than 23,000 young people to join, and £1 million to Ovarian Cancer Action

2008  Scarbrough Court reopens in Cramlington,  Northumberland (rebuilt on its original site)

2008  The MSF makes its first grant in support of medical research, and respite care grants are introduced

2010  Stepping Stones, the RMTGB’s non-masonic grant-making scheme, is introduced to support disadvantaged youngsters 

2010  MSF dental care grants are introduced

2013  James Terry Court reopens in Croydon, Surrey (rebuilt on its original site)

2013  The MSF Counselling Careline service launches

2015  Following a 30-year partnership, the Grand Charity’s grants to the British Red Cross now exceed £2 million

2015  The MSF marks its 25th anniversary by awarding over £1 million for medical research 

2016  The four masonic charities join together to form the Masonic Charitable Foundation

Letters to the Editor - No. Spring 2016

Sir,

I was surprised and delighted to see a photo in the winter 2015 edition of Freemasonry Today of a group of nurses at the Royal Masonic Hospital taken in 1958. The group includes my wife on the right at the end of the patient’s bed. I can still name several of the other nurses.

At the time, I was an undergraduate at Cambridge and I frequently travelled to see her at the hospital nurses’ home at Ravenscourt Park. I am pleased to say that we are still happily married after 53 years.

Tony Kallend, Isaac Newton University Lodge, No. 859, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Published in Freemasonry Cares

Lodge gets on board in Poole

A cheque for £1,000 has been presented to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in Poole from the Grand Charity Relief Chest of Public Schools Installed Masters’ Lodge, No. 9077. This donation was part of the Master’s List raised by the lodge during Lt Cdr James King’s year as lodge Master and was received by Will Collins, an RNLI employee and volunteer member of the Poole lifeboat. 

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