Technology boost for the blind
Henshaws Society for Blind People has received a £50,000 grant from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity to support its assistive technology programme across its college and centres in Manchester, Merseyside, Harrogate, Knaresborough and Newcastle.
The society gives expert support and training to anyone affected by sight loss and other disabilities, and the grant will help to provide a wireless network at its college, as well as broadband in the community houses. The funds will also subsidise the salary of the assistive technology coordinator over three years. Henshaws’ chief executive, Nick Marr, said, ‘The support committed by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity will make a huge difference to the lives of our college students.’
Sir David Trippier, East Lancashire Provincial Grand Master, said, ‘I am delighted that we are supporting Henshaws. It is a wonderful college.’
Helping Freemasons and their dependants to access the financial, healthcare and family support available to them from the masonic charities, Freemasonry Cares was the subject of a joint forum meeting. It was presented by the Province of East Lancashire to almoners, charity stewards and invited guests, including the Grand Charity’s chief executive Laura Chapman, RMBI chairman James Newman and Ecclesholme RMBI home manager and warden Bev Niland.
Laura spoke of the financial and other help available to Freemasons and their dependants, while James presented the structure of the RMBI, including Festival funding, and offered assistance regarding accommodation in the homes should it be required. The event was supported by Provincial Grand Master Sir David Trippier.
A friend in need
The RMBI needs continuous financial support to carry out its invaluable work
The RMBI helps around 400 older Freemasons and their dependants each year, supporting people who are unable to pay full care fees. Whether they have run out of personal savings or receive local authority support that covers only part of the total cost of their care, the RMBI can make up the shortfall, providing charitable support to the value of around £5 million a year.
Most of this amount is received from the funds raised by RMBI festivals, as well as through generous donations from individuals and voluntary groups. This invaluable financial support ensures that they are able to continue helping those in need.
Recent outstanding contributions include the very successful Walk the Province initiative that was set up as part of the East Lancashire 2015 RMBI Festival, which many local masons have participated in. The festival has raised over £1 million for the RMBI and hopes to exceed this over the coming years.
The Friends of the RMBI is a small group of Freemasons who, for over 30 years, have been raising money specifically for the Good Neighbour Fund, and through their efforts, and the generosity of the fraternity, have raised £565,392 to date. The Fund is used primarily to provide holidays for recipients of a relief grant from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. It can also be used on a discretionary basis to assist those in immediate need.
During his year as President of the Friends of the RMBI, Buckinghamshire Provincial Grand Master Gordon Robertson has seen donations to the charity reach a record £50,000.
He explained: ‘Our role has been to encourage members to organise events and inspire everyone to be as generous as possible. This fantastic amount will enable the fund to continue to help those whose lives have been changed in many ways.’
East Lancashire Province is doing a great job of raising money for the 2015 RMBI Festival thanks to Freemasons Steve Grummett and Ryan Yates. Steve will be completing the Three Peaks Challenge over the weekend of 22-24 June 2012. This involves tackling the three highest peaks in the home nations: Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales.
Meanwhile, Ryan will be completing a 12-mile assault course set by UK ex-Special Forces members. Participants need to run, swim, climb, crawl, and have to suffer being electrocuted and burned along the way. As a serving soldier with two tours of Afghanistan behind him we are sure that he is up to the challenge.
Freemasons pay tribute to retiring Grand Charity president Grahame Elliott’s ‘dedication and vision’, while welcoming his successor, Richard M Hone
Grahame Elliott, CBE, retired as president of the Grand Charity on 25 April 2012, and has been succeeded by Richard Hone, QC. The new president first joined the Council of the Grand Charity in 1997, initially serving for nine years during which time he was chairman of the Finance Committee and was instrumental in bringing about a major revision of the charity’s constitution. After a gap of five years, Richard’s re-appointment in June 2011 was much welcomed by the other council members. Initiated in Apollo University Lodge in 1968, he is a senior circuit judge at the Central Criminal Court in London.
Grahame Elliott has served on the council for the past nine years, the first three as a member appointed by the Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire, whose Province held the charity’s festival in 2004.
As president, Grahame has led the charity with much dedication and vision. He has joined with the other presidents of the central masonic charities to develop a closer working relationship, made easier by the charities’ move into Freemasons’ Hall. The Council of the Grand Charity wishes both Richard Hone and Grahame Elliott much success for the future.