Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:33

year of gravity and celebration

Isaac Newton University Lodge, No. 859, decided that celebration of its 150-year history should be spread over much of 2011. Beginning in January, there was the first delivery of the 2011 Prestonian Lecture, as the lecturer was their Immediate Past Master, Dr James Campbell, a Senior Fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge.

In March, brethren from Apollo University Lodge No. 359 (Oxford) and Loge Robert de Sorbon (Paris) attended a meeting at Freemasons’ Hall, Cambridge, followed at the June meeting with a friends and family garden party. The celebration of the anniversary was held in July, at which the principal guest was the Deputy Grand Master, Jonathan Spence.

The prime purpose of the meeting was to make the substantial charitable donations that the lodge had decided should be the main way in which it celebrated its anniversary year.

The lodge has donated £1,000 for each year of its existence, with £50,000 going to the Grand Charity through the Provincial Festival, £50,000 to other masonic charities and £50,000 to a number of non-masonic charities drawn from suggestions and requests from lodge members.

Past Masters of the lodge presented cheques to the Assistant Grand Master, David Williamson, the Metropolitan Grand Master, Russell Race, and to the Presidents of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institute (RMBI), Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) and the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB).

The Provincial Grand Master received the cheque for his Festival on behalf of the Grand Charity.

Phase 1 of the re-build at RMBI care home James Terry Court, Croydon has been officially opened.

The event was attended by over 40 representatives from the Province of Surrey, the Association of Friends and the RMBI.

RMBI President Willie Shackell opened the event and welcomed all attendees. Willie spoke about the history of the RMBI which started in East Croydon with its first Home named Asylum for Worthy, Aged and Decayed Freemasons’ in 1850. He went on to explain why the re-build of James Terry Court was necessary as the original Home was looking tired and needed to adapt to the ever changing needs of older people.

Thanks were given by Willie Shackell to Dennis Vine who had overseen the development of the Home in his role as Co-opted Trustee, to the residents of the Home for their patience with the building works and to the staff for providing high quality care during the re-build. Julian Birch, Regional Property Operations Manager who sadly passed away in October was remembered for all his efforts in the re-build of the Home

The Association of Friends and the Province of Surrey, Metropolitan Grand Lodge and the Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight were also thanked for their generous and continued support of the Home and the RMBI.

Eric Stuart-Bamford, PGM of the Province of Surrey went on to speak about his appreciation and gratitude to Home Manager Di Collins and the staff at the Home for the services they provide to the residents. Mr Stuart-Bamford also recognised the support that the Association of Friends provide to the Home.

The event saw the official opening of the Lounge and Library by Eric Stuart-Bamford and also of the Therapy Room by Libby Stuart-Bamford. The Therapy Room was built using the generous donation provided by The Grand Stewards’ Lodge as part of their 275th anniversary celebrations.

Those present were given a tour of the new building and ended with canapés and refreshments.

Published in RMBI

Mrs Olive Pheasant, resident at RMBI care home Prince George Duke of Kent Court, Kent was the first prize lucky winner of an hour's flight in a two seater Chipmunk plane.

The flight took place earlier this month and Olive, 97 years old, made the short trip to Biggin Hill aerodrome in Westerham, Kent with her son and daughter-in-law along with a group of residents and staff members for support.

Olive said of the flight: "It was a nice long run and take off was so smooth that I didn't know I was flying until I saw all those lovely fields. I know that it is an old saying but it really was like a patchwork quilt. I couldn't help thinking how much lovely countryside we still have left; England is still a green and pleasant land."

Once back on dry land, Olive had said "there were no words" to describe how much she enjoyed the flight.

The raffle draw took place at the Home during their summer fayre. The first prize was kindly donated by Simon Tilling whose grandmother-in-law is a resident at the Home.

Published in RMBI

High quality care provision is a key priority for the RMBI and as such the RMBI conducts annual satisfaction surveys at all of its care homes to assess and measure the satisfaction levels of people who use its services.

The surveys are sent to both residents and their relatives/friends in order to gain a full picture of the effectiveness of the service provision at RMBI Homes.

To ensure confidentiality and encourage open feedback, the RMBI works with an independent company called Laing & Buisson. The results are then benchmarked to the care sector in order to gain an understanding of how the RMBI compares within the industry. Below is a summary of the results.

This year a total of 932 surveys were sent to RMBI residents with a response rate of 59% and 947 surveys were sent to relatives/friends of residents with an overall response rate of 49%. These response rates are high for a survey of this nature within the sector and a significant improvement to previous years surveys.


Both residents and relatives were asked a series of questions on different aspects of service provision and life within the Home, and were required to indicate whether or not they agreed with certain statements in order to demonstrate their satisfaction levels and whether they felt the service quality met their requirements.

The Home

This section of the survey sought to ascertain how satisfied people living at the Homes were with their living accommodation. Overall, residents responded positively and a high proportion of people were able to agree completely with the statements given in the questionnaire, indicating high levels of satisfaction. 91% of residents stated that they liked their room and over 90% stated that their room was private and that they felt safe and secure in the Home. Similar responses were also evident in the relatives survey and over 70% of relatives stated that their relative or friend settled in well at their chosen Home.

Food and Drink

Residents were asked about their experience of the catering provision at the Home. The answers to the questions in this section indicated there was room for improvement in the catering, especially around issues of:-

• Enjoyment of the food.

• The choice offered by the menus.

• The quality of the food.

• The temperature at which the food is served.


Encouragingly in this section of the survey it was found that 93% of residents felt that staff were polite to them and were helpful, and that staff listened to them – 90% and 80% respectively. These results prove that the people living in RMBI Homes are treated with dignity and respect, an ethos that is core to the RMBI. 88% of relatives and friends also felt that the staff at the Homes had a positive attitude to the residents and that the Management team were easily accessible. 93% of relatives were very satisfied with the responsiveness of staff to matters that concerned them.


Activities play an important role in the Homes and the scores in this section were above average. A high proportion of residents (76%) said that they knew what activities were going on in the Home and 57% felt that there were things to do throughout the day. The results also highlighted that 49% preferred organised activities and entertainment, whilst 45% liked to do things on their own.

The residents’ answers to these questions revealed that more could be done to encourage stimulation and it is certainly an area the RMBI will seek to improve in the coming months.

Help and Support

People’s responses to the questions in this section were very positive, again indicating high levels of satisfaction. 81% felt that they could talk to someone about their concerns and 80% felt that the staff involved them in the way they are cared for.

The number of residents who felt that they were involved in the way they are cared for is a huge increase to a similar question which was asked in previous years where less than 50% of residents agreed with this statement. This excellent result can be attributed to the considerable work that has taken place on the care planning process at all RMBI Homes. The way in which the care plans are now completed is more person centred and is used to deliver care. Furthermore relatives and friends of residents also stated that they were involved in the planning and delivery of the care provided to their relative/friend (85%).

A very high 73% of relatives felt that their relative/friend had the opportunity to live life as fully as possible in the care Home environment and again 73% said that they were satisfied with the way their relative or friend was being cared for.

Recommending RMBI Homes

Very encouragingly the results found that 91% of residents and relatives said that they would recommend their RMBI Home to someone else. This result clearly demonstrates that overall the people living in RMBI Homes and their relatives are very satisfied with the services provided.

Next steps

The satisfaction surveys are an important part of the RMBI’s quality assurance programme. The results from the surveys have been helpful in capturing the lived experience of people who use RMBI services and that of their relatives. The RMBI will continue to evaluate the results from the satisfaction surveys and will work with the Home Management teams to make sure that were areas of improvement have been identified these are thoroughly addressed and robust improvement plans are developed and implemented.

Published in RMBI
Thursday, 20 October 2011 09:49

The RMBI - Our Grand Designs

The RMBI continuously invest in their care homes to ensure that they meet government guidelines, legislation and the changing needs of older people. The RMBI also ensure that there is a consistent style in their Homes in order to create an environment for our residents.

Just over 18 months ago an Interior Design Manual was developed using the RMBI Corporate Identity guidelines as its foundation. This ensures that all RMBI Homes are refurbished to a consistent standard where the interior design is distinguishable and recognisable.

The Purpose of the Manual

The purpose of the Manual is to help provide an environment that suits all people living in RMBI Homes and to create an image that is welcoming and representative of the RMBI across all its Homes.

The Manual offers a series of options that the management staff at the RMBI can use to refurbish areas in the Homes, from furniture and curtain choices to wallpaper and flooring. This removes the temptation for a mix and match approach of personal tastes and helps to maintain a consistent style throughout.

As the RMBI's property portfolio ranges from listed and art deco buildings to purpose built care homes, the Manual was developed once a review was undertaken of all its properties. This was to ensure that colours and themes were selected that would enhance the buildings natural aesthetics and help to create more comfortable environments. This helps the RMBI management teams in choosing the right themes and colours to suit the building and most importantly the various types of care that is provided in different areas of the Homes.

A range of furniture and furnishings has also been selected on the basis of their high standard of quality, thus adding value to the Homes as well as ensuring that appropriate furniture is purchased to suit the varying needs of people living in our Homes.

Refurbishment at Homes

RMBI Homes have been going through major building and fire prevention works due to regulation changes. While this work has been in progress, the RMBI have taken the opportunity to carry out the refurbishments required at their care homes in line with the Manual, resulting in minimal disruption for the people living in the Homes.

Reception areas at care homes Cadogan Court in Exeter, Ecclesholme in Manchester, Lord Harris Court in Berkshire and Prince George Duke of Kent Court in Kent, have been upgraded to allow more space, natural light and seating areas and to form a more consistent image of a welcome area in RMBI Homes.

A previously unused section of Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court in Mid Glamorgan has been refurbished to provide 10 bedrooms with ensuite facilities in the form of wet rooms. In addition, the lounge, dining room and kitchen areas have also been refurbished, all in line with the Manual.

Prince George Duke of Kent Court in Kent, has also recently had its hairdressing suite upgraded and modernised to ensure that treatments are provided in pleasant and relaxing surroundings.

Queen Elizabeth Court in Llandudno, has had lounge areas and communal areas in the nursing wing refurbished in line with the Manual. This has given a new lease of life to the areas, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that is suitable for the nursing care provided.

Connaught Court in York, is currently undergoing some major works to enhance the aesthetics of the Home as well as providing newly refurbished areas such as the new dementia zone area.

 James Terry Court opens its doors

Phase 1 of the rebuild of James Terry Court, Croydon opened this autumn. Phase 1 is furnished using the Manual to ensure consistency and a high standard of furnishings.

Published in RMBI

RMBI care home James Terry Court in Croydon is currently being rebuilt on site with Phase 1, the East Wing, now complete.

Home Manager Diane Collins received the keys along with resident William Gibbs who is a retired chartered surveyor and staff member Eileen Whiteman who has worked at the Home for 22 years.

The new East Wing facilities will provide up to 47 bed-sitting rooms with large communal areas. It will include full ensuite wet rooms and ceiling hoists in large spacious bedrooms which exceed the Government minimum requirements.

Phase 2 of the build will involve the rebuild of the West Wing. It will provide a further 28 bedrooms and will also include remodeling and refurbishing of the Home's main building to provide assisted living flats, where people can live independently with the full knowledge that care is available nearby.

The Home will provide residential, nursing and dementia care and will boast new dining facilities, health & beauty room and reception. The work has been phased, so that the current 39 residents face minimum disruption during the building works.

Published in RMBI
Thursday, 20 October 2011 09:24

RMBI care home celebrates 25 years

RMBI care home Cadogan Court, Exeter has celebrated its 25th birthday.

The celebrations included champagne on arrival, a buffet lunch and a birthday cake as well as individual cupcakes for individuals.

Residents and relatives were joined at the event by Lord Cadogan who presented awards to long serving members of staff, representatives from Somerset, Devon and Cornwall Provinces, the Association of Friends of Cadogan Court and senior members from the RMBI.

The event was enjoyed by all.

Published in RMBI

Good friends and neighbours

The Friends of the RMBI charity ball raised £35,000 for the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution's The Good Neighbour Fund

With the ball held in June at the Grange Hotel in London, a cheque was presented to the President of the RMBI, Brigadier Willie Shackell, by Grand Secretary and President of the Friends of the RMBI, Nigel Brown.

The Friends of the RMBI was formed in 1973 with an annual charity ball to provide extra funds for Thee Good Neighbour Fund. Over the years it has raised more than £550,000.

Published in RMBI
Friday, 16 September 2011 17:15


Berkshire Freemasons have broken a new record, raising £2,276,000 over a five-year period – the highest amount per member ever recorded for aN RMBI festival.


The grand total - vastly exceeding the initial £1.5 million target - was announced at a dinner at Ascot Racecourse to mark the end of the 2011 Festival. The event was attended by 520 guests, including Assistant Grand Master David Williamson and Festival President Michael Hooton. The RMBI is immensely grateful for the support of the Festival, which will enable it to continue and develop its important work.

Published in RMBI
Friday, 16 September 2011 16:24


Cumberland and Westmorland masons were in fighting form when they raised £8,000 to aid the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI).

The Province’s first organised charity event in support of its 2016 Festival saw The Shepherds Inn in Carlisle transformed to accommodate a central boxing ring, complete with ringside tables.

The evening included a fabulous Cumberland roast-beef dinner, followed by 14 bouts of amateur boxing, while Provincial Stewards ran a tote, an auction and a very successful raffle for the RMBI.
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