‘Freemasonry Cares’

Launch in East Kent of UGLE Charities’ Initiative




On Saturday the 4th of June the Central Masonic Charities’ Freemasonry Cares initiative was rolled out in East Kent at Maidstone’s Tovil centre.

The Provincial Grand Almoner, Michael Gee, had invited each lodge Almoner to attend this special presentation and the Provincial Grand Master, Michael Bailey, welcomed everyone, particularly Laura Chapman, the CEO of the Freemasons’ Grand Charity, and then briefly outlined the purpose of the initiative and his wish that all those in attendance report back to their brethren.

Laura Chapman explained that Freemasonry Cares is a joint initiative of the Central Masonic Charities (The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and the Masonic Samaritan Fund) to raise awareness of the help available to Freemasons and their dependants. The Charities are regularly told that there are individuals who would benefit from their support but whom, for any of a wide variety of reasons, are not receiving it. These include a lack of awareness of the existence of the Charities, poor understanding of the full range of support available, and not knowing how to access the support they need.

The scheme seeks to make it easy for everyone to access relevant information quickly when the need arises. Trials in four Provinces have demonstrated that this can be done. There is no intention to bypass the lodge or Provincial Grand Almoner, normally the first points of call; rather it is intended to establish quickly and quietly whether help can be provided and to identify the correct charity and course of action. It is particularly aimed at brethren or dependants who have lost touch with their Lodges or are reluctant, for one reason or another, to talk too openly about their circumstances. In most cases, if initial contact establishes that there are grounds to proceed, the petitioner will be referred back to their lodge Almoner and/or the Provincial Almoner for action in the usual way. As always, these Almoners are available as sources of advice at any point and potential applicants may prefer to deal directly with them from the outset.

Applications can be made directly via a free-phone number or contact through the Freemasonry Cares website with an e-mail address. Every member in the Province will be given a card with these details. Those Almoners who were unable to attend should contact the Provincial Almoner to arrange for distribution of their cards.

A short film, which demonstrates the benefits of the initiative, was shown. It gives four real-life examples of how Freemasonry Cares has supported applicants through various financial, healthcare and family related crises. It will be made available to all lodge Almoners to help them in explaining the initiative to their members.

Michael Bailey strongly recommended that each Lodge, during the course of the new season, have a White Table evening with a similar (but smaller scale) presentation by the lodge Almoner. If required, support can be given by the Provincial Almoner’s Team.

Michael Gee said “It is crucial to the success of this initiative that the message gets across to wives and partners and that every Initiate receives one of the information cards as part of his welcome into Freemasonry”.

The meeting concluded with a lively question and answer session, ably dealt with by the Provincial Grand Master, the Provincial Grand Almoner and Laura Chapman.

22 June 2011