The local care officer for the Blackpool Group, Peter Mann gets asked a lot of questions about what Freemasonry charities do and what help is available to brethren and their families. Listed below is a brief outline of what is available from the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and the other four main Masonic charities.
The West Lancashire Freemason’s Charity
If you are or have been a Freemason in West Lancashire or are a widow, child or dependant of a West Lancashire Freemason and are in need of financial assistance, our charity may be able to help. You can start the process either by contacting the almoner of the lodge, someone you know who is a Freemason or by contacting the charity direct.
Keeping costs low means that there is more to give to those in need. Freemasonry is fortunate in having a team of Masons who give freely of their time performing all those functions needed to provide advice, process applications and assess needs. We appreciate that seeking help when you are in need can be embarrassing and stressful but you can be assured that your application will be dealt with sympathetically and discretely.
Every application that is received is carefully considered. We provide assistance where our criteria are met. Unfortunately we may be unable to help in every case but don’t let that put you off. If you don’t apply, you won’t receive anything.
The Masonic Samaritan Fund
The Masonic Samaritan Fund is concerned with health issues. Grants are available to assist with the following:
The cost of surgery, where there is an unacceptable delay through NHS.
Dental treatment where there is an unacceptable delay through NHS.
Respite care, so that carers can have a break.
The supply of disability equipment, after applying to government agencies has failed or there is an unacceptable waiting time.
Financial support for any modifications in the home, necessary to meet a disability requirement.
The Freemason’s Grand Charity
The charity will provide financial assistance to Masons, widows and partners of Masons as well as a dependant of a deceased Mason who was financially supported during the Mason’s life.
This may take the form of:
Financial grants for everyday expenses.
Funeral costs to support a State grant.
Emergency costs for repairs.
The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys
This Charity provides the following assistance:
Financial support for childrens’ education.
Talent aid to assist gifted children in realising their talents. The supply of student accommodation in London.
The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution
Caring for the elderly, the RMBI covers the operation and running of two Masonic nursing homes in West Lancashire and a further 16 homes throughout England and Wales, with various levels of nursing. Through a team of RMBI care advisors, it also offers care advice to those living at home.
We all hope that we will not have to face financial hardship or major health problems; need help supporting our children or require extra care in our old age. In reality thousands of people every year need a little extra assistance. We, as Freemasons, are fortunate to have that support at hand. The newly launched “Freemasonry Cares” is there to make sure Freemasons and their dependants, in need of support, get it.
Criteria to be met:
You must have a Masonic connection.
You must have a need within the charities’ guidelines.
You must meet the financial criteria of the relevant charity.
So how do you get help? First speak to your lodge almoner, or contact Freemasonry Cares on their Freephone 0800 035 60 90 for advice which is manned Monday to Friday between 10.00am and 3.00pm or you can leave a message outside of these hours.
This initiative provides a unique opportunity to make sure those who, in the past, may not have been well versed in the existence or operation of our Masonic charities (especially wives, partners and widows of Masons) are now brought up to date with the help available to them.