From the Provincial Grand Almoner

There has never been a time since the Second World War when the Almoner’s role has been so important. He is the linchpin of the Lodge to keep in contact with all the membership and widows by phone to give pastoral assistance, if required, or just a general chat. As I have quoted before, you are all assistant Almoners and helping the Lodge Almoner to keep in contact with each other. I know of at least two Lodge Almoners that have been struck down themselves with the virus, so who rings the Almoner when he is ill? Therefore, please keep in contact with each other – remember we are a ‘column of mutual defence and support’!

If you do find that a Brother, widow or dependant require additional support, please email me at hertsprovgalmoner@gmail.com. Even if you think it is a minor issue and are not sure we can help, we have the MCF’s Advice and Support team that I can put you in contact with.

Brethren, as long as we abide by the Government’s guidelines, I am sure we will start to get back to some normality and will meet once again on the square and our fellowship will be stronger.

MCF Update

Whilst the team of Visiting Volunteers (VV) and the Advice and Support team (AST) are unable to make home visits to support our membership and dependants, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is still operating, albeit the staff are working remotely, and support is available. There was a recent update published by the MCF as follows:

DLE and Emergency Grants: We have increased the speed and responsiveness of our emergency grants by delegating authority to Team Leaders to authorise small amounts. More significant emergency grants are still available in the most urgent cases.

IT equipment: support is available for essential IT equipment to support the education and wellbeing of children or grandchildren of Freemasons with more than one child; including those of primary school age.

Medical: We are no longer accepting applications for medical treatment, except for cancer care, urgent cardiac care and urgent ophthalmic care. Any person making an enquiry about other forms of medical treatment will be asked to contact us at a later date to complete an application once capacity in the private sector increases and travel restrictions have been lifted.

Mobility equipment: We are no longer able to accept applications for mobility equipment that require an assessment by an occupational therapist.

Generic items of mobility equipment from Performance Health may be considered if it is possible to deliver them safely. Such items are/include:

  • Rise and recline chairs
  • Profiling beds

Applicant-sourced mobility equipment may be considered following a telephone/email assessment if the applicant can arrange for direct home delivery. In these instances, we will reimburse any pre-agreed costs.

Respite care: RMBI remains open for admissions and respite care if there are beds available

Counselling care line: Telephone counselling continues to be provided, but there may be a longer than usual wait for an initial assessment.

The MCF freephone helpline number is 0800 035 6090 or, preferably at this current time, you can email help@mcf.org.uk. Please note, there may be a longer than usual wait for a reply or response.

Simon Cooper
Provincial Grand Almoner