Globe and Laurel Lodge 4657

Globe and Laurel


Masonic News and Initiatives



UGLE

Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Mon, 27 Jan 2020 15:27:20 +0000

United Grand Lodge of England seeks a Social Media Executive

United Grand Lodge of England seeks a Social Media Executive. You will be responsible for helping the Communications and Marketing Team implement a new social media strategy within the United Grand Lodge of England

The United Grand Lodge of England – the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales – is entering an exciting new phase in its 300-year history as it seeks to change the perception of Freemasonry and encourage the public to see modern Freemasonry through its core values of Friendship, Charity, Respect and Integrity. In order to achieve this the Communications and Marketing team is seeking to attract some talented, dedicated, creative and outstanding individuals to join its team. The team’s expertise will cover all areas of communications including, corporate communications, public relations, social media, marketing, member communications, publications and events. We work on a campaign basis so you need to be a team player, as you will work closely with your colleagues, other departments and our 200,000 members. Freemasons raise £44m in charitable donations and give 5 million hours of volunteer time a year – so there is a lot to shout about – and much to be proud of. If you are looking for a new challenge, which will positively change your career, then look no further than a position at the United Grand Lodge of England.

Duties:

  • To work closely with the existing team and key partners to deliver a creative social media strategy that engages UGLE’s members and members of the public by showcasing the benefits of Freemasonry across all of its social media channels (YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Podcasts)
  • To successfully assess and report back to the impact of both the new social media strategy and specific campaigns. You will have strong relationship building skills and the ability to work, and positively influence, key stakeholders across the business
  • To be a key influencer internally and be able to confidently showcase the power of social media to key stakeholders in the business
  • To stay up-to-date with the latest online and digital trends and to implement these ideas into the social media strategy
  • Confidently handle any front of house/customer social media enquiries - dealing with them in a timely manner and show confidence in the scheduling, composing and posting of all group wide social media content
  • To set company-wide best practice guidance of social media and train others where necessary

Must have skills:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, enabling you to work with colleagues co-operatively and collaboratively in the team and across the organisation
  • You will have strong relationship building skills and the ability to work, and positively influence, key stakeholders across the business
  • You will have a flexible approach both to the type of work undertaken and working hours as required to meet team objectives and ultimately customer needs, taking ownership and responsibility for work and performance
  • You will demonstrate a positive ‘can do’ attitude and excellent work ethic. In addition, you will be able to demonstrate resilience and present yourself in a professional manner at all times
  • You will have excellent copywriting and creative skills and be able to quickly grasp how the businesses requirements can translate into outstanding social media campaigns
  • You will have experience in a social media role as well as experience in establishing a social media strategy and managing and implementing results orientated social media campaigns
  • Experience in managing the social media profile of either a CEO or director is desirable
  • Knowledge of Photoshop or creation of video content is desirable

Salary:

Competitive salary plus the following benefits package:

BUPA private medical cover
Pension (3.5% employee & 9% employer contributions – increasing to 12%)
Life Assurance
Holiday (25 days increasing to 30 days)
Interest free season ticket loan
Gym membership (subsidised)
Employee Assistance Programme
Flexible working

Hours:

This is a full time role so the successful applicant will work Monday to Friday 35 hours per week.

Application details:

To apply please send your CV and covering letter to: Elizabeth Gay - Director of HR - United Grand Lodge of England via email to egay@ugle.org.uk

CVs received without a covering letter will not be considered.

Closing date for applications is close of business on Friday 24 January 2020.


Published Fri, 17 Jan 2020 12:26:47 +0000

Pro Grand Master's address - December 2019

Quarterly Communication

11 December 2019 
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes

Brethren. If you look up, you will see one of the finest mosaics in London. It took Italian craftsmen 10 man-years to create and, like so much of our Craft, it is laden with symbols, allegory and meaning. But look more closely, especially in the South-West and you will see that all is not quite as it should be. Cracks have been appearing over the last few years. Tesserae have fallen, and the Grand Superintendent of Work’s brow has furrowed, but he informs me that you are not in immediate danger!

After extensive research, chemical analysis, ultrasounds, X-Rays, thermal studies, endoscopies, not to mention all manner of expert opinion, we are now able to confidently conclude that we have no idea why. We do know the many things that are not responsible for these cracks, and contrary to scurrilous rumour, hot air from this chair has nothing whatsoever to do with it, but pinning down the exact cause has proved elusive. Take a good look Brethren because in a few weeks’ time, it will be shrouded in scaffolding, and for the first time in nearly a hundred years, men, and probably women, will begin work on restoring it to its former splendour.

We recently heard from the Grand Superintendent of Works about his role within the organisation and some of the work being done by his team to ensure that not only this building, but all of our masonic halls up and down the country are up to scratch. A huge amount of work has been put into producing the Masonic Halls Guide, available in the members’ section of the UGLE website, to provide a ‘Best Practice’ guide to help Lodges and Provinces improve their Halls and meeting places, and how they are managed.

I was recently told of a Lodge in Cambridgeshire (Stone Cross) which has transformed its own hall from a rather dingy affair to something the whole community can be proud of.  Members, under the guidance of more expert Craftsmen – also members of that Lodge – have spent weekends, and time over consecutive summers to transform it into a venue that they can all look forward to using – and it has made a huge difference to the first impressions and attendance of new members. 

As we actively seek out new members to join us, we should ensure that we are examining what it is that we would expect them to find – not just in the physical spaces we occupy, but in our Lodges too.

Many of us find a great deal of fulfilment in volunteering and giving of our time for the benefit of the community at large. We will shortly be sending out a survey to estimate just how great an impact we, as Freemasons have within our local communities – our last estimate was that our members contribute over 5 million hours volunteering for worthy causes.

We must be unique as an organisation in that we have premises embedded in almost every community in the Country. Just as we draw our members from all walks of life and all backgrounds, so our halls are found in village and cities, in areas rich and poor. Over the next few months, the Communications Working Party of the Board, made up of Provincial Grand Masters from each region of the country, will be looking at what we might do to raise our profile by putting these to better use – not only for ourselves, but also for those communities from which we are drawn. What does your Hall say about you, and the wider organisation, to a person seeing it for the first time and, indeed, to that potential new member, or that member of public giving blood, being screened, or just looking around?

Many of our Halls are both precious and beautiful; some, cracking a little around the edges and in need of loving care. But I’m sure, Brethren, we all feel like that at times. Let us remember that we are custodians not just of the Craft and its heritage and traditions, but also those meeting places which have, for generations, inspired our members.

I wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas period and I look forward to seeing you again in the New Year.


Published Wed, 11 Dec 2019 11:51:18 +0000

Winter 2019 column - Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe E Dr David Staples

From the Grand Secretary & Grand Scribe E

At the September Quarterly Communications, the Pro Grand Master’s address spoke of the importance of teamwork in governing and managing Freemasonry. UGLE has traditionally been a federal amalgamation of ‘city states’, each ruled by a Provincial or District Grand Master, whose patents were granted by the Most Worshipful Grand Master. It was not uncommon, in decades past, for those chosen few to be given their patent and told to ‘get on with it’, but with very little instruction or guidance as to what the ‘it’ either was or entailed. 

We like to think that we are more enlightened now, and take some time and effort to explain what we think a Provincial or District Ruler might want to consider, and what the Rulers and Board/Committee of General Purposes think their priorities should be when taking up their important office. 

It will not surprise you to learn that membership and communications are very high up on that list, and as UGLE evolves to meet the challenges of our very different world, so this old system must evolve to ensure consistency of message and image across our organisation as a whole. 

We have also come to realise that the ‘Bright Ideas Club’ at the centre may not have all of the answers, and initiatives rolled out with little or no consultation with our membership or their leaders are unlikely to be successful in the longer term, if at all. 

Lord Northampton, as Pro Grand Master, set up a system of Regional Communication Groups which divided the Provinces into nine geographical clusters, and which provided a means for Provincial Rulers in each group to meet regularly and exchange ideas on matters of import. Under Sir David Wootton, these assumed a greater sense of purpose, with the representation of each integrated into the Improvement Delivery Group, with its remit to deliver the 2020 strategy conceived five years ago. Now, under Geoffrey Dearing, they form the backbone of our ability to consult with the Provinces and to set the agenda and direction of the organisation with strong representation on both the Membership Working Party and the Communications Working Party of the Board. 

Both groups have a wide remit to shape the direction the organisation will take, and their influence will be wide ranging. They are no paper tigers, and are considering questions which will affect each and every one of us as Freemasonry evolves into a more transparent, accountable and respected organisation within the public consciousness.

The representatives on these various committees can, of course, accomplish nothing without the hard work and dedication of the teams that support them – making it vital that those team members have the ability, enthusiasm and professional capabilities and knowledge to deliver what is needed. Professional expertise is by no means short in an organisation such as ours, and Provincial leaders are well used to tapping into the potential of their membership to fulfil important roles within the Province. What perhaps is changing is the willingness to recognise that many individuals are much busier in their family and work lives than perhaps their predecessors were. As such, those who are less senior within Freemasonry and less experienced are finding themselves working on major Provincial portfolios while balancing very busy lives. 

We should not shy away from using the talent that we have within our ranks. Neither should we shy away from altering the way ‘things have always been done’ to allow those individuals to flourish and to serve. It is inconceivable that the Provincial Grand Masters and Grand Superintendents of the future will be able to dedicate the time and effort to Freemasonry that perhaps some of their predecessors have managed, without detriment to their family or personal connections. Their teams around them become of paramount importance if the organisation as a whole is to grow and develop. Similarly, if we want leaders who are truly exceptional and able to carry the organisation forward, we must be willing to accommodate the many other things that will call on their time – not least their greater involvement in the running of the ‘Centre’.

We will do our bit here at UGLE to listen to those ideas coming out of the Provinces, and to ensure that others can benefit from them; to ensure that ‘best practice’ is shared, such as the membership initiatives in Bristol and the communications strategies of Buckinghamshire and Cheshire. 

We will also continue to listen to you, our members, paying heed to what you think is important, and what our priorities should be for the years ahead.

Dr David Staples
Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe E

‘If we want leaders who are truly exceptional and able to carry the organisation forward, we must be willing to accommodate the many other things that will call on their time’


Published Fri, 06 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Admin Assistant

This position has now closed

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Admin Assistant for the Development Department

To support the Development Department including acting as required as a liaison with all other departments in Freemasons' Hall, Directors, London, Provinces, Districts, Members of Grand Master's Council, Board of General Purposes, Committee of General Purposes, Masons and Non-Masons.

Provide support to the Deputy Grand Secretary, Assistant Grand Secretary and the Development Department.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Assist the Department with the administration, organisation and distribution of papers for authorising new Lodges/Chapters, Centenaries, Bi-Centenaries, Warrants/Charters of Confirmation, Centenary Warrants/Charters of Confirmation, Enfacements, Representatives, Amalgamations, Appointments of ProvGM, DistGM, GSupt, GI.
  • Assist the Department with the administration, organisation and distribution of papers for the Grand Master's Council, Board of General Purposes, Committee of General Purposes, Audit Committee and the GMCCC Advisory Group.
  • Assist the Department with the administrative procedures dealing with appointments to and promotions in Grand Rank and the administrative procedures dealing with appointments to Overseas ranks.
  • Assist the Department as required with the administration, organisation and distribution of Acting Grand Officers’ Jewels.
  • Responsible for the administration of Expenses for the Universities Scheme and other expenses as directed.
  • Ensuring that filing systems are kept up to date and easily accessible.
  • Assist the Department as required with managing incoming and outgoing mail for the Deputy Grand Secretary and Assistant Grand Secretary, Director of Development.
  • Assist, as needed, with the appointments diary of the Deputy Grand Secretary and Assistant Grand Secretary, Director of Development.
  • Assist with administration functions for the Deputy Grand Secretary and Assistant Grand Secretary, Director of Development.
  • Assist with managing administrative aspects of online board portals (e.g. Boardvantage) as directed.
  • Support the Department as required with the administration and distribution of papers for the Pro Grand Master's Dinner.
  • Archiving relevant documentation.
  • Assist other members of staff with Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter and any other meetings held. General telephone enquiries.

Salary:

Competitive salary and benefits package:

  • BUPA private medical cover
  • Pension (3.5% employee & 9% employer contributions – increasing to 12% with length of service)
  • Life Assurance
  • Holiday (25 days increasing to 30 days with length of service)
  • Interest free season ticket loan
  • Gym membership (subsidised)
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Flexible working

Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.


Published Tue, 26 Nov 2019 12:17:00 +0000

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Administrator (1 year FTC)

This position has now closed

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Administrator for the Member Services Department for a one year fixed term contract

The duties and responsibilities will be many and varied, but will be to administer and assist in maintaining the membership records within the Registration Department of Member Services.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Inputting membership data into the Membership database and corresponding with internal and external individuals.
  • Check quality and accuracy of Membership Certificates and send out using mail merge.
  • Keep a record of all Membership Certificates returned for amendment or alteration and endorse as necessary in accordance with Office procedures.
  • Responding to queries/requests in a timely and professional manner.
  • Answering telephone enquiries promptly and courteously.
  • Assisting with the preparation and mailing out of various documents as required on a monthly basis.
  • Assist with opening of post on a daily basis.
  • File forms and items of correspondence accurately and numerically.
  • Carry out any ad hoc duties as may be requested by his/her Line Manager which are considered to be within his/her skill and competence and within the context of the job title.

Salary:

Competitive salary and benefits package:

  • BUPA private medical cover
  • Pension (3.5% employee & 9% employer contributions)
  • Life Assurance
  • Holiday (25 days)
  • Interest free season ticket loan
  • Gym membership (subsidised)• Employee Assistance Programme
  • Flexible working

Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.


Published Tue, 26 Nov 2019 12:16:58 +0000

United Grand Lodge of England seeks a Social Media Executive

This position has now closed

The United Grand Lodge of England – the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales – is entering an exciting new phase in its 300-year history as it seeks to change the perception of Freemasonry and encourage the public to see modern Freemasonry through its core values of Friendship, Charity, Respect and Integrity

In order to achieve this the Communications and Marketing team is seeking to attract some talented, dedicated, creative and outstanding individuals to join its team. The team’s expertise will cover all areas of communications including, corporate communications, public relations, social media, marketing, member communications, publications and events. We work on a campaign basis so you need to be a team player, as you will work closely with your colleagues, other departments and our 200,000 members. Freemasons raise £44m in charitable donations and give 5 million hours of volunteer time a year – so there is a lot to shout about – and much to be proud of. If you are looking for a new challenge, which will positively change your career, then look no further than a position at the United Grand Lodge of England.

The United Grand Lodge of England seeks a Social Media Executive. You will be responsible for helping the Communications and Marketing Team implement a new social media strategy within the United Grand Lodge of England.

Duties:

  • To work closely with the existing team and key partners to deliver a creative social media strategy that engages UGLE’s members and members of the public by showcasing the benefits of Freemasonry across all of its social media channels (YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Podcasts)
  • To successfully assess and report back to the impact of both the new social media strategy and specific campaigns. You will have strong relationship building skills and the ability to work, and positively influence, key stakeholders across the business
  • To be a key influencer internally and be able to confidently showcase the power of social media to key stakeholders in the business
  • To stay up-to-date with the latest online and digital trends and to implement these ideas into the social media strategy
  • Confidently handle any front of house/customer social media enquiries - dealing with them in a timely manner and show confidence in the scheduling, composing and posting of all group wide social media content
  • To set company-wide best practice guidance of social media and train others where necessary

Must have skills

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, enabling you to work with colleagues co-operatively and collaboratively in the team and across the organisation
  • You will have strong relationship building skills and the ability to work, and positively influence, key stakeholders across the business
  • You will have a flexible approach both to the type of work undertaken and working hours as required to meet team objectives and ultimately customer needs, taking ownership and responsibility for work and performance
  • You will demonstrate a positive ‘can do’ attitude and excellent work ethic. In addition, you will be able to demonstrate resilience and present yourself in a professional manner at all times
  • You will have excellent copywriting and creative skills and be able to quickly grasp how the businesses requirements can translate into outstanding social media campaigns
  • You will have experience in a social media role as well as experience in establishing a social media strategy and managing and implementing results orientated social media campaigns
  • Experience in managing the social media profile of either a CEO or director is desirable
  • Knowledge of Photoshop or creation of video content is desirable

Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.


Published Thu, 21 Nov 2019 16:33:45 +0000

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Administrator for the Member Services department

This position has now closed

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Administrator for the Member Services Department

To manage, collate and process membership information from Lodges and Chapters and to provide clerical and administrative support. The role will be part of the District Support team with the opportunity for work in other areas within Member Services.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Deal with telephone and email enquiries that are received by District Support promptly and courteously.
  • Process letters and replies in accordance with office procedures and, if required, enter into further correspondence with Districts, Lodge & Chapters.
  • Support the Member Services Department to process Annual Returns and Registration Forms for Lodges and Chapters in accordance with Office procedures.
  • Use Electronic Records Management System (EDRMS) to scan and file forms.
  • Prepare and issue Annual Returns on a monthly basis.
  • Process, where applicable, applications for Grand Lodge Certificates (completing a candidate's record in system).
  • Research membership records and supply the relevant membership details as and when requested.
  • Contribute to the identification of opportunities to engage and support Districts with events and training hosted here at UGLE.
  • Support the coordination, planning and preparation of District events and training throughout the year.
  • Manage invitations and responses for District events hosted at Great Queen Street.
  • Liaise with District contacts to help coordinate events and conferences taking place overseas when required.
  • Work in partnership with other UGLE departments to ensure events run efficiently.
  • Promote and maintain effective working relationships with Districts.
  • Help create and maintain District fact files for the Member Services Department.
  • Contribute to the provision of content for inclusion in the District Bulletin, The Right Angle and social media platforms used by UGLE.

*Masonic knowledge whilst not essential would be desirable.

Salary:

Competitive salary and benefits package:

  • BUPA private medical cover
  • Pension (3.5% employee & 9% employer contributions – increasing to 12% with length of service)
  • Life Assurance
  • Holiday (25 days increasing to 30 days with length of service)
  • Interest free season ticket loan
  • Gym membership (subsidised)
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Flexible working

Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.


Published Mon, 18 Nov 2019 16:25:35 +0000

The world's oldest social network aims to go viral with new campaign

With a thriving social media presence of over 100,000 followers across its platforms, the United Grand Lodge of England’s (UGLE) headquarters, Freemasons’ Hall, aims to be the most photographed venue across Open House London this weekend

UGLE will be taking part in the world’s largest architecture festival Open House London on 21-22 September – offering visitors architectural tours, fun family activities and access to the Museum of Freemasonry. UGLE is also inviting members of the public to visit its stunning Art Deco building in the heart of Covent Garden and post their pictures on social media using the hashtag #OHLFMH.

Freemasons’ Hall stands on Great Queen Street on a site that has been used to hold meetings for Freemasons since 1775. The current building was opened in 1933 as a peace memorial to honour the thousands of Freemasons who fought and died during the First World War.

With 50,000 followers on Facebook, 26,000 followers on Twitter and 24,000 followers on Instagram, UGLE – as the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales – has a strong presence on social media, in addition to the proactive daily engagement from regional Freemasons around the country.

Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive, said: 'Freemasonry is one of the oldest social and charitable organisation in the world, so it makes sense for us to use our social media channels to engage with the public. 

'We know people are curious about Freemasonry and our recently launched Discover Freemasonry short film, which explains who we are and what we do – as well as showcasing our unique history – has already been viewed more than 150,000 times across social media.

'These initiatives are only the start of our drive to show the public what modern Freemasonry really stands for – integrity, friendship, respect and charity. It is a little known fact that our membership, of more than 200,000 individuals across England and Wales, donated £48m to charity and over 5 million hours of volunteer work in 2018 alone. This a fact we are very proud of and our social media accounts showcase the stories behind these stats, with hundreds of posts a day from dedicated Freemasons.

'We look forward to welcoming visitors to Freemasons’ Hall throughout the year – but especially this weekend – and viewing the #OHLFMH posts, which will hopefully make us the most visited venue at Open House London this year.'

Watch the Discover Freemasonry video here.


Published Tue, 17 Sep 2019 20:26:22 +0100

Pro Grand Master's address - September 2019

Quarterly Communication

11 September 2019 
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes

Brethren I have been a Freemason for nearly 50 years and there have been so many changes during that time that one might think it has been all change. However, that is not the case and the principles emphasised at that time are still very much at the centre of what we all do and strive to pass on today.

What has changed, and I hope very much for the better is our ability to discuss our membership and what we do, with non members, as well as a greatly improved internal communications system.

Since my first involvement at Grand Lodge there have been four Pro Grand Masters, Lords Cornwallis, Farnham and Northampton and myself. Those three predecessors were acutely aware of the need for change, as, indeed, were their senior advisers. They, with the tremendous and very much continuing support of the Grand Master, started and continued the process. Where I have been lucky is that so much of it seems to have come to fruition on my watch. It would be very easy for me to claim credit for this. However, I hope that those of you who know me well enough, appreciate that it is not my style, but, much more importantly, it would be totally untrue.

Very little gets done in the world in general and certainly not in Freemasonry unless it is overseen by a strong team and I have been fortunate in having had excellent support from exceptional people throughout my period of office.

It is, perhaps, now a rather hackneyed expression, but Mark McCormack’s saying that there is no 'I' in team still rings true. Everything works better when there is collective responsibility and everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

In Freemasonry we should look at the whole membership as one team. Provinces and Districts are teams in their own right, as are individual Lodges and I would go further and say that the executives at the head of all these bodies should consider themselves teams. We must all pull in the same direction and support each other. 

Reverting to the team theme, there will, inevitably, be some decisions made with which not all in the team agree, but again there should be collective responsibility and support should be given.

If this is not the case, we run the risk of being 'picked off' by ill wishers both externally and, dare I say, internally as well.

Of course, we won’t all agree on everything, but mutual support and respect goes a long way to finding the right answers, even if there has to be tinkering along the way.

I really do believe that during the last 10 years we have made giant strides in the right direction, but I do stress again that this was enormously helped by the building blocks that had started to be put in place earlier. We have a long way to go, but I can’t remember a time when I have seen so much enthusiasm around the world and I am primarily, but by no means solely, referring to UGLE members because they are the ones that I meet most. We have a large number of visitors from other Constitutions with us today and I hope that they would concur with what I have said.

Wherever I go in the world I find our Brethren openly talking to non masons about their membership. There is no embarrassment and no secrecy involved. I even had a most convivial conversation with the Passport Control Officer in Kingston, Jamaica. I didn’t manage to sign him up, but he showed great interest in our visit to the Jamaica Cancer Charity.

Brethren we should all consider ourselves lucky to be members of our Order at this exciting time, but I make no apology for repeating that the current positive situation is very largely down to team work in every aspect of what we do, most certainly not forgetting the incredible teams who raise money for and manage our Charities. Please don’t forget Brethren that when anything has gone well, none of us should say 'I have done such and such' we should say 'we have done such and such'. I feel certain that I have just made a rod for my own back and, no doubt, I shall fall into my own trap perhaps even later today, and I can think of a few people sitting not far from me who will delight in picking me up on it.

Brethren, please forgive me if I finish by saying I know that I have spoken for quite long enough and WE must go to lunch. 

Thank you, Brethren.


Published Wed, 11 Sep 2019 12:39:08 +0100

Project Hermes talk - Stephen Blank

Quarterly Communication

11 September 2019
A talk by RW Bro Stephen Blank, Provincial Grand Master for Cheshire and Chairman of the Hermes ‘To Be’ working party

I am grateful to have the opportunity to say a few words about Project Hermes which will revolutionise the work of the Lodge Sec and Chapter Scribe Ezra. From now on I will just refer to the Lodge Sec but please understand this applies to Chapters as well. I will also lapse occasionally and only say ‘Provincial’ when I mean ‘Metropolitan’ and ‘District’ as well!

It is perhaps a little strange that I find myself involved with the workings of the Lodge Sec. In my 40+ years as a Freemason, I have been Lodge Treasurer, Lodge DC – actually I still am – Provincial DC, DepGDC, APGM, DGS and now Provincial Grand Master - but never Lodge Sec.  However, all my various jobs have served to make it clear to me that the most important job is that of Lodge Secretary; it is very rare to find a good and successful Lodge that does not have a good Secretary.

After that flattery, and as a matter of interest, would those of you who are or have been Lodge Secretaries put their hands up? Okay, so for the benefit of those who are not, a little bit of explanation may be helpful.

UGLE maintains all of our details, including those of past members, on a database system called ADelphi, which is Greek for brother. This records our Lodges and Chapters, the offices we have held within them and, if relevant, our Provincial and grand rank. It records your passing and raising dates and the number of your grand Lodge certificate. Of course, it also records your contact details and your Lodge’s details, such as Lodge officers and where and when the Lodge meets.

It is a web-based system available to MetGL, Provinces and Districts. Typically, only the ProvGSec, PGM and designated Met / Prov / District leaders have access plus Prov office staff or volunteers.

ADelphi is ‘fed’ by all the various forms which the Lodge Secretary has to prepare; the form M/P/A for new candidates, the Annual Return, the Installation Return. The Annual Return is created by ADelphi and is the basis for the request for payment of dues that UGLE - and many Provs / Dists - make every year to every Lodge and Chapter. The Secretary also has to create the summons for each meeting. 

In doing all of these tasks, the Sec has to ensure all of his work complies with the Book of Constitutions. And when it doesn’t, he gets an email from his Provincial office – or Prov office gets an email from Registrations dept here at GQS and then Prov office emails Lodge Sec telling him to put it right. 

Two examples of problems that the Lodge Sec can encounter.  Rule 158: if someone applies to join a Lodge but doesn’t live or work in that Province, the Lodge Sec has to make enquiries of that person’s local Province.  How the other Province responds – and when – is out of his control. 

Let’s look at rule 163 specifically rule 163(c). When an existing member wants to join a new Lodge, the joiner must obtain clearance certificates to show to the Lodge Sec that he doesn’t owe subs to another Lodge because, if he does, rule 163(d) says that the new Lodge is liable. 

That means the Sec must be told all the Lodges of which he is and has been a member, whether within the same Province or not. Some of those Lodges may have closed.  And for some of us, remembering all the Lodges we are and have been members of can be a problem.  When I applied to join my first Cheshire Lodge, I forgot one and started life in trouble with my Prov office!  But this information is all on ADelphi; the catch being that the Lodge Sec does not have access to ADelphi and, thanks to GDPR, even ProvGSecs don’t have access to other Provinces’ data.

Last year, the process whereby PGMs apply for grand ranks for their members was automated via ADelphi. There are, as you might imagine, rules as to who is eligible which are very convoluted.  In the original system, emails and forms went in to GQS and if you transgressed, as I did - accidentally - in one year, I received a polite letter two weeks later suggesting that I rethink.  Then I had to revisit my plans in a hurry. In the new system, the PGM does it online and his request to the mw the gm is validated as he enters it.  This saved me and those who manage the process within UGLE a huge amount of time.

The GSec wants the same ability for Lodge Secs when it comes to creating their summons, at least for matters covered by the BoC.  When the Sec enters a potential joining member, any decent modern computer system should instantly look him up and flag him as ‘clear’ i.e. not in arrears anywhere in the constitution.  It should ‘talk’ the Sec through the application process.  Rather than relying on the Prov office to key in a candidate’s name and address or date of birth from a handwritten form, the candidate himself should do it and have it validated by the Lodge Sec. 

We should do the standard id checks to protect ourselves and our members and capture photos while we’re at it as well.  Updating Lodge records should be made easy and flow straight from the summons – so if a resignation is on the summons, the resignation process is triggered – copy to Prov retrieval officer - and once confirmed after the meeting, the member doesn’t appear erroneously on the next annual return.  So, the annual return will be accurate.

My Province’s reported exaltation numbers for 2018 changed only last month as a form relating to an exaltation in 2018 was finally submitted correctly by the se in July!  This makes monitoring progress in anything like real time very hard.  Hermes will make this virtually impossible and, perhaps more importantly, there will be no reason any more for the Lodge Sec to delay.

So, I hope you are all convinced this is worthwhile; how are we going about it?

The present version of ADelphi went live in the summer of 2015 which is more or less when I became PGM of Cheshire.  It is fair to say that the launch did not go well.  As I have been involved in trying to make computers work in organisations for over forty years – although always from the business perspective rather than the technical side – I found myself becoming very voluble about its shortcomings.  When you do that in freemasonry you usually find yourself on a committee charged with sorting matters out and that is exactly what happened to me.

That committee, the ADelphi senior user group was set up at the end of 2016 by RWBro David Macey and is now chaired by RWBro Ian Chandler.  It records and prioritises developments of new features and bug-fixes requested by Provinces or UGLE and has been bringing about improvements to ADelphi ever since. 

In 2018, the GSec presented his proposal to the BGP, to extend ADelphi’s availability to Lodge Secs where, I am told, it was readily accepted.  But we had learnt the lesson from the ADelphi launch and did not rush into coding.  Instead UGLE formed a steering group and recruited two people to work exclusively on Hermes: tony Keating, a project manager, and Nigel Codron, a business analyst and senior Middx freemason.

One early decision was that we would not, in fact, extend ADelphi itself to Lodge Secs.  ADelphi was designed as a tool for Provinces, aimed at people who would work with it all day every day.  Instead we would commission a new web-based system designed to be intuitive for Lodge Secs, we call it the Hermes front-end or just Hermes. 

We will provide on-line training, but the expectation is that this will be as easy to use as amazon or your on-line banking system.  The two systems, Hermes and ADelphi, will talk to each other so updates by Lodge Secs will require validation by UGLE or Prov offices before they actually update ADelphi.  But if we get the summons creation right, there won’t be a need for too much validation.

A second early decision was that, before we started creating new digital processes, we should make sure we understood the existing paper processes, especially who does what and where interactions with BoC take place. 

Well, I said ‘paper processes’, but that implies they existed on paper.  In fact, they exist in a bio-computer running on the oxford classics operating system – UGLE’s Deputy Grand Secretary Graham Redman! –  so, we have spent many months carefully documenting the ‘as-is’ processes as we call them by talking at length to brother Redman himself, bro Andy Croci in registrations and a sample of Provincial, Lodge, and Chapter Secretaries. 

A third early decision was that we could not engage simultaneously with every one of the forty-seven Provinces and MetGL not to mention the Districts overseas.  So, we formed a small group termed the pilot Provinces consisting of MetGL, Hampshire and the isle of Wight, Cheshire and Bristol plus the Districts of Cyprus and eastern archipelago who in turn formed their own little consulting groups of selected Lodge Secretaries and Chapter Scribes E.  These are the ones we consult on a regular basis to keep us ‘real’, as they say. 

The results of documenting the ‘as-is’ processes can be viewed on flowcharts with swim-lanes for each relevant department.

The complexity of all of this meant that we were only ready to start thinking about the new way forward at the end of June at which point a working party was formed, known as the 2b working party and, since I was out of the room at the time, I was designated its chairman.  As well as Tony, Nigel and myself, the members of the working party are: Richard Gardiner, Neil Tomkinson, Prity lad and David bell. 

Richard fulfils a dual role; he is a pivotal member of the ADelphi senior user group, designated the Provincial and metropolitan user representative, but he is also a senior member of MetGL and an experienced met Lodge and Chapter Secretary.  I will come back to the position of MetGL in a minute.  Neil Tomkinson is the ADelphi guru from UGLE’s ICT department; Mrs Prity lad is director of member services and David Bell is the interim finance director of UGLE.

What became clear very quickly is that significant changes will also be required to ADelphi itself which is why Neil Tomkinson’s presence on the 2bwp is critical. He regards it as so important that he put on a tie especially for this photo – the first time he’s worn one in 20 years, he said.  Many of the changes needed were already logged as feature requests with the ADelphi senior users’ group and have been passed over to form part of the Hermes requirements catalogue.

UGLE’s overall strategic imperative is to start our membership growing again and Hermes has to contribute to this, and more directly than just by making the Lodge Secretary’s life easier, important though that is.  This is Prity’s department.  More and more new members are finding us via the internet rather than traditional routes and we must be able to track what works and what doesn’t.  We also have to retain them.  We want to capture more information such as where the candidate heard about us, members’ attendance or, more significantly, non-attendances at meetings, a key indicator of problems building up. 

Many Provinces send particular letters to candidates at certain stages of their masonic journey; the updated ADelphi system will be ‘told’ by Hermes when it has happened and then do this automatically or at least prompt the Province to action. 

For the first time ADelphi will interface with UGLE finance by creating requests for payment for dues, registration fees and dispensations together with bacs references for each as they are generated. 

On an opt-in basis, it will interface with Provinces’ finances as well. Mentioning that, can I give a big thankyou to my colleague PGMs up here?  I sent out a questionnaire via bUGLE on 19 July with a series of questions about how they charge their Lodges, asking for a reply by 31 July.  Every single craft Province responded within the time scale.   This was greatly appreciated and enabled the 48 responses to be analysed by my office manager, Liz wright, so they could be discussed in detail at the 2bwp meeting on 6 august last.

When those of us in the Provinces consider the changes that Hermes will bring, it’s easy to overlook the effect on MetGL.  Yes, it’s a lot bigger than any of us with 30,000 + members.  But it is MetGL that will see the biggest change brought about by Hermes.  Once upon a time, London’s Lodges were dealt with by UGLE itself and that of course included all their registration processes i.e. feeding ADelphi.  When ‘London’ was devolved into MetGL these processes were left with UGLE – where they remain today.  When Hermes is launched, MetGL will govern all of its own processes just like the Provinces – only bigger. 

This working party has been tasked by our GSec and CEO with thinking outside of our current boxes.  Our ideas and plans will of course be discussed with and validated by the DepGSec, the registrations department and the pilot Provinces before any coding starts.  When we have obtained a consensus on the ways forward from that relatively small group, a process that is well under way, they will be exposed to all Provinces for their comments. 

We anticipate that changes to the book of constitutions will be required and a separate committee has been set up to consider and draft them; I will leave you to guess who the chair of that committee is!   Of course, the final decisions will rest with BGP and this, the grand Lodge

Let me finish with two examples of the new approach we are planning.  Rule 158 may be tricky to administer but can flush out timewasters.  There are people who start applying but then go radio silent.  A few years later they decide to have another go and apply to a different Province.  There are even people who are initiated in one Province, stop attending, then try and get initiated again somewhere else.  GDPR prevents one Province from having access to the records of another Province.

We propose to have a database of enquiries available nationally, so anyone expressing interest via a website or open day will have his basic details captured and held for, say, 10 years.  If the PMO assigns him to a Lodge those details form the basis of his application form.  If it goes nowhere, it will be noted but he will remain on the database and if he approaches another Province or Lodge, those details will appear.

Clearance certificates are a little tricky because neither ADelphi nor Provinces record details of payments within Lodges; they only deal with payments by Lodges.  So, we propose that as part of each attendance register that the Lodge Sec populates after each meeting – using a dropdown list of members – he also marks any members who are in arrears according to his Lodge’s bylaws.  The existence of this flag will be picked up by any other Lodge he applies to join and the applicant invited to ‘check his records’.

Those are only two examples; I hope I have given you a flavour of what’s to come with a target date of mid-2020 to commence the roll-out. Maybe those of you put off from becoming a Lodge Sec will now consider it?  Any questions, comments, observations please send to hermes@ugle.org.uk; they will all be considered.


Published Wed, 11 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0100

More News

Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Mon, 27 Jan 2020 15:27:20 +0000

Vulnerable young people will get mentoring and support thanks to £89,000 grant from Kent Freemasons

Hundreds of vulnerable children and young people, many in care or in trouble with the law, will gain access to a programme of mentoring and supporting to help them turn their lives around, following a grant from Kent Freemasons to the Young Lives Foundation (YLF)

The £89,000 grant will help develop activities in both Swale and Gravesham, where YLF will deliver a programme of sports, arts, music, drama and occasional field trips to residential centres offering skill-based activities such as water sports, climbing and camping.

There was a 60 per cent increase in referrals to the YLF last year following cuts in funding by local authorities, and more than 700 youth centres have been closed since 2010. YLF intends to respond by opening a youth hub in each of the 13 districts in Kent, providing a safe space for young people to meet, make the right friendships, learn new hobbies and interests, and build valuable relationships with our skilled volunteer mentors.

The cuts coincide with the rise of the so-called 'county lines' drug gangs which target young people and follow a 152 per cent increase in knife crime between 2010 and 2018.

YLF currently works with 1,500 young people in the Kent care system and wish to make the services available to more than 1,700 young people in care who are placed in Kent from other local authorities. They also work with 8,000 young people on the edge of care. There are over 70,000 in the care system nationally, with Kent having the most significant number per head.

The results of the YLF projects are very encouraging, with 81 per cent of young people in the programmes reporting an increase in self-confidence, which is crucial for young people seeking to change their behaviour.

The grant from Kent Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales. Kent Freemasons are currently involved in five years of intensive fundraising for the MCF.

Stephen Gray, Chief Executive of the Young Lives Foundation, said: 'I'm very grateful to Kent Freemasons for their generous grant, which adds to substantial support we've already received from individual Freemasons lodges. We're also grateful to the many Freemasons who volunteer their free time to help us. Thanks to them we'll be able to offer many more very vulnerable young people the advice and support they need to turn their lives around.'

Neil Johnstone from Kent Freemasons said: 'We are pleased we've been able to help the Young Lives Foundation with their hugely important work. YLF provide positive role models and practical advice and support that can have a huge impact on helping vulnerable young people to stay out of trouble.'


Published Tue, 14 Jan 2020 00:00:00 +0000

'Oh no they didn't. Oh, yes they did'... Sussex Freemasons deliver Peter Pan pantomime

A packed house at the Metropole Hotel in Brighton on 29th December saw the Peter Pan pantomime brilliantly delivered by an all-star host of Sussex Freemasons to a lively and appreciative audience of all ages
 
The show, staged and supported with the outstanding help and assistance of David Hill and his E3 Production company, was a complete success and raised a fantastic £13,100 toward the refurbishment of their Provincial Centre in Brighton. 
 
Everyone taking part delivered bravura performances and a fabulous evening of family entertainment were thoroughly enjoyed by young and old alike. 
 
John Hornblow, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Sussex and Chair of the Provincial Fundraising Committee, which organised, promoted and took part in the event, said 'This was an outstanding effort by a top team over many months.

'I would like to thank everyone involved for all their hard work, enthusiasm and sustained efforts in making this amazing event happen. I would also like to thank Dave Hill, E3 Productions and his team for all the support and encouragement they have given in helping Sussex Freemasonry deliver this show.'


Published Thu, 09 Jan 2020 17:38:17 +0000

Buckinghamshire Freemasons help two men go for Gold at judo tournament in Holland

The Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund (BMCF) has funded two men to attend the Nihon Dutch Shensho Judo tournament in Eindhoven, Holland

Shaun Banks and Sean McKellar competed against individuals worldwide in a tournament for those with learning difficulties.

They are both members of Stokenchurch Judo Club and have competed in many competitions in the past. At 52, Sean McKellar was the oldest in the group and had to compete in four challenging contests before emerging victorious with a gold medal.

Shaun Banks also competed in four contests and managed to beat an impressive challenger who was much bigger than him. He gained a bronze medal.

Jean Cleere, who organised the funding and accompanied the group to the event, thanked the BMCF for the contribution which facilitated the two competitors success.


Published Tue, 07 Jan 2020 00:00:00 +0000

An unusual agenda of events for Old Bloxhamist Lodge in Oxfordshire

On 14 December 2019 the 60th anniversary installation meeting of Old Bloxhamist Lodge No. 7725 was held at the Masonic Hall in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

The evening was especially interesting due to an unusual agenda of Lodge business.

A visit from James Hilditch, Provincial Grand Master for Oxfordshire, honoured the Lodge, who on this occasion was accompanied by Alan Baverstock, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Peter Smith, Provincial Senior Grand Warden, and Bernd Wegerhoff, Provincial Grand Secretary.

The first part of the ceremony was a rather special installation of James Smith, son of a long servicing member of the Lodge David Smith. David took a very active role in the proceedings, partaking in the inbound procession of the provincial officers and delivering the first degree working tools in a most commanding fashion.

The second part of the evening saw Christopher Gasson reinstalled as the Worshipful Master for a second successive year. 

During the second risings, David Smith was once more called to his feet, this time to be presented with a 60 year masonic certificate from the Provincial Grand Master, who also rewarded David during the presentation by promoting him to the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden.

After the formal business had been concluded, the attenders retired to partake in a most enjoyable and friendly pre-Christmas festive board.


Published Mon, 06 Jan 2020 15:18:25 +0000

Dorset Freemasons support Dorset Search and Rescue with £1,000 donation

Members of London Haven Lodge No. 7300 in Dorset have supported the Dorset Search and Rescue's work through a £1,000 donation

Dorset Search and Rescue (DorSAR) is a team of highly trained volunteers who work with the police, coastguard and other emergency services. Their work consists of searching and retrieving of missing persons, swift water and flood water rescue, searching and recovering of significant objects and support at major incidents. The donation was presented to the charity during the Lodge's Christmas meeting.

The event was attended by wives, partners and Lodge widows, as well as undergraduates who joined through the UGLE Universities Scheme.

For the past three or more decades, the Christmas meetings at London Haven Lodge has welcomed members of the Bournemouth Gilbert and Sullivan Productions (better known as Bournemouth GaSP). Through Carol singing at Lodges and elsewhere, the society has raised more than £90,000 for the Macmillan Unit at Christchurch Hospita a Specialist Palliative Care Unit for patients in South East Dorset and South West Hampshire.

The donation from the Lodge contributed to more than £2,000 having been raised during 2019 by Bournemouth GaSP.


Published Fri, 03 Jan 2020 11:49:44 +0000

Families of seriously-ill children and young people will be supported thanks to £63,000 grant from Berkshire Freemasons

Families of children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions across Berkshire will receive counselling and support, thanks to a grant of £63,000 to the Sebastian’s Action Trust charity from Berkshire Freemasons

Sebastian’s Action Trust provides family support and bereavement care tailored towards improving mental and physical health for children and their families. The charity offers responsive, accessible support for families who are facing either the imminent death or eventual loss of a child. This includes talking and counselling sessions together with one-to-one and group sessions to accommodate the family’s unmet needs.

There are currently 49,000 children with life-limiting or life threatening conditions in the UK – Sebastian’s Action Trust supports 127 families in the county of Berkshire. The Trust offers emotional, practical and social support to families in Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, delivering outreach support to roughly 500 families.

The grant from Berkshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales. 

Jane Gates OBE, Sebastian’s Action Trust’s CEO, said: ‘We’re very grateful to Berkshire Freemasons for their generous grant, There can be no more critical time in the life of a family than the diagnosis of a life-threatening or life-limiting condition in one of its members and their subsequent death – and how much worse when it is a child. We may not be able to add days to lives, but with the help of Berkshire freemasons, we will be able to add life to days.’

Peter Sands, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire, said: ‘I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Sebastian’s Action Trust. Giving the right kind of support to family members going through the darkest and most challenging of times can make a huge difference.’


Published Thu, 02 Jan 2020 00:00:00 +0000

Buckinghamshire Freemasons donate £2,500 to animal assisted learning charity

The Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund (BMCF) has awarded a grant of £2,500 to the animal assisted learning charity Animal Antiks

It has gone towards the installation of new gates at the facility, which will enable a fully flexible layout and permit service users to access all the different animals, even in wheelchairs and pushchairs. As well as this, the gates will be fitted with baseboards which will help maintain high hygiene standards by containing straw and animal waste, keeping access walkways clean.

Animal Antiks operates an alternative day provision based on a 230-acre working farm in North Marston, near Buckingham. It welcomes and supports children and adults who are experiencing various challenges in their lives. This can include physical and mental health difficulties, difficulties accessing mainstream education or being at risk of school exclusion or experiencing social isolation and exclusion.

It supports around 50 people a week and caters for all ages - with their youngest being five and their eldest in her 50's. Some attend for a couple of hours a week, while others participate in full time and carry out their education onsite.

Andrew Hough recently visited the farm as the Secretary of the BMCF to see the difference the new gates had made for those with mobility and motor skills issues. He enjoyed his visit helping to muck-out and feed some of the animals.


Published Wed, 18 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000

Leeds Freemasons bring Festive cheer to children’s charities

A toy appeal by Leeds Freemasons is bringing festive cheer to several local charities

The initiative has proved very popular; more than 300 gifts will be shared between four groups - Leeds Children's Hospital, Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People, Leeds Children's Charity and Leeds Jewish Welfare Board.

The Castle Grove Masonic Lodges Festive Toy appeal was launched in November 2018, to bring various Lodges together to provide something tangible to young people in the local community.

Initially, the toys and gifts were to be donated to Leeds Children's Hospital. However, the response proved so overwhelming that a large number of gifts were also donated to Barnardo's.

This year, the number of charity recipients has been increased to four, including Leeds Jewish Welfare Board which will receive Chanukah gifts for 28 children under its care.

Leeds Freemason and toy appeal co-ordinator Graham Shiers said: 'Once again, I've been absolutely staggered by the response of lodge members to the toy appeal. Since launching this year's appeal in October, we have been inundated with both toys and financial donations. The money has been used to buy more gifts, including pyjamas and clothes for children living in poverty.

'I would like to thank the masonic community who meet at Headingley's Castle Grove for their generosity. Thanks to them, several children who may not have had a present to open on Christmas Day will receive at least one.'

Graham added: 'One of the three great pillars that Freemasonry is founded on is charity, and charity is very close to our hearts. Each year the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding presents grants totalling £200,000 to a wide range of organisations including schools, youth organisations, hospices and community clubs.'

He has concluded saying: 'We are very proud of our support of the communities we live and work in, and these toys, gifts and clothes will go to four great charities that do so much for local children and their families.'


Published Mon, 16 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000

Michael Holland is Installed as the new Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire

Herefordshire Freemasons have a new Provincial Grand Master. Michael Holland was recently installed into that office at the Three Counties Hotel, Hereford, by the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes and his team from Grand Lodge in London, in front of 271 local Freemasons and visitors

Afterwards, Michael Holland installed his Deputy Graham King. Herefordshire is the smallest Province in the mainland, but is active and vibrant with 15 Lodges and just under 600 members. Although small, it punches well above its weight in support of local and national charities.

The recent vacancy was caused by the death earlier this year of the Rev'd David Bowen, who had held the office of Provincial Grand Master since 2013. He is greatly missed and made a substantial contribution to local Freemasonry; however, the members feel confident that there will be further progress and development under his very experienced successor.

The Province is to fund a memorial to the Rev'd David in the Booth Chapel of Hereford Cathedral, which is to be refurbished to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Canonisation of St Thomas Cantilupe. This will further demonstrate the close and historical relationship local Freemasonry enjoys with the Cathedral.

Following his installation, Michael said: 'It is a privilege to lead the masonic Province of Herefordshire, and I am grateful for the support and kindness I have received from our members and also those in neighbouring provinces and beyond.'


Published Thu, 12 Dec 2019 12:02:48 +0000

Local children with mental or emotional health problems will be helped thanks to grant from Cambridgeshire Freemasons

Hundreds of children with mental or emotional health issues will receive the therapy they need, thanks to a £15,000 grant from Cambridgeshire Freemasons to the charity Blue Smile

Blue Smile works with children between 3 and 13 years old, who may experience difficulties such as anxiety, self-harm or obsessive-compulsive behaviours. They are given a weekly session with an expert therapist, based on arts and play, providing support for each child for as long as they need it. During term time, Blue Smile helps around 200 children every week.

In Cambridgeshire, roughly one in eight children have a diagnosable mental health condition, which equates to each class in a Cambridgeshire school having three affected children. The county has an estimated 13,900 children and young people under the age of 16 with mental health issues, which is the highest in the East of England and a higher percentage than England as a whole, which has 400,000 under 16s who were referred to the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the last year.

Blue Smile aims to intervene when a child has emerging mental health difficulties, particularly those who have suffered trauma such as abuse, bereavement or domestic violence. Through this, they aim to prevent problems worsening and protect each child's ability to stay in school and participate fully in school life. Half of all lifetime mental health problems emerge by the age of 14, so by supporting children who are experiencing difficulties, the charity believes that it can give them the best possible chance of recovery.

The grant from Cambridgeshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Jess Manley, Charity Director of Blue Smile, said: 'We're very grateful to Cambridgeshire Freemasons for their generous grant, which will help us to offer support to hundreds of children every week during term time. Often people don't realise the scale of this issue, with, on average, three children in every class being affected by mental health difficulties.'

Pat Kilby, from Cambridgeshire Freemasons, said: 'I'm very pleased we've been able to help Blue Smile with their hugely important work. By getting to children early on, they can give them the support they need to prevent problems worsening, and protect each child's ability to stay in school and participate fully in school life.

'Their work is quite literally life-changing.'


Published Wed, 11 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000

Freemasonry Cares

Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Mon, 27 Jan 2020 15:27:21 +0000

English and Welsh Freemasons give $150,000 for victims of Australian bush fires

People who have lost everything in the catastrophic Australian bushfires will be among those to benefit from a grant of AUS $150,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation to the Disaster Relief Funds set up by Australian Freemasons

The grant from the English and Welsh Freemasons’ charity will see $50,000 given to the Australian Freemasons’ Disaster Relief Funds in each of the three states most affected by the blaze, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

The unprecedented fires have seen 27 deaths, including a number of firefighters. 2,136 homes have been destroyed in New South Wales alone, more than 1,200 of which have burned down since New Year’s Eve. Thousands of Australians are living in more than a dozen large evacuation centres, having been forced to flee the blaze.

Meanwhile hundreds of homes and businesses have been lost in Victoria and South Australia. Many Australians have lost everything and the impact on the livelihoods of ordinary people is vast. The economy will take many years to fully recover.

An estimated 18 million acres of land have been burned – an area almost as large as Ireland. There has been an enormous impact on the environment, with up to a billion animals being killed. The death toll among koala bears alone has led to calls for the animals to be placed on the endangered species list.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, said: 'These terrible fires are an ongoing disaster for thousands of Australians. I’m very pleased that English and Welsh Freemasons are working together with Freemasons in Australia to raise funds to help the victims of the blazes, many of whom have lost everything.'


Published Tue, 14 Jan 2020 14:07:28 +0000

Berkshire Freemasons donate £4,000 to Thames Valley Air Ambulance

A grant of £4,000 to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance from Berkshire Freemasons has been added to the total masonic support of £2.4 million given to air ambulances across the country since 2007

Apart from this grant, which comes from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, The Berkshire Masonic Charity has contributed over £4,500 to help patients with breathing difficulties. These donations and many others bring the total contribution to Thames Valley Air Ambulance by Freemasons over the last few years to £132,000.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance operates across Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire bringing advanced medical care to the most critically ill and injured patients. Between 1st October 2018 and 30th September 2019, the helicopter and Critical Care Response Vehicles responded to 2670 incidents in the region; 1013 of these were in Berkshire. They delivered advanced medical care to 1,667 patients.

Neil Harman, Director of Fundraising at Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: 'We are very grateful to Berkshire Freemasons for their continuing generosity. Without support like this our teams of doctors, paramedics and pilots would not be able to continue delivering our life-saving work.'

Anthony Howlett-Bolton, Leader of Berkshire Freemasons, said: 'We are proud to be able to support the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the crew, many lives of local people are saved every year.'


Published Tue, 26 Nov 2019 19:05:17 +0000

Devonshire Freemasons donate £28,000 to Exeter Royal Deaf Academy

Whilst on a visit to the House of Lords Ian Kingsbury, Provincial Grand Master for Devonshire Freemasons, was inspired by a presentation given by Steve Morton, Director of Development for the Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education

Outlining the Academy’s aims and development plans for the future academy, which is to be relocated to a new site in Exmouth, - Ian was inspired so much so that he came back to Devonshire with the desire to help those who are affected by this very difficult sensory disability. To this end, he approached the Devonshire Freemasons Benevolent Fund Committee for help, and they immediately responded by giving him a cheque for £5,000.

Following their visit to meet Steve Morton in October 2018 there has been an approach to the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) who have agreed further funding of £28,380 to equip a Multi-Sensory Immersive Space within the new centre in Exmouth, bringing the total donated to £33,380. 

Dr Reuben Ayres, Devonshire Provincial Grand Charity Steward, accompanied by Clive Eden, visited the Deaf Academy. Here they met up again with Steve Morton and Appeals Manager Sarah Shaw and presented them with a certificate denoting the £28,380 which is going to support the wonderful work undertaken by the Academy.

Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education has been located in Exeter for over 190 years and the current location is a property purchased many years ago which is no longer fit for the needs of the deaf students. The property and the land has now been sold and the proceeds will partially fund the new academy which is being been built with all the latest facilities available to the architects, to give the students what they really require.

All the students have additional needs, including multi-sensory disabilities, autism, epilepsy, and physical disabilities which is why, when designing the new building so much thought has gone into making each part of the facility user friendly. It is planned that completion of the new building will be by Easter 2020.

When presenting the certificate, Dr. Reuben Ayres said: ‘Young people all need us to be there to help them grow for the future, none more so than those with a lack of hearing who are denied the normal things that we take so much for granted in the world we live in.’

When receiving the certificate Steve Morton said: ‘We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire and now the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Without the support of generous organisations like these we wouldn’t be able to change the lives of some of the most vulnerable Deaf young people in UK.

‘Our work helps young people, who have often been isolated in the past, to access education and opportunities for development which ultimately will enable them to have more independent lives. The immersive room is there to help those facing the greatest challenges to benefit from our work and Ian, Reuben and their fellow Freemasons have played a large part in making that a reality.’


Published Wed, 20 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000

Staffordshire Freemasons launch unique advertising campaign to promote MCF across Europe

Staffordshire’s Provincial Grand Master John Lockley endorsed and launched a unique advertising campaign to support the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the work they do to help communities throughout England and Wales with donations to local charities

A large advert has been placed on the side of an articulated trailer owned by local Freemason Danny Poole who runs a specialist chilled food distribution and transport business based in Stoke on Trent.

This giant trailer is decorated in specially commissioned MCF colours and branding and has been launched on the roads of the UK and Europe – in particular England, France, Germany and Belgium.

The idea was generated by Danny and his wife Jackie. Danny approached the Staffordshire MCF Representative Andrew Tomblin and generously offered a trailer for decoration in full MCF colours to carry the masonic message of Charity For All across the country and into Europe.  These trailers never stand still and rather like aircraft are out there somewhere constantly working and being seen by all.

Andrew took the idea and discussed the plan with the MCF marketing department team, which resulted in the creation of the new artwork designed to carry the Masonic message across the entire length of the trailer and the rear doors. The vehicle is breathtakingly large and very eye catching and will take Freemasonry’s caring message far and wide.

John Lockley said: ‘Many thanks to Danny and Jackie for their great idea and for allowing the use of this magnificent vehicle to help Staffordshire Freemasons promote the Masonic Charitable Foundation, nationally and internationally.’


Published Tue, 22 Oct 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Knowle Masonic Centre working in partnership with Age UK Solihull thanks to £63,000 grant

To tackle daily problems caused by loneliness and isolation, such as financial hardship, decline in physical or mental well-being or life transitions including retirement and bereavement, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) launched a £1 million three-year partnership with Age UK in 2018 to fund a new project called ‘Later Life Goals’

Thanks to this project, Age UK advisers have been helping older people identify their goals for later life. So far, the project has supported over 2,370 older people.

There are 3.6 million older people in the UK, of whom over two million are over 75 years of age and live alone. The downside effects of loneliness on human body is equivalent to harm caused by 15 cigarettes a day which makes it even worse than obesity.

Research over loneliness shows that it is associated with a 50% increase in mortality from any cause. According to Age UK, it is associated with depression, sleep problems, impaired cognitive health, heightened vascular resistance, hypertension, psychological stress and mental health problems.

Age UK Solihull in Warwickshire, one of 13 branches in this project, has been working closely with Knowle Masonic Centre (KMC). During the summer, Keith Reynolds, Deputy Chairman of KMC, presented Anne Hastings, CEO of Age UK Solihull, the certificate sent by MCF granting £63,000 as part of the 3-year partnership. The level of co-operation between KMC and Age UK Solihull goes even beyond funding projects. KMC had gladly welcomed Age UK Solihull to have their regular meetings and social gatherings at KMC’s premises.

Futhermore, Age UK Solihull has initiated a significant service called ‘Linking People Together’ which aims at promoting individual independence, confidence and well-being. The service calls on volunteers to visit and befriend older people in their local areas. Volunteers are expected to create a personal connection with an older person who could be homebound or suffering from a long-term disease or having no family living locally. Volunteers can befriend someone either by phoning at an agreed time for a chat or by visiting them at their home.

It is also possible to accompany them to an activity or appointment. KMC is delighted to be part of this partnership and committed to support Age UK Solihull. To contribute the project, members of the KMC are encouraged to participate with their families.


Published Wed, 09 Oct 2019 21:52:01 +0100

Mark Master Masons donate £141,000 to Lifelites

Lifelites has received an incredible donation of £141,423 from the Mark Benevolent Fund, which will change the lives of thousands of life-limited and disabled children across the country

The Mark Benevolent Fund is the official charity of The Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, a registered charity that began in 1868 as an efficient way to donate money to the charities of the Mark Master Masons.

Lifelites donates assistive technology to over 10,000 life-limited and disabled children in hospices across the country, and this vital funding will support a brand new project being launched by the charity this year – the Tech Trunk.

The Tech Trunk is a solution for Hospice at Home services across the country that deliver palliative and respite care for children out in the community. The portable trunks enable hospice staff to take the Lifelites technology with them wherever they go, giving children the opportunity to have access to life-changing technology in their own home.

The trunks will include accessible, portable technology such as a Virtual Reality Headset, specialist iPads, games consoles and an Eyegaze, which enables children to use a computer just with the movement of their eyes. All of this technology gives these children the opportunity to play, be creative, control something for themselves and communicate, for as long as it is possible.

This funding will also help Lifelites to donate Interactive Entertainment Hubs, Mobile Magic Carpets, and other technology as well as vital training for children’s hospice staff on how to use it.

Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites, said: ‘Our small team works tirelessly to raise the funds we so desperately need, and to have this unbelievably generous gift from the Mark Benevolent Fund is a complete game-changer for Lifelites.

‘It will help us provide technology to thousands of children across the country, children who don’t have the same opportunities that we do. Every moment is precious, and thanks to this donation we can help these children and their families make the most of every second.’

Darren Coleman-Heald, Charities Manager at the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, said: ‘We are delighted to have joined forces with Lifelites in this all-important project that reaches deep in to the heart of your community giving enjoyment and stimulation to life-limited and disabled children.

'Our 36,000 members will be pleased to know that their donations are being used wisely by helping those in need across the UK.’


Published Wed, 02 Oct 2019 12:23:25 +0100

MCF gives £63,000 to Lincolnshire to provide friendship in times of crisis

Through the generosity of Lincolnshire’s Freemasons, the Masonic Charitable Foundation has been able to support Age UK Lindsey with a donation of £63,000

The life-changing donation is part of a £1 million project called Later Life Goals, launched nationwide to support the charity’s work in reaching out to enhance the lives of many hundreds of lonely and vulnerable older people.

In Lincolnshire this year alone that translates to one-to-one intervention on behalf of 262 people undergoing major transitions in their lives such as bereavement, serious health diagnosis, or a partner moving to a care home.

Age UK Lindsey works across East and West Lindsey and North Lincolnshire, helping to make later life a fulfilling and enjoyable experience by providing a range of direct services, advice, and domestic support. This can include help to access benefits, liaising with care agencies, or simply a weekly befriending visit.

Service Manager Sue White said demand for the services they were able to provide continued to flood in: ‘We have an average of 200 new referrals for our information and advice service every month, and 30 new requests for our befriending help on top of that. Our services are always up to capacity, and so many callers have nowhere else to go.

‘We can’t thank you enough for this donation; it will help us to sustain our services to people who otherwise might have no help at all.”

Dave Wheeler, Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master, said: ’The work of Age UK Lindsey is vital for so many people in rural Lincolnshire. I’d urge brethren to volunteer to help with the befriending service. It involves an hour week of a chat over a cup of tea, but it can be a lifeline for someone.'

To find out more, please contact jenny.wilson@ageuklindsey.co.uk

DONALD'S STORY

‘Donald’ isn’t the real name of the man in this story, but the story itself is all too real. Donald and his landlord wanted his story to be shared to show how Age UK Lindsey, with the support of Lincolnshire’s Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation, had turned his life around.

Serious financial problems, and the worry they brought, were making Donald ill. He wasn’t sleeping and he couldn’t see a way around his difficulties.

Eviction was a very real threat, but his landlord, (let’s call him John), didn’t want it to come to that. He told us: ‘Donald is in his 70s, and relies on his state pension and a relatively modest housing benefit award. His financial situation was causing him distress and anxiety.’

John contacted Age UK Lindsey, at which point volunteer Pam Cox entered the story. John said: ‘Donald and I met her two or three times, and she was instrumental in getting him a higher level of attendance allowance and improved pension credit, which allowed him not only to clear his rent arrears, but made him £150 a week better off.’

Pam, who volunteered to help Age UK for six months almost ten years ago, and has never left, said there was as much as £1m in unclaimed benefits in the system. ‘But the application process can be very difficult,’ she said. ‘Even if you understand the system, and how to fill in forms, it can take as long as two hours to complete one application, and that can be a barrier to people applying.’

John said: ‘I really cannot stress enough just how magnificent the work of Age UK Lindsey has been.  I’m full of admiration for the organisation, and Pam Cox in particular. It’s an excellent organisation, and its work can’t be commended highly enough.’

Donald, given such vital support, is now very happy with this life. The anxiety has gone, and with a smile on his face he was able to say: ‘I’ve just been to see the doctor. He says I’m 400% better than I was. I’m cheerful again.’


Published Mon, 30 Sep 2019 10:49:43 +0100

Warwickshire's Provincial Grand Master takes to the skies to raise £11,000 for the MCF

The summer break may have seen many Freemasons relaxing and enjoying the fine weather, but David Macey, Provincial Grand Master for Warwickshire, had other ideas when he decided to jump out of a plane to raise £11,000 for charity

The Province of Warwickshire is in the early stages of its 2023 Festival and working hard to raise money to support the excellent work of the Masonic Charitable Foundation. The Provincial Grand Master is always one to lead from the front, which led him to search for an opportunity to raise a healthy sum of money for the Festival whilst aiming to inspire the Province to hit and exceed the Festival target.

Jumping from a perefectly serviceable aircraft seemed a suitable way to raise the profile of the Festival to new heights, so early in 2019 the plans were laid and preparations for a summer skydive commenced. David set himself an ambitious target of £10,000, with confidence that the members of Warwickshire would rise to the occasion.

Finally the day came and David, with a band of supporters, fought through difficult driving conditions to Langar Airfield in Nottinghamshire hoping for a break in the weather to give enough time for the jump to happen.In spite of hopes and optimism, the wind and rain thwarted the first attempt and it was not safe to jump.

Several weeks went by with the excitement and trepidation growing, until in July 2019 a window in the weather was found and the team made their way to Nottinghamshire once again. This time conditions were perfect. David completed his training and his instructor chosen, much to the amusement of the assembled crowd, with the Provincial Grand Master being rather tall and his instructor much less so, once in tandem, the instructors feet would never touch the floor.

The jump was an experience of a lifetime, with David's first words on landing being, 'I've got to do that again', although his wife Sandra didn't seem so sure. The exhilaration of the skydive was only increased as the fundraising soared past the target, finishing with £11,000 going to the Festival and the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

The full video of the skydive can be seen here.


Published Wed, 04 Sep 2019 22:54:01 +0100

MCF donation funds groundbreaking new collaboration that could go nationwide

Funded by the Masonic Charitable Foundation and operated by Lincoln’s St Barnabas Hospice Trust and the city’s YMCA, a new project to help the homeless could become the model for similar schemes nationwide

It’s about a new dimension in the range of services offered by the organisations and is aimed specifically at helping the homeless to cope with bereavement.

YMCA CEO Caroline Killeavy said working in partnership with MCF support made a significant difference. The scheme will provide one-to-one specialist counselling to work with homeless people through the difficulties, challenges and emotions that can accompany bereavement.

Although there are no exact figures of how many homeless people in Lincoln are struggling with bereavement, there is research that shows it is a problem on a national scale. Strong circumstantial evidence that indicates it is prevalent in Lincoln.

The YMCA and Lincoln Baptist Church independently contacted St Barnabas Hospice to discuss the problem, which lead to the hospice putting together a bid to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for funding.

Counselling sessions are held at the YMCA hostel in Rumbold Street and at The Nomad Trust’s shelter in Monks Road. Caroline Killeavy, CEO of Lincolnshire YMCA, added: ‘The YMCA recognises people become homeless for many reasons, but one we repeatedly see is bereavement and loss.’

Pete Crosby, Lincoln Baptist Church community coordinator, said: ‘Bereavement among the homeless community is a reoccurring issue. Without specialist bereavement support these people will not overcome their grief and be able to get on with their lives.’

Cat Rodda is the bereavement counsellor leading the year-long project, and has already seen positive changes in those taking part. She said: ‘These sessions provide a confidential and accessible space for homeless people, who traditionally haven’t felt able to access the hospice’s bereavement support. We are already seeing individuals start to work through and better cope with their grief and taking steps to move forward with their lives.’

In addition to the counselling, the project aims to provide bereavement training for staff at partner organisations and for homeless peer mentors in order to widen the impact of the project.

Lincolnshire's Provincial Grand Master Dave Wheeler said: ‘People can find themselves living on the street for a variety of reasons. Life is already tough enough for the homeless, and the last thing they need is the extra burden of being alone whilst having to cope with the grief of bereavement.

‘The Masonic Charitable Foundation’s donation means that counsellors with the right kind of skills can be available to support them at such times, and I find it reassuring that we have made this wonderful initiative possible.’


Published Wed, 28 Aug 2019 00:00:00 +0100

Buckinghamshire Freemasons donate £15,000 to Carers Milton Keynes

Buckinghamshire Freemasons have donated £15,000 to help Carers Milton Keynes to both extend and continue to provide vital support to unpaid carers in the area

The grant comes via the Masonic Charitable Foundation and will help them to increase and improve the support given to older carers, specifically carers aged 50 or over.

Carers Milton Keynes is a charity which supports the health and wellbeing of unpaid carers looking after a family member, friend or neighbour who cannot manage without them due to illness, physical or learning disability, frailty, mental health issues or additional needs.

The support available from Carers Milton Keynes includes advice, information and guidance, emotional support and counselling, young carers and young adult carers support, carers support groups and training courses.

Carers Milton Keynes commented: 'This generous award will enable us to grow the service to its full potential.'


Published Mon, 19 Aug 2019 13:36:04 +0100
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