Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Tue, 21 May 2019 21:45:14 +0100
The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) welcomed members from across the globe to join the Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Kent, and Pro Grand Master, Peter Lowndes, for this year’s Craft and Royal Arch Annual Investitures at Freemasons' Hall
Investiture week saw the District Support Team of Lister Park and Louise Watts taking the opportunity to organise a number of District-centric events. On 24th April 2019, new District Grand Masters and Provincial Grand Masters were given a guided tour of Freemasons’ Hall, followed by a presentation and luncheon with the Chief Operating Officer of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, Les Hutchinson, and Senior Grant Officers.
A Workshop for District Grand Secretaries filled the afternoon before the day was concluded by a Fellowship Gathering for all District members, with their wives and significant others, in the Vestibules area outside the Grand Temple. It was a relaxed and informal evening hosted by Dr Jim Daniel, UGLE’s Past Grand Secretary, who gave a short and amusing welcome speech, alongside Willie Shackell CBE, another Past Grand Secretary, the Rt Hon Lord Wigram, Past Senior Grand Warden, and Bruce Clitherow, Past Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.
Following the Royal Arch festivities on 25th April 2019, District Grand Masters and their guests were then invited to join the Grand Secretary, Dr David Staples, for a relaxed drinks evening.
As a result of an organisational restructure at UGLE in January 2019, the department for Member Services, under the Directorship of Prity Lad, has a renewed focus on attracting new members and engaging with its existing membership.
Comprised of three key functions, the Registration Department, District Support and External Relations, they are committed to a common goal of making UGLE an organisation that is fit for purpose and an efficient headquarters for its members.
Prity Lad, UGLE’s Director of Member Services, said: ‘Being our first opportunity this year to welcome and entertain our District guests, these events were hugely important to us. It is our commitment to work in partnership with the Districts more closely than ever by creating a function of expertise, training and events and to support and raise the profile of the charitable work which our Districts are engaged in.
‘It was a huge honour for me to meet with many of those who attended and I look forward to working together over the next coming months. I would also like to give grateful thanks to Jim, Willie, Lord Wigram and Bruce for supporting this inaugural event, which we intend to be the first of many.’
Published Thu, 02 May 2019 00:00:00 +0100
The United Grand Lodge of England celebrated its epic Tercentenary celebration at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017 – and a DVD to mark the occasion is now available from Freemasons' Hall
Over 4,000 Freemasons from Provinces and Districts were joined by representatives from over 130 sovereign Grand Lodges from around the world to mark 300 years since the founding of the world’s first Grand Lodge for Freemasons.
The audience witnessed a theatrical extravaganza which embraced the rich history and heritage of Freemasonry and featured a cast of renowned actors including Sir Derek Jacobi, Samantha Bond and Sanjeev Bhaskar.
The DVD is free and available to anyone who visits Freemasons’ Hall – please ask for a copy at the front desk of the building. The DVDs were also distributed to Provincial Offices for all UGLE members.
Published Wed, 01 May 2019 11:36:45 +0100
United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is seeking to appoint a Director of Finance
UGLE was founded in 1717 and is an unincorporated association. It is the representative body of Freemasonry in England, Wales and the Channel Islands. This membership organisation is the largest secular, fraternal and charitable body in the UK with some 200,000 members.
UGLE is headquartered in Covent Garden, London, and employs some 100 people. The Director of Finance will be part of the Senior Management Team reporting to the Chief Executive and managing a team of 6. No prior knowledge of Freemasonry is required to fulfil this position. The role is anticipated to be 3 to 4 days per week.
Roles to include
- Managing operation, outputs and performance of finance team and providing them with guidance and leadership
- Ensuring UGLE maintains, presents and reports true and fair financial information
- Presentation of timely management accounts
- Driving annual budgetary and forecasting processes
- Long term financial and tax planning
- Liaising with other users of the building
- Integrating finance with other departments and overseeing membership billing
- Monitoring VAT and evaluating VAT status
- Compliance with all applicable statutory and regulatory frameworks
- Managing audit processes and relationships
- Qualified accountant (ICAEW, CIMA, ACCA) with at least 5 years management experience
- Excellent interpersonal, written and oral communications skills
- Discretion and confidentiality to facilitate trusted relationships
- Excellent management and prioritisation skills
- Analytical and constructive approach
- FRS 102 reporting
- IT Literate with knowledge of financial software
- Knowledge of VAT
- Team player
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Treasury/cash management
- Familiarity with membership organisation
- Knowledge of personal payment banking options
- Charity sector knowledge
- Listed building experience
- Cost recharging and occupational leases
- PAYE audit experience
- Risk Management
- Imaginative and strategic thinker
- Effective cost management and good negotiator
Competitive salary and terms package applies.
Part-time – Ideally 21 hours per week (flexible on hours/days).
To apply please send your CV and covering letter to:
Director of HR
United Grand Lodge of England
60 Great Queen Street
London WC2B 5AZ
Or via email to email@example.com
CVs received without a covering letter will not be considered.
Closing date for applications is Friday 10th May 2019.
Published Mon, 29 Apr 2019 13:56:32 +0100
Craft Annual Investiture
24 April 2019
An address by the MW The Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes
Brethren, I am sure you will agree that the Grand Temple is a magnificent sight at all times, but most particularly when it is full to bursting as it is today.
The first thing I must do today is congratulate all those brethren who have been reappointed, appointed to or promoted in Grand Rank. It is, I am sure, a well deserved honour, but, as always, let me stress this does not mean that you should sit back and rest on your laurels. Much more work is expected from you, brethren.
Looking back over the years it doesn’t seem to me that we ever thanked the outgoing officers. Many of the Acting Grand Officers of the year have been reappointed today and this would not have happened if they did not perform their duties in exemplary style and, mostly, retaining a sense of humour in the process.
For those who had term of office of one or more years, thank you for what you have done. Some will have been more involved than others, but you have all been part of the Grand Lodge spectacle.
I often mention retaining a sense of humour and as I have said in the past, this does not mean turning our ceremonies into pantomime events, but it does mean keeping everything in proportion. A mistake in the ritual or the ceremonial is not a matter of life and death and often has a humorous side to it, particularly when discussed later. Who here hasn’t made mistakes – I know I have frequently. However, I am sure we would all agree that a masonic ceremony performed well is a memorable occasion and let us all strive to perform to the best of our ability.
Brethren, today is a big occasion in all respects and it takes a huge amount of work behind the scenes by all those working in the secretariat and beyond, I think you will agree that they have done a splendid job.
That brings me to the actual ceremony. I have already made mention of the retiring Grand Director of Ceremonies and it is he who put the bricks in place for today and he and his team have conducted everything impeccably. I am sure we would all also like to offer the new Grand Director of Ceremonies the very best of luck for his time in office.
Thank you brethren for all those who have been involved in the organisation and thank all of you for being here.
Published Wed, 24 Apr 2019 00:00:00 +0100
This position has now closed
United Grand Lodge of England seeks a Desktop Publisher / Solomon Administrator on an initial 12-month fixed term contract
The successful applicant would be responsible for providing support to the Desktop Publisher either in their absence or by assisting them directly with the production of various publications, as well as printed and digital material.
Perform various administrative and digital publishing tasks as required to support the smooth execution of and continuous updating of Solomon.
*Training regarding the management of the Solomon database will be provided.
- Produce print-ready documentation
- Format existing documentation for print and digital publication
- Edit images and other files
- Catalogue and upload materials to and archive materials within Dropbox and Solomon
- Create and edit documents that conform to a pre-determined format
- Keep up to date with relevant technological advances
- Ensure data is preserved in a safe and secure environment
- Seek continuous improvement in performance and quality standards (of the job/role or the department or the staff as applicable)
- Set challenging personal and/or team targets and review them on a continuous basis as applicable
- Attend and positively contribute to meetings, seminars and project groups as required.
Suitable initial tasks:
As the person fulfilling this job role may have little to no knowledge of Masonic Protocol and other details e.g. the link between Grand Ranks and Masonic Prefixes, the tasks that they could perform efficiently would therefore be limited to primarily publishing and not those involving the collation or sorting of data. These could include (but are not limited to):
- Updating the Book of Constitutions
- Updating the List of Grand Officers within the Masonic Year Book
- Producing the Seating Booklet for the UGLE and SGC Luncheons
- Assisting other Members of Masonic Services and other Departments with digital and print publication queries
- Preparing documentation for publication
- Updating sections of publications which can be downloaded from ADelphi and formatted for style as opposed to content
- Liaising with printers and other suppliers
Must have skills:
- Comprehensive understanding of the following programs:
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Excel
- Adobe InDesign CS5.5 through to Adobe InDesign CC 2018
- Adobe Photoshop CS5.5 through to Adobe Photoshop CC 2018
- Adobe Illustrator CS5.5 through to Adobe Illustrator CC 2018
- Working knowledge of pre-press document set-up
- Good analytical, problem-solving and organisation skills
- Experience producing documents for publication
- Attention to detail
- Strong time management and ability to multi-task
- Approachable and willing to offer advice and assistance
- Practical knowledge of GDPR Regulations
- Good communication skills, both verbal and written
Competitive London salary.
BUPA private medical cover (option to add family at a premium)
Pension (3.5% employee & 9% employer contributions – increasing to 12% with length of service)
Holiday (25 days increasing to 30 days after 2 years’ service – terms and conditions apply)
Interest free season ticket loan
Subsidised Gym Membership
Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.
Published Thu, 11 Apr 2019 13:36:50 +0100
This position has now closed
United Grand Lodge of England is seeking a Security Officer to join the Facilities Department
The duties and responsibilities will be many and varied, but will be to assist in the provision of a high quality security service for the building and a high quality building support service for the users of the building.
- To ensure the safety and the security of members, staff, tenants, and visitors and guest at Freemasons’ Hall.
- To maintain accurate records, both in notebooks and as official incident reports, including any incident reporting software, and to take appropriate action to handle and contain incidents sensitively.
- To respond to all alarm activations including fire, access control, intruder and panic alarms and assist in the effective evacuation of the building in any emergency.
- To provide a high profile security operation and presence for the building in the Front Hall, at an entrance or by patrolling at specified intervals the clock points both within the building and around the perimeter of the outside of the building.
- To ensure rooms and doors are locked/unlocked according to the UGLE agreed policies.
- To issue and recover security passes for visitors.
- To give advice and directions to visitors to the building.
- To develop and maintain good working relationships with members, tenants and other UGLE departments and teams and to explain clearly the Security and Health & Safety regulations they need to understand, and provide them with information on security they require, so as to ensure their continuing support, understanding and assistance.
- To develop and maintain good working relationships with external authorities (including emergency services) to ensure their continuing support, understanding and assistance.
- To check and record items and deliveries leaving the building.
- To receive mail, but to carefully examine suspicious, unusual envelopes, packages or parcels, advising relevant Line Manager accordingly and contacting the relevant authority as required.
- To undertake random baggage searches as required.
- To handle telephone calls to the building outside the normal hours of operation of the switchboard.
- To collect and log any items of lost property.
- To turn off the lights in all rooms which are not being used.
- To ensure that all pertinent administrative systems are maintained.
- To render First Aid treatment/advice as necessary, and keep up-to-date with training.
- To carry out any other associated duties as required.
- To use a two–way radio and be available for call-out in an emergency.
- To report anything suspicious or any unusual behaviour to relevant Line Manager.
- To understand and follow Security Standing Orders and Assignment Instructions.
- To act in such a way as to ensure the health and safety and welfare of oneself and others.
- To be smartly dressed in the required uniform and to wear other security clothes as required.
Must have skills:
5 years verifiable work record in a customer service role
Minimum of 3 years relevant experience in a customer service role
Ability to work in a team and independently with a professional approach, which generates credibility and confidence in others.
Previous experience of working in a historic or listed building and/or a private members environment
The ability, tact and diplomacy to deal with people including our client, the client’s staff and visitors in all circumstances including emergencies and other times of stress.
Qualified First Aider
Flexibility and self-motivation with good organisation skills, ability to work with little direct supervision and to prioritise tasks if necessary on a daily basis.
A current SIA CCTV Licence
Excellent communication skills – both verbal and written
A current SIA Manned Guarding Licence/Door Supervision
Ability to listen to problems and to explain clearly actions to be taken
An excellent level of physical fitness to be able to perform patrol and emergency response duties efficiently and effectively.
A consistently smart appearance in the uniform provided and required by UGLE.
Ability to be vigilant at all times and notice details of what is happening.
Knowledge of the job and safe working practices (HASAW).
Competitive salary and terms package applies.
Thank you for your interest. The closing date for applications for this position has now closed.
Published Fri, 29 Mar 2019 08:35:18 +0000
13 March 2019
A talk by RW Bro John Pagella, Grand Superintendent of Works
Most Worshipful Pro Grand Master and Brethren
If you want to understand the responsibilities which you have as a Grand Lodge Officer you can do one of two things. Consult the Book of Constitutions, or speak to Graham Redman.
Rule 35 states – ‘The Grand Superintendent of Works shall advise the Board of General Purposes when required on any matter in connection with the building and the works. He shall furnish reports on the state of repair of the properties of the Grand Lodge when required’.
When I asked Graham if this meant that I simply had to submit periodic reports on necessary works we intended to carry out to keep this building in repair his reply was to the effect that ‘well - you may find that in practice it is rather more than that’
He was right.
I will start with Freemasons’ Hall.
You are surrounded in the Grand Temple by the centrepiece of one of this country’s foremost art deco buildings with a heritage value sustained by the fact that it remains today in use for the purpose for which it was originally designed and built. We are in the middle of a Conservation Area, and the building itself is Listed Grade 11*. What this means in practice is that anything which we do which affects the exterior of the building requires planning permission, and anything other than very minor like for like repairs to both the interior and the exterior must be notified to, and approved by, the Conservation Officer.
Planning Officers have to work within National Planning Policy Guidelines, and they are required to implement Local Plan Policies. Conservation Officers on the other hand have responsibility for protecting the heritage value of buildings of architectural and historic interest which, by their nature, are individual. They have wide ranging powers, which frequently involve subjective judgements which, even with professional advice, can be hard to predict.
Carrying out work to a listed building which requires, but does not have, Listed Building consent is a criminal offence. As I have no wish to return to address Grand Lodge on my experience as Grand Superintendent of Works after 12 months in Ford Prison I treat the need for works in this building to be approved by the Conservation Officer with the utmost care and respect.
Late and unexpected interventions by the Conservation Officer can be a very real problem, as we discovered when we renewed the West Door steps. To avoid this in the future we are at an early stage in negotiations with the Conservation Officer and Historic England for an HPA, a Heritage Partnership Agreement, which will give pre-approval in principle to specified works which we are likely to carry out, often repeatedly. Examples range from future phases of repairs to the building’s steel frame ( Regents Street Disease ), through work to repair and refurbish the many original toilets in the building ( not very glamorous, but nevertheless necessary ) down to the specification of the paint to be used when redecorating some of the more elaborately embellished Lodge Rooms.
HPAs are complex, time consuming, and costly, but the prize is securing for UGLE ownership and control of the timing and phasing of major works of repair which we need to carry out.
Keeping a building in repair can require reacting to the unexpected, but for the most part it can be anticipated through planned property maintenance. We are working to a ten-year time horizon in implementing recommended works within this building so that, for example, phased repairs to deal with RSD will include routine maintenance and general repairs within the same area. As far as possible once we have access to any hard to reach area within this building, or for that matter any area, our aim is to complete all necessary work properly and to a high standard so that an early return is not needed.
I have concentrated up to this point on repair, but the more interesting challenge is working to deliver changes to the way in which Freemasonry needs to use Freemasons’ Hall to support the vision of the Craft’s place in society today which the Grand Secretary outlined at the Quarterly Communication in December.
Freemasons’ Hall is and will remain a Masonic building, but our needs are changing. Many of you will know from personal experience that most of the Lodge Rooms here in Freemasons’ Hall, with the notable exception of Lodge Room No 10, were designed to accommodate meetings with an attendance of between 70 and 80. Today average attendance is in the mid 20s.
We cannot subdivide Lodge Rooms in response to this. Their scale and proportions were an important element within the original design of the building, and we know that any attempt to change this would meet with strong opposition from the Conservation Officer.
We can, however, adapt space to form smaller Lodge Rooms from accommodation in the building designed for other uses. Examples of where this has been achieved are the conversion of two committee rooms on the Sussex Corridor to provide two Chapter Rooms, and the three Lodge Rooms created on the third floor in what was originally two caretaker’s flats.
While these changes take place we are also looking at how this building can play its part in encouraging a wider understanding of Freemasonry in society. This means improving public access, both generally and through supporting outside hire events. Both encourage improved awareness, while providing the opportunity for education through community engagement.
Improving public access, while at the same time meeting the continuing needs of UGLE as well as those of MetGL, the Library & Museum and the Masonic Charitable Foundation is far from straightforward, and we always have to keep in mind that our ideas and ambitions may not always meet with approval from the Conservation Officer if work is involved requiring Listed Building Consent.
I don’t want to overstate the problem. There are projects which receive immediate support, at least in principle.
Freemasons’ Hall, like many public buildings, fails to provide enough female toilets. The building was designed to provide toilets for the convenience of members, and the paid employees of Grand Lodge were thought unlikely to include women. How the world has changed.
We have legal obligations to provide facilities for both men and women who work in the building, and if we are serious in wanting to host events such as Letters Live and London Fashion Week we must provide facilities which are as good, if not better, than competing venues. The unisex toilets off the vestibule and those on the floor below meet this need, and as we approach the refurbishment of the Gallery Suite to improve the facilities available for Masonic use and outside hire in what was Lodge Room 1 and its ante room, we will be restoring to their original use nearby toilets on the lower ground floor. These will, however, be designed with flexible male / female use use in mind.
As I and others on the Hall Committee oversee these projects I do so in the knowledge that my responsibilities as Grand Superintendent of Works do not end at the front door.
From the very early years of Freemasonry, Grand Lodge has owned a number of buildings in Great Queen Street. These include the Grand Connaught Rooms and the Sway nightclub, together with most of the buildings opposite on the north side of Great Queen Street. They are in the same Conservation Area as Freemasons’ Hall, and many of them are listed, including several which are Grade 11 *.
A diverse property portfolio such as this is by its nature management intensive, and just over 10 years ago the Board of General Purposes received a report from the then Grand Superintendent of Works John Edgcumbe drawing attention to the possibility of selling the properties to reinvest in a modern, well let commercial property which might provide better growth prospects without the need for continuous oversight, and periodic investment in refurbishment and repair.
Mindful of the importance which heritage has to Freemasonry, and the fact that ownership provides control over the setting of Freemasons’ Hall, the decision was taken by the Board that the buildings should be retained.
Maximising value by improving tenant mix, and income quality, while refurbishing and modernising the properties where necessary, became a long-term objective of the Property Investment Committee chaired by the Grand Treasurer, Quentin Humberstone. As well as being Grand Superintendent of Works I am a Chartered Surveyor with practical experience of property investment and asset management, and the valuation of commercial properties. With this background I should perhaps have expected that my work would extend beyond looking after Freemasons’ Hall to include contributing to the work of the Property Investment Committee.
Pausing at this point it is perhaps worth drawing attention to the fact that the Property Investment Committee’s investment objectives have served Grand Lodge well.
The accounts of Grand Lodge are not exactly bedtime reading, but in 2006 the north side of Great Queen Street had a book value in the region of £14.5m. By 2011 an external independent valuation confirmed that the value of the whole portfolio including the Grand Connaught Rooms, and with the benefit of investment in the refurbishment of several of the properties, had risen to £31.1m, and as at 31st December 2017 the figure in the UGLE accounts was just over £56.5m. You must wait for publication of the 2018 accounts for the corresponding value as at December last year, but I can reveal that a further increase in value will be reported.
Given the long-term commitment of Grand Lodge to holding this portfolio improvements in capital value, while reassuring, are perhaps less important than rental income. This is currently just over £2.5m pa. which contributes to the investment income which is available for Grand Lodge to maintain, repair and improve Freemasons’ Hall without making a call on individual members’ Grand Lodge dues.
Masonic ownership of land and building extends well beyond Great Queen Street to the many Masonic Halls and Centres throughout the country. These are the responsibility of their owners. Whilst Freemasonry is a Craft, running and managing Masonic Halls and Centres is a business. Over the years there have been many successes, but occasionally things have gone wrong, and the accompanying adverse publicity compromises years of hard work in promoting the reputation of Freemasonry for the better.
We have within our membership valuable knowledge and experience of how to manage a Masonic Hall and Centre in a way which is both sustainable, and financially viable. What we did not have until recently was a reference resource which brought together in one place experience and best practice. This gap was recognised by the Membership Focus Group in 2015 which set up a Masonic Halls Working Group tasked with creating a Guidance Manual to share knowledge of best practise.
Unlike the Book of Constitutions compliance with the Guidance Manual is not mandatory, although ignoring advice inevitably leaves room for criticism if things go wrong.
As Grand Superintendent of Works I am now responsible for issuing updates to the Masonic Halls Best Practise Guidance Manual. Working with a Steering Group we issue periodic updates – best practise is not static. It evolves in the light of new legislation, and widened experience. We hold annual seminars here at Freemasons’ Hall as a way of making sure that Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works and those looking after Masonic Halls and Centres can contribute their knowledge and experience to the Guidance Manual and its advice.
As Grand Superintendent of Works here at Grand Lodge I am as much a user of the Guidance Manual as my counterparts in MetGL and across the Provinces.
As you can see Graham Redman was correct when he explained to me that I would be spending my time doing rather more than simply submiting periodic reports to the Board of General Purposes on the condition of this building.
Published Wed, 13 Mar 2019 12:16:48 +0000
13 March 2019
An address by the MW the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes
Brethren, I have recently had the privilege of visiting a number of our Districts, and although each trip was a unique experience, I became acutely aware that they all had something striking in common – how well the local Freemasons are an integral, and highly visible, part of their local communities. This January, the Deputy Grand Master had the pleasure of installing the new District Grand Master for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. Amongst the various Masonic activities, he took part in a large procession, in full regalia, to the local Cathedral for the Sunday service. He tells me the sense of pride from the members and their families was overwhelming. This was a group of men who are supported and encouraged by their families, and are warmly welcomed by the communities in which they reside. There was no sense of trying to hide the fact that they are Freemasons or justifying why they are members. It was simply the case that Freemasonry was not just an integral part of their lives, but also the lives of those around them.
Brethren, it could be seen as being fairly obvious that where a member has the support and backing of his family, he will fare better. What is not so obvious is the underlying need to encourage and nurture that support network. Bringing our families, and indeed our communities, into the fold, so to speak, is in my opinion vital to the future success of the Craft and it is telling that a number of Provinces now interview prospective candidates along with their partners present so that they too can ask questions and understand who we are and what we do.
Programmes of events designed to assist and engage with those around us will go a long way towards educating the two fifths of the public who know that we exist, but have no idea what we do, and you will soon hear about some National Initiatives we are planning to accomplish just this. The Districts certainly have a winning formula in this respect. In each District I have visited, families have been heavily involved in the events surrounding our visits. When we bear in mind that the Districts are growing by 10 per cent year on year on average, we may be able to learn a few things from them.
I was thinking recently on how much time Freemasons in the UK spend on unpaid charitable, philanthropic, or civic activities. This includes those things our members do for others with an educational, sporting, charitable, religious or military bent; what they do for others in any spare time they might have when they are not in Lodge or learning ritual!
We have looked into this and it will not surprise you to learn that early indications suggest that our members spend millions of hours collectively giving of themselves for the benefit of others.
I began to think how one might possibly put an hourly ‘value’ on the contributions that our members make to their communities and the people around them, but then the core values that all Freemasons hold in high estimation cannot be quantified. How can we ‘calculate’ our contributions? There seems to be a clear link between what we do ‘as Freemasons’ and what we do as good members of our community.
Returning to the Deputy Grand Master’s trip to Antigua, Members, and their families, were proud, and it showed immensely. That visibility, engagement and sense of pride at both being a Freemason and a good person were palpable, and that obvious connection has been passed down through generations of Masons in our ritual – Freemasonry does indeed “rest upon the practice of every Moral and Social virtue”.
We all should be striving towards ensuring that we are visible, engaged and proud of our achievements, both as Freemasons and as people.
Brethren, we are referees, volunteer readers in school, church wardens, members of care home boards, Rotarians, poppy sellers and countless other ‘volunteer’ positions. Most of these will have nothing or very little to do with our Lodges or Province, but they all have a connection to a fundamental aspect of Freemasonry – making a positive impact in the lives of others. And Brethren, we certainly need to be more visible and more proud of these roles if we are to positively define what Freemasonry stands for to the next generation. Also, Brethren, if I were a betting man, which I am not, - well just the odd flutter - I would certainly have a bet that the Provinces that have the most family involvement are those with the best membership statistics. Let us all work on this aspect.
Published Wed, 13 Mar 2019 12:05:41 +0000
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
13 March 2019
Report of the Board of General Purposes
The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 12 December 2018 were confirmed.
Election of the Grand Master
HRH The Duke of Kent was re-elected as Grand Master.
Grand Lodge Register 2009-2018
The tables below show the number of Lodges on the Register and of Certificates issued during the past ten years.
Charges for warrants
In accordance with the provisions of Rule 270A, Book of Constitutions, the Board has considered the costs of preparing the actual documents specified in this Rule and recommends that for the year commencing 1 April 2019 the charges (exclusive of VAT) shall be as follows:
Installed Masters' Lodges
In December 2012 the wording of Rules 269 and 271 in relation to the definition of an Installed Masters’ Lodge was amended to include those Installed Masters’ Lodges serving a group of Lodges with a common affiliation. Because of the way the amendment was framed, the last sentence of each Rule was inadvertently omitted in the next and all subsequent reprints of the Book of Constitutions.
The Board, having considered the matter, is of the view that for the avoidance of doubt the lost wording should be restored by way of a formal amendment to the two Rules, and that for ease of reference the full wording of each Rule should be printed in the Paper of Business.
The Board has received a report that Cleddau Lodge, No. 6952 has resolved to surrender its Warrant in order to amalgamate with Cambrian Lodge, No. 464 (West Wales).
The Board accordingly recommends that the Lodge be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamation.
Erasure of lodges
The Board has received a report that 13 Lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The Lodges are:
Ellesmere Lodge, No. 3068 (West Lancashire), Hillingdon Lodge, No. 3174 (Middlesex), Ashfield Lodge, No. 4129 (Cheshire), Meridian Lodge, No. 5060 (Cheshire), Hadrian Lodge, No. 5216 (Cumberland and Westmorland), Byerley Lodge, No. 7853 (Durham), Lodge of Friendship, No. 7902 (Worcestershire), Ancient of Days Lodge, No. 9230 (West Kent), Caer Estyn Lodge, No. 9252 (North Wales), Southwood Lodge, No. 9293 (West Kent), Service above Self Lodge, No. 9537 (Durham), Black Country Heritage Lodge, No. 9702 (Staffordshire), and Essex Millennium Lodge, No. 9729 (Essex)
Over recent years, the Lodges have found themselves no longer viable. The Board is satisfied that further efforts to save them would be to no avail and therefore has no alternative but to recommend that they be erased. A Resolution to this effect was approved.
Amendments to the Book of Constitutions
For the next Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge, the President of the Board of General Purposes to move:
a. That Rule 269 be amended to read:
“269. There shall be payable to the Fund of General Purposes annual dues inrespect of each of its members by every Lodge
(i) in England and Wales that isunattached
(ii) in a Metropolitan Area or a Province
(iii) in a District and
(iv) abroad not in a District of such respective amounts as shall be fixed for each calendar year by resolution of the Grand Lodge in the preceding June.
Provided that any Lodge in a Metropolitan Area, Province, District or Group that is from time to time determined by the Board of General Purposes to be a Lodge the membership of which is restricted to Brethren who are Installed Masters but which is otherwise open without further restriction to all Brethren either within the relevant Metropolitan Area, Province, District or Group, or within a group of Lodges linked together by a common purpose or affiliation, shall pay annual dues in respect of those Brethren only who are not members of any other Lodge, and in the case of a Brother who is a member only of one or more such Lodges restricted to Installed Masters the Lodge of which he has been longest a member shall alone pay annual dues in respect of him. Such a Brother shall pay, by way of annual subscription, an additional amount equal to the dues payable in respect of him by such Lodge, but such additional amount shall be disregarded in determining for the purposes of Rule 145 whether all the members of the Lodge entitled to the same privileges pay the same subscription.”
b. That Rule 271 be amended to read:
“271. There shall be payable to The Masonic Charitable Foundation by every Lodge in a Metropolitan Area or a Province or in England and Wales that is unattached in respect of each of its members annual contributions of not less than such amount as shall be fixed for each calendar year by resolution of the Grand Lodge in the preceding June. (No payment is due in respect of members of Lodges Overseas).
Provided that any Lodge in a Metropolitan Area or Province that is from time to time determined by the Board of General Purposes to be a Lodge the membership of which is restricted to Brethren who are Installed Masters but which is otherwise open without further restriction to all Brethren either within the relevant Metropolitan Area or Province, or within a group of Lodges linked together by a common purpose or affiliation, shall pay annual contributions in respect of those Brethren only who are not members of anyother Lodge, and in the case of a Brother who is a member only of one or more such Lodges restricted to Installed Masters the Lodge of which he has been longest a member shall alone pay the annual contribution in respect of him. Such a Brother shall pay, by way of annual subscription, a further additional amount equal to the annual contribution payable in respect of him by such Lodge, but such additional amount shall be disregarded in determining for thepurposes of Rule 145 whether all the members of the Lodge entitled to the same privileges pay the same subscription.”
Presentatation to Grand Lodge
A talk on A year in the life of the Grand Superintendent of Works by RW Bro John Pagella, PJGW, Grand Superintendent of Works.
List of new lodges
List of new lodges for which warrants have been granted by The MW The Grand Master, showing the dates from which their Warrants became effective with date of Warrant, location area, number and name of lodge are:
14 November 2018
9972 Hinckley Lodge of Installed Masters, Hinckley, Leicestershire and Rutland
9973 Epicurean Lodge, Kingston, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands
9974 Ruck and Maul Lodge, Marsh Baldon, Oxfordshire
12 December 2018
9975 Fidelity Lodge, Avellaneda, South America, Southern Division
9976 Ferring Contemporary Lodge, Worthing, Sussex
9977 Aubrey Shervington Jacobs Lodge, Kingston, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
A Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge is held on the second Wednesday in March, June, September and December. The next will be at noon on Wednesday, 13 June 2019. Subsequent Communications will be held on 11 September 2019, 11 December 2019, 11 March 2020 and 10 June 2020.
The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 24 April 2019), and admission is by ticket only.
Supreme Grand Chapter
Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter are held on the second Wednesday in November and the day following the Annual Investiture of Grand Lodge. Future Convocations will be held on 25 April 2019, 13 November 2019 and 30 April 2020.
Published Wed, 13 Mar 2019 00:00:00 +0000
From the Grand Secretary
Having been privileged to have participated in the Installation of its new District Grand Master, I am fortunate enough to be writing this from our sun-soaked District of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
As a doctor, I was always on the lookout for medical conferences in exotic places that happened to coincide with local lodge meetings. Escaping the ‘conference dinner’ in favour of meeting local brethren was never a difficult choice, and in the space of an evening I would find out, from those that knew, what was really worth doing and visiting for the remainder of my stay.
Our Districts are, and always have been, an integral and important part of the United Grand Lodge of England. For hundreds of years, they have represented and practised the finest values of English Freemasonry in far-flung corners of the globe. They count amongst their members those with power and influence, and those with little, and often bring together people who traditionally might not be easy bedfellows – much more so than we do in England. It is my stated intention to ensure that UGLE works ever more closely with our Districts and that we are able to recognise and support them in tackling not only the problems common to us all, but also those unique problems pertinent to their countries and environments.
Our Districts, of course, have many things to teach us. I have noticed that whilst it is always dangerous to generalise, the Districts I have visited differ from our Provinces in two respects. Firstly, I am struck by how important ‘family’ is to their success – and bear in mind that they are growing an average of 10 per cent year on year. Events which routinely include wives, partners and ‘significant others’ increase the sense of community and normality of their day-to-day business.
Secondly, they are much more visible in the communities they are drawn from. In terms of the time they give to serve those around them, they seem proportionally much more engaged with local events and issues than we are back in England.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ method for success – our lodges, Districts, Provinces and indeed members are not, cannot and should not all be the same. Climates of political and religious hostility or tolerance exist to varying degrees across the globe. I am minded of a certain District where religious leaders are openly calling for ‘a coffin for each Freemason’ as a way to deal with the ‘problem’. Such obvious persecution rather puts our own press in perspective, but one thing I feel it illustrates is that we must become known for who we really are, what we stand for and what we do in our communities in order to counter such abject prejudice and nonsense.
There are those members who feel that we should go about our business quietly with as little publicity or fuss as possible. Whilst respecting those of that opinion, they are wrong. Freemasonry must be associated in people’s minds with who we are, what we value and what we do if we are to have any chance of rehabilitating our reputation, and recent polling data shows that it is, indeed, in need of rehabilitation. In today’s age, burying our heads in the sand with a ‘who cares what they think’ attitude will, plainly and simply, seriously damage us further.
We must do everything we can, individually and as lodges and Provinces, to counter some of the unhelpful stereotypes we have picked up. How can we be viewed as secret if we are seen and known in our communities? How so sinister if those whose lives we touch think of us with fondness and gratitude? In an uncertain world, the masonic principles of integrity, respect and charity ring as true today as they ever have before. As W Bro the Right Reverend Albert Lewis, the District Grand Chaplain of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, said in his sermon yesterday at St John’s Cathedral, Antigua – ‘Get out there and do something worthwhile’.
So brethren, if you are travelling this summer, or are abroad with work, and have a few evenings spare, be sure to contact your Provincial Secretary. Broaden your visiting horizons, do your part to bring our masonic family closer together and be sure to make the acquaintance of your brethren in our Districts overseas. And if you are reading this from a far-flung corner of a forgotten empire, and your curiosity has been piqued, you can be assured of a warm welcome should you be visiting London or our home Provinces.
Dr David Staples
‘I’m struck by how important ‘family’ is to our Districts’ success… events which routinely include wives and ‘significant others’ increase the sense of normality of their day-to-day business’
Published Fri, 08 Mar 2019 00:00:00 +0000
Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Tue, 21 May 2019 21:45:14 +0100
At a Gala Dinner and fundraising event, a cheque for £25,000 was presented to the Neuromuscular Centre on behalf of the Cheshire Freemasons’ Charity
The centre is based in Winsford and support those in need from across the whole of Cheshire, the Wirral and beyond. The donation will enable the centre to purchase specialised equipment including two Thera Trainer Bikes, which will be used in the Neuromuscular Gym, and 27 pairs of specialist orthotics gloves, which give a range of positive outcomes. The benefit of using orthosis may be the difference between an individual being able to ‘drive’ a wheelchair independently or not. Separately, funds will also be used to purchase powered wheelchairs.
Matthew Lanham, the Neuromuscular Centre’s Chief Executive, said: ‘I want to say a huge thank you to Cheshire Freemasons, as well as the South Cheshire Masonic Golf Society (SCMGS) who organised the event. The bikes we will now purchase will make a life changing difference to so many. People with muscular dystrophy have very little muscle strength, but still need to exercise to stay healthy. This donation will make that possible for hundreds of people.’
Matthew also went on to thank the SCMGS for some other specialist orthotic equipment to enable people with muscular dystrophy to keep on using their hands and fingers to do everyday tasks for longer.
On the night, which was in memory of Chester Freemason Gil Auckland, one of the driving forces behind the success of the society’s charity fundraising, a wheelchair was donated to Lee Herbert.
Lee, who receives treatment at the Winsford Centre, was thrilled to receive the modern and sophisticated powered wheelchair saying: ‘I am very grateful to the SCMGS for my new power wheelchair. It has changed my life for the better and helps me a lot with my daily life. I can get out more and really enjoy life. I’m so appreciative of your kind generosity.’
The South Cheshire Masonic Golf Society was originally formed by golfing Freemasons from Upton and Chester Golf Clubs, with their prime aim to raise funds for good causes in Cheshire. However, after some years it was decided to support the Peter Alliss Wheelchair Appeal. The South Cheshire Masonic Golf Society provided the Peter Alliss Appeal with donations of many thousands of pounds from 1974 to 2016, resulting in the purchase of 55 powered wheelchairs for deserving recipients.
In 2018, a slight shift to provide disability aids to a wider range of beneficiaries has been made by the society members and they have selected the Neuromuscular Centre in Winsford as a major recipient for 2018/19.
Published Tue, 21 May 2019 00:00:00 +0100
Nottinghamshire Freemasons hosted a special evening at their headquarters on 5 April 2019, where they donated £8,000 in recognition and support of the life-saving work on prostate cancer carried out by Jyoti Shah and Sarah Minns
Jyoti Shah, Macmillan Consultant Urological Surgeon with University Hospitals of Derby & Burton NHS Foundation Trust, along with Sarah Minns, specialist Macmillan Nurse, operate an innovative health campaign designed to raise awareness of prostate cancer and alleviate the ‘fear factor’ of being screened.
The ‘Inspire Health: Fighting Prostate Cancer’ campaign, which has been running since early 2016, enables men to seek advice and get screened by visiting a ‘pop-up’ clinic in venues based within local communities across the region where they feel more comfortable and which are easily accessible. There is no charge to attend a screening event, with costs covered by donations and fundraising.
When it comes to prostate cancer, the numbers are damning. In this country, prostate cancer claims a new victim every 45 minutes. It is the number one cancer in men, with one in eight men over the age of 50 being diagnosed.
At the event, held at their headquarters in Goldsmith Street, Nottingham, both Jyoti Shah and Sarah Minns were in attendance, alongside Philip Marshall, the Provincial Grand Master of Nottinghamshire, his wife Ann, along with other masonic leaders, their spouses and partners. Other attendees includes VIPs from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and local Freemasons and their spouses and partners, gathered in support of this life-saving campaign.
Whilst handing over a cheque for £8,000 to Jyoti and Sarah, Philip Marshall said: 'Nottinghamshire Freemasons are proud to be associated with this campaign which, though based in Derbyshire, benefits the male population of Nottinghamshire where several screening sessions have taken place.'
Jyoti and Sarah Minns were also presented with two other cheques, each for £1,000, from other masonic leaders.
Also in attendance at the event were volunteers from Derbyshire Blood Bikes, co-ordinator, Mark Vallis, and Nottinghamshire Blood Bikes, Jim McRury. The former being presented with a cheque for £1,000 and the latter £500. Mark personally delivers blood samples from the screening sessions, wherever in the UK), to the lab at Queens Hospital, Burton, on a twice-daily basis. The Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes provide a free transportation service to the National Health Service.
For more information on prostate cancer screening, please contact your GP.
Published Fri, 17 May 2019 00:00:00 +0100
Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire Freemasons have raised over £30,000 to help a local homeless charity purchase a much-needed new van, to enable it to expand its work within the community
The 3 Pillars Feeding The Homeless Trust in Peterborough were presented with the keys to a brand new van by Max Bayes, the Provincial Grand Master of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, on 11th April 2019, to be used across Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. This now allows the original van to be redeployed in Wellingborough to extend support to the homeless in that area.
The Trust has served the homeless community in Peterborough since 2016, offering a feeding station providing food, clothing, tents, sleeping bags and toiletries to those in need in the city. It can be found every Tuesday and Thursday at the rear of The Brewery Tap Pub, operating from the van in the car park.
Formed by local Freemasons Ged Dempsey and Mick Pescod, the charity has grown substantially with continued support from Freemasons, individuals and local businesses, and on any given night can be seen helping between 60 and 80 persons who have fallen on hard times.
It is so named `3 Pillars`, because like Freemasonry, it is built on the three principles of respect for others, charitable giving, and being true and honest to yourself and those in the community.
The work of the Trust epitomises these principles, as Co-Founder Ged Dempsey explains: ‘The charity illustrates the work of Freemasons within the community, with volunteers offering either their time as helpers or by making monetary or other donations of clothing, blankets or personal commodities that may be needed.
'Some of our volunteers are not Freemasons, but all work together for a common good and to benefit the wider public – the response has been overwhelming.’
However, the work of The Trust goes much further by liaising with other agencies such as the YMCA to help those who visit the feeding station to get off the streets and reintegrate again into society. Provincial Grand Master Max Bayes sees the work done here as vitally important, commenting: ‘You need to be able to `break the circle` from dependency, and to offer hope to people and a possible solution to their plight. It is vital any support must be a ‘hand up’ and not just a ‘hand out.’
The Trust have now helped to find accommodation for many distressed individuals, also providing bedding, kitchen utensils and equipment, and will make a donation to the YMCA to cover a short period of rent to help relieve the initial pressures associated with integration back into society.
More volunteers are always needed and The 3 Pillars Feeding the Homeless Trust can be contacted via their Facebook Page.
Published Thu, 16 May 2019 00:00:00 +0100
From Hill to High Water
Dorset Freemasons have presented Dorset Search and Rescue (DorSAR) with a donation of more than £3,000 to support their work
The Lodge of St Cuthberga No. 622 in Wimborne raised funds with lodge raffles and social occasions throughout the year. At a remote location in Dorset and during a break in training, members of the lodge presented DorSAR with a cheque for £3,062.
DorSAR is a team of highly trained volunteers who work with the police, coastguard and other emergency services. They assist in the search and recovery of missing persons and items, plus specialist water rescue. Called into action via Dorset Police, DorSAR are able to offer considerable resources to support the county's emergency services with over 80 specialised volunteer search and rescue personnel.
Paul Martin of DorSAR said: 'It costs approximately £400 to fully equip a volunteer and our control vehicle, which we require at major incidents, is in need of maintenance. The money raised by Dorset Freemasons will help towards equipment and transport.'
Andy Gale, the outgoing Master of the Lodge of St Cuthberga, said: 'I am delighted that this money will help DorSAR save lives here in Dorset.'
Published Thu, 16 May 2019 00:00:00 +0100
More than 200 disadvantaged children will experience life on a real working farm, thanks to a grant of £63,000 from Devonshire freemasons to Farms for City Children
The charity’s founders, acclaimed Warhorse author Sir Michael Morpurgo and his wife Clare, Lady Morpurgo, were both at Nethercott to welcome members of the Devonshire Freemasons and also took time to read to the visiting children from an inner city Plymouth School a story from one of his latest books.
The charity welcomes over 3,000 primary school children and their teachers each year from disadvantaged urban areas to one of their three farms in Devonshire, Gloucestershire and Pembrokeshire.
During their seven day stay the children live and work on the farm, explore the countryside around them and find out where food really comes from. They also discover self-confidence as they conquer fears and grow in self-belief as they overcome challenges working as a team to get tasks done. They develop new friendships and learn to see a bigger, brighter future than they ever thought existed beyond their crowded city horizons.
For many of the visiting children the true cost of this fully immersive seven day stay is beyond their reach so the charity subsidises every single child’s visit by at least £300.
The grant of £63,000 from Devonshire freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Tim Rose, Farm School Manager at the charity’s founding farm at Iddesleigh in Devon, said: 'We’re really grateful to Devonshire Freemasons for their generous grant. Each week we see children from inner cities blossom on the farm – they discover confidence, challenge themselves to achieve so much more than they think they could and revel in the great outdoors.'
Ian Kingsbury, Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire, said: 'I’m delighted we were able to help Farms for City Children, who do outstanding work helping disadvantaged children from right across Devon and beyond. The experience they offer these children can be life-changing, including improved behaviour at school which can give them a chance to make the most of their education.
'Being a local resident it has often been my pleasure to be onsite when the children are there and have seen the benefit they gain from their time on the farm.'
Published Wed, 15 May 2019 00:00:00 +0100
Freemasonry hit a high note when Devonshire Freemasons became the first mixed male and female masonic choir in the country
Their first performance was held at the Annual Provincial Grand Lodge meeting in Torquay in April 2019.
Permission was sought from the Provincial Grand Master Ian Kingsbury, who enthusiastically supported the formation of a choir which included women Freemasons.
The Devonshire Masonic Choir was formed in 2017 with male Freemasons only, although it was decided at their second AGM, by a majority, to include women Freemasons in their ranks.
The ladies have brought with them an extra dimension of sound, with their enthusiasm and ability adding to the total enjoyment of participation in song.
The aim of the Choir is to help raise much-needed funds for various masonic and non-masonic charities, whilst being able to entertain groups throughout Devon and also enjoying themselves.
Although still in their relative infancy, the Devonshire Masonic Choir has already performed at many charitable functions.
Published Mon, 13 May 2019 00:00:00 +0100
London Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation have donated £50,000 to London-based specialist charity Autistica, to aid research and testing in the home environment of a widely used tool to help young autistic children communicate at school
This new study is the first of its kind, led by parents, to assess the use of PECS, the Picture Exchange Communication System, in the home. The project celebrated recently with a visit to Queensmill School in Shepherds Bush, West London, a leading school for autistic children.
More than one in four autistic people speak few or no words. PECS, a series of picture cards, is widely used in schools for children with communication problems, and can help children make requests for important needs. This study is part-funded by London Freemasons, in addition to funding from a major donor and other small trusts and foundations.
Jo, whose son Freddie struggled to speak when he was younger, said: 'We knew that intervening early was key to improving his communication skills, but it felt like time was ticking to find something that worked. There was a lot of trial and error. I hope this research will mean other parents won’t have to face the same lack of guidance we did.'
Sixty four young children will take part in the study led by Dr Vicky Slonims from Evelina Children’s Hospital and King’s College London. Half will use PECS, half will not. Parents will record requests made by their children in an app and a small body camera will be worn by the child to show researchers how they are communicating. If PECS is found to be effective, it could become part of crucial early intervention training offered to parents of children with speech delays.
Dr. James Cusack, Director of Science at Autistica, explains: 'We’re very grateful to London Freemasons for their generous grant. When minimally verbal children reach school age, they can show very little improvement in speech of communication skills. It’s therefore essential that we give parents and children the evidence-based tools they need as early as possible.'
Adrian Fox, from London Freemasons, visited Queensmill School with Autistica to celebrate the launch of the project, said: 'I’m really pleased we’ve been able to support this excellent project from Autistica. This is essential research that could transform the lives of thousands of autistic children and their families across the country and around the world.'
Published Mon, 13 May 2019 00:00:00 +0100
Hundreds of local children will be able to take part in the year-long Prince William Award experience, thanks to a £150,000 grant to the education charity SkillForce from Derbyshire Freemasons
Derbyshire Freemasons have committed to support SkillForce for the next three years, with a large part of the donation going towards supporting programmes for pupils in Derby.
The Prince William Award is currently being delivered in ten schools across Derbyshire to a total of 686 pupils, with SkillForce’s education programmes being predominantly delivered by former service personnel. SkillForce delivers the Prince William Award and its shorter SkillForce Prince’s Award in more than 300 schools nationwide, helping children and young people to boost their confidence, resilience, and self-esteem.
The Prince William Award is the only one of its kind and the only Award in HRH The Duke of Cambridge’s name. It is a year-long experience for six to 14 year olds which was launched in 2017 and is now on track to be delivered to 13,000 children across the UK this academic year.
Derbyshire Freemasons have previously supported SkillForce and made this latest grant as part of their commitment to encouraging opportunity, promoting independence and improving wellbeing. Representatives from the organisation visited pupils at Akaal Primary school in Derby on Friday 5th May to see the Award in action.
The grant from Derbyshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
SkillForce CEO, Ben Slade said: 'We’re extremely grateful to Derbyshire Freemasons for their very generous grant. They have supported us previously and this new donation means a great deal to us and the young people we work with around the UK, and especially in Derbyshire. We believe that every child deserves the chance to be the best that they can be and the money given by the Freemasons is helping us to continue to make sure that happens.'
Steven Varley, Provincial Grand Master of Derbyshire, said: 'I’m very pleased we’ve been able to support SkillForce in delivering the Prince William Award (PWA). It’s a great scheme that gives local children the chance to find out what they’re made of and to develop the confidence and resilience that will be hugely important for them as they grow into adulthood. It was so exciting to see out future interacting so well with the PWA and developing their confidence and abilities in what is a challenging world.'
Natalija, aged 6, said: 'I am really enjoying the PWA, it is helping me lots with my confidence. It was nice to meet the new people today and show them around my school.'
Rajvir, aged 7, said: 'It was interesting to hear about the freemasons and how they have different chains. The PWA has really helped me with my friendships and now I am able to get along with people better.'
At The Prince William Award inaugural graduation ceremony last year HRH The Duke of Cambridge Prince William said: 'At a young age, children need to learn the tools to deal with such challenges; the tools to develop their self-esteem, confidence and resilience to lead happy, healthy lives and to succeed and thrive.
'Good academic results are, of course important, but strength of character - the confidence to stand up and be counted and the ability to keep going in the face of adversity are essential if young people are to flourish.'
Published Fri, 10 May 2019 00:00:00 +0100
The West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity (WLFC) were quick to respond with a £25,000 grant when the 5th Blackpool Scout Group made a grant application for help in replacing their ‘worn out’ minibus
Initially, Scout Leader George Binns was hoping that the charity could provide some of the cost to buy a replacement minibus, so was over the moon when the WLFC decided to provide the full cost of a replacement vehicle. West Lancashire Provincial Grand Master, Tony Harrison, officially handed over of the keys for the minibus to George Binns at Blackpool.
Tony was accompanied on his visit to the Blackpool Scouts by local Freemasons Derek Parkinson, Duncan Smith, Steve Kayne (CEO of the WLFC), Mark Matthews and John Turpin. Also, in attendance was John Barnett MBE, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, representing Lord Shuttleworth, the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire.
On presenting the new bus, which will be used by all the Scout Groups in Blackpool, including the Adventure Scouts, Tony Harrison said: ‘I am delighted that the Freemasons of West Lancashire are once again able to support the local Scout group as we have in the past, when funds were provided to enable the group to refurbish their Blackpool headquarters.
‘Freemasonry and the Scouting movement have much in common, especially the aim of making good people better. It could be said that where Scouting ends, Freemasonry begins.’
The Scout Association membership is made up of both boys and girls, whose ages range from six through to 18 years. During their membership they develop life skills, camaraderie and lifelong friendships.
This grant is one of three headline grants made this year by the WLFC. The other donations made are: £35,000 to St Vincent’s School for the Blind, Liverpool and £10,000 to Zoe’s Place, Baby Hospice, Liverpool.
Published Thu, 09 May 2019 00:00:00 +0100
London Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation have donated £60,000 to London-based charity Coram Voice, giving thousands of disabled children and young people in the care system a chance to be able to have a say in how they live their lives
Through Coram Voice, children and young people with disabilities are provided with a specialist advocacy service enabling them to be heard and to exercise their rights. With highly experienced, independent advocates, Coram Voice is able to represent the feelings and wishes of young people, ensure the service is accessible using specialist methods of communication and train professionals through specialist courses and expert disability casework support.
The grant from London Freemasons will allow the charity to help an estimated 2,000 more young people over the next three years, giving children and young people with disabilities equal access to advocacy as other children in the care system.
More than 75,000 young people in England are currently in care. Those with disabilities are especially vulnerable to abuse of their rights and to their voices not being listened to. Children with disabilities are also three times more likely to be abused, but thanks to this new funding, Coram Voice can continue to work to alleviate these risks.
Andrew Dickie, Head of Services at Coram Voice, said: 'We’re very grateful to London Freemasons for their generous grant, which helps us make a positive, life-changing impact for more children and young people in care. Every child should have a voice and disabled children have as much right as other children to express their feelings and contribute to key decisions about their lives.'
Adrian Fox of London Freemasons said: 'We’re proud to have supported such a worthwhile cause. The trust and familiarity that Coram Voice builds with the people it works with is inspiring, and changes a lot of lives for the better. Their work is vital to so many vulnerable people, and our grant will help them to reach more children without a voice.
'This is another example of Freemasons supporting the London community.'
Published Wed, 08 May 2019 00:00:00 +0100
Quarterly magazine of the United Grand Lodge of England, featuring freemasons' news, interviews, and features. Free to view online alongside exclusive content.
Published Tue, 21 May 2019 21:45:15 +0100
After the huge success of last year’s event, Lifelites Chief Executive Simone Enefer-Doy is once again taking on an epic nationwide road trip to raise money for life-limited and disabled children in hospices
Simone left the office on Great Queen Street on the morning of 10 May 2019 in a London Fire Brigade BMW i3, kindly organised by the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London. She was also accompanied by Widows Sons outriders and a classic Ronart.
Dubbed ‘Lift for Lifelites returns’, the 3,000 mile trip will see Simone visit a landmark in every Province in England and Wales in a variety of weird and wonderful modes of transport provided by Freemasons, Widows Sons and other volunteers.
Landmarks will include Bleinheim Palace, Goodwood and the National Space Centre, as well as some slightly quirkier venues such as the British Lawnmower Museum. Confirmed modes of transport so far include a Tuk Tuk, a steam train, a Lamborghini, a quadbike, a DeLorean, a classic Rolls Royce and many more.
All the money raised will go towards the charity’s work donating and maintaining life-changing technology to life-limited and disabled children in hospices across the British Isles. This technology gives them the opportunity to play be creative, control something for themselves and communicate, for as long as it is possible.
Simone said: 'We are a very small, but very hard working charity and are determined to do all that we can to impact the lives of children who don’t have the same opportunities that we do due to the confines of their condition. Every moment is precious for these children and their families, and we want to make sure they can make the most of every second. This is only possible with the support of the Provinces.
'We were absolutely blown away by the support we received last year. Provinces pulled out all the stops and we can’t thank them enough. Will this year be even bigger and better?'
You can see the full route plan on the Lifelites website, as well as support Simone and donate to Lifelites by clicking here.
Published Fri, 10 May 2019 13:45:32 +0100
Small charities will now be able to apply for multi-year grants to cover basic running expenses and other core funding costs, following a major policy shift at the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) – one of the largest grant-making charities in the country
Until recently, the MCF, in common with many other charitable foundations, has tended to concentrate on project-based funding, which generally provides more measurable results. The MCF also gives one-off unrestricted grants of up to £5,000 to small charities for general charitable purposes.
However, having identified the growing issue of smaller charities facing difficulties due to lack of core funding, the MCF has bucked the trend amongst similar grant-giving bodies to address the issue and has expanded its current programme of non-ring-fenced grants.
The new grants are available to charities with an income of no more than £500,000 a year, often much less, and will be for a maximum of £5,000 per year over three years. The first round of these extended unrestricted core funding grants has just been announced for 22 small charities. It is hoped that these multi-year unrestricted funding grants will help sustain charities, enabling them to deliver services to those most in need. The MCF aims to monitor and evaluate these grants, and hopes to share any learning within the sector regarding the effectiveness of this grant-giving.
Funded by freemasons, their families and friends, the Masonic Charitable Foundation is the national freemasons’ charity. In 2017, the MCF provided grants of more than £5.6 million to 770 national, regional and local charities across England and Wales.
David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, said: 'There are many small charities that struggle with basic running costs. Project-based funding is fine, but if they can’t pay the electricity bill or put petrol in the car, delivering services to clients can be difficult if not impossible.
'Many charities cease their vital activities because this kind of funding is not available. This is why the MCF’s new core funding initiative, on behalf of the Freemasons of England and Wales, is so important.'
Published Mon, 01 Apr 2019 11:56:56 +0100
Thousands of people across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe whose lives have been devastated by Cyclone Idai will be given access to clean water, as well as tarpaulins, plastic sheets and other emergency supplies, thanks to a grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation
The money is being donated to Plan International UK which is working to help survivors, including young women and children, who are at particular risk.
The grant from the Freemasons will provide jerry cans, water purification tablets and buckets to thousands of people who have lost everything and are at risk of potentially-deadly waterborne diseases.
Over 750 people have died in the three countries on the south-east coast of Africa with Mozambique suffering the highest human fatalities. As the death toll continues to rise, over 260,000 children have been affected in the country and at least 350,000 people are at risk from rising flood waters. In Malawi, close to a million people have been affected with nearly half a million being children.
Plan International UK is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). The DEC brings together 14 leading UK aid charities in times of crisis, to maximise the impact and help children and families who need it most.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Ebbie Muhire (28) is sheltering at a church in southern Malawi with five family members including her youngest child, a three-year-old toddler.
'The challenges we are facing are mainly crowded and unpleasant sleeping areas and poor sanitation and hygiene facilities because our utensils were damaged in the rain and now we are all using same equipment.' Ebbie says. 'The children, especially the young ones are at risk of getting sick.'
Tanya Barron, Chief Executive of Plan International UK, said: 'We’re hugely grateful to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for supporting our disaster response in Southern Africa. This generous grant will make a big difference to thousands of people affected by this devastating cyclone and help get their lives back on track.'
David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation' said: 'Cyclone Idai has devastated the lives of many thousands of people, with, as usual, women and children bearing the brunt of the suffering. I’m very pleased that the Masonic Charitable Foundation was able to move so quickly and provide funds for Plan International UK’s vital work at the heart of the disaster zone.'
Published Fri, 29 Mar 2019 00:00:00 +0000
East Lancashire Freemasons have donated £5,000 to the social mobility charity Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB), which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF)
On behalf of the MCF, East Lancashire Provincial Grand Charity Steward Steve Clark was delighted to attend a ‘speed interview’ session of the LTSB, which involved a dozen young people and business professionals. The space, and several interviewers, was kindly provided by Mazars in central Manchester.
These intelligent young people are at risk of becoming so-called NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training). With the help of LTSB, and working closely with local employers, they can find paid apprenticeships which are highly likely to result in full-time employment.
Although it was clear that the interviewees were nervous, the LTSB staff put them at ease and Steve did his part by sitting down with them prior to the session and giving them some friendly advice. He was very impressed with the professionalism and drive of these young people aspiring to greater things in their lives.
LTSB relies on growing relationships with local employers. Operating in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, the MCF grant of £5,000 will help them in their valuable work with disadvantaged young people in finding full-time employment through apprenticeships and professional development sessions.
Published Thu, 21 Mar 2019 00:00:00 +0000
Buckinghamshire Freemasons have donated £400 to Florence Nightingale Hospice, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), as part of a £600,000 grant made to 237 Hospices across England and Wales
Peter Thomas, MCF area representative, presented the certificate to Jo Turner, CEO of the charity, which is based in Aylesbury.
Jo commented: ‘Thank you very much to the MCF and to Peter for delivering this generous donation.’
The hospice, which is now celebrating its 30th anniversary, has an in-house service and day hospice service. It also has ‘Florries’ which is a service specialising in supporting children with life limiting illnesses, and their families, in their own homes – the donation has been earmarked for this very important support.
Published Tue, 26 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0000
The Masonic Charitable Foundation, through the Province of Herefordshire, has supported local charity Hope Support Services with a grant of £4,719
Hope Support Services, founded in 2009 in Ross on Wye, provides support for young people aged 11-25 when a close family member is seriously ill with a life-threatening condition, especially those with cancer. They provide support at this stressful time through sessions where young people can gather together in Ross, Leominster and Hereford.
They arrange various activities and outings, and also provide support online, through Facebook and Skype, and are in the process of developing an app with help from Comic Relief which will enable young people to communicate with each other and to link with other charities which might be able to provide help.
Their aim is to provide emotional support for their young clients, of whom there are around 300, and to prepare them for bereavement. They also run a Building Better Opportunities course for those young people who are wanting to find work.
In 2017, they were approached by St Michael’s Hospice to run their services for the children of cancer patients being cared for by the Hospice. Children looked after in this way can be as young as five, and around 130 children and young people are cared for through this initiative.
They have eight full and part-time staff, plus a session worker and two online workers. There is also a Youth Management Team, who have benefited from the services themselves in the past and now help with planning and holding the charity’s range of activities.
On receiving the donation, Hope Support Services warmly thanked the Freemasons of Herefordshire for the generous grant, which will go towards developing the activities provided for young people at this difficult time in their lives.
Published Wed, 13 Feb 2019 11:18:27 +0000
Lincolnshire Freemasons have given £5,000 to help improve the quality of life for those most in need in one of the country’s most deprived wards
This is the East Marsh in Grimsby, which has the unenviable status of being in the bottom 1% on a national deprivation league table. The money, which has come through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, has been given to Harbour Place who are based in Hope Street, Grimsby, and support rough sleepers, the homeless and other socially excluded people.
In September last year, the charity moved to the Hope Street premises, which allowed it to launch a permanent night shelter in support of its Street Outreach Project, which has been running since April 2011, and has now been expanded.
Project Director Robin Barr said: 'A key part of the project’s activities include supporting and advocating on behalf of clients through signposting, referral and access to a wide range of statutory and voluntary sector agencies. Since opening the Hope Centre in September 2018, Harbour Place has registered over 175 clients for the new service.'
'Since the move to Hope Street more than 50 people have been helped to find permanent accommodation, more than 30 of whom have been through the night shelter.'
Robin said that success was an indication of the significance of the £5,000 donation: 'Our records indicate that if we can work consistently with someone over a short period, we can usually assist them to find accommodation.'
The donation was made by Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master, David Wheeler, and Pete Tong, the Provincial Charity Steward.
Pete said: 'The message we brought away from the staff and volunteers at Harbour Place was that for more people than we might have imagined, the prospect of living on the street was too close for comfort. For many, the financial cushion which keeps the roof over their head is very thin indeed.
'They told us of one man they were helping who had been a respected professional in the community, but after problems resulting from a marriage break-up he had been reduced to living on the street.
'The successes achieved by the team of staff and volunteers are hard won, and we trust our donation will help their efforts to be even more effective.'
Published Wed, 30 Jan 2019 12:12:13 +0000
Focused on helping secondary school students at risk of exclusion, Jamie’s Farm brings together farming, family and therapy. Alex Smith takes a trip to the charity’s new site in Monmouth to find out how a grant from Freemasons is helping to cultivate change in disadvantaged children
Thirty-five children will be excluded from school in the UK today. Of those, more than 99 per cent will leave without five good GCSEs and so will struggle to be accepted for post-16 apprenticeships or training. Each of these will cost the taxpayer £350,000 during their lifetime.
The figures come from the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Ministry of Justice, but Jamie’s Farm wants to change the status quo, ‘to enable disadvantaged young people to thrive academically, socially and emotionally’. The charity was founded in 2005 by Jamie Feilden, a former history teacher at Manor School in Croydon. Frustrated with the bad behaviour of some pupils, Jamie conducted an experiment. He brought in some lambs from his family farm in Wiltshire, set up pens in the playground and tasked his students with looking after them.
Amazingly, the worst-behaved seemed to benefit the most, becoming calmer and more focused. So several months later and helped by his mother, Tish, a psychotherapist who’d worked with children all her life, Jamie’s Farm opened its barn doors for the first time.
Thirteen years on, the charity has grown into a national organisation, with facilities in Bath, Hereford, London and Monmouth – and a fifth opening in East Sussex in April 2019. A lot has changed in the last few years, but according to Ruth Young, education manager and resident mother hen of Jamie’s Farm Monmouth, the curriculum is still the same.
‘We have three principles: farming, family and therapy,’ says Young. ‘Each school identifies specific objectives for the kids before they arrive. Sometimes it’s better self-regulation, with others it’s better wellbeing or more self-belief.’
ROUTINES AND RELAXATION
Once the young people have signed a contract forbidding mobile phones and sugary snacks, the week-long residential begins in earnest. The farm hands start at 7:30am, their first task being to prepare breakfast, often using ingredients from the farm garden. Once they and their teachers have eaten together, they start the first activity, which could be anything from feeding animals to chopping wood. Then it’s time for lunch, followed by an hour-and-a-half walk, dinner, evening entertainment, and finally, bed.
It’s a strict routine, but the children are given time and space to communicate their feelings. This is often done during group sessions, with students giving ‘shout-outs’ to others for commendable actions, such as bravery, or simply doing something they didn’t want to. For more sensitive issues, one-on-one conversations are offered by the farm’s therapy coordinator. They’ll often talk about what’s going on at home; what’s bothering them. This information is shared with the child’s teacher, who follows it up with appropriate parties to provide support. After the residential, there’s a follow-up programme, including visits to the child’s school, to ensure each student achieves their potential.
‘Each school identifies specific objectives for the kids before they come here. Sometimes it’s better self-regulation, for others it’s better wellbeing or better self-belief’
THE POWER OF RESPONSIBILITY
The results have been extraordinary. From 2017 to 2018, more than half of Jamie’s Farm participants stopped being at risk of exclusion just six weeks after going on the residential; 56 per cent showed increased engagement and 66 per cent showed improved levels of self-esteem. And six months later the percentages are even more impressive.
‘It’s about giving responsibility to young people who’ve never had it before,’ says Young. ‘A lot of them have never seen the countryside before, let alone a farm. But they love it,’ she says, pointing to Hannad, a student trying – successfully, in the end – to catch a chicken.
‘It’s been fun; we eat together and talk about how we’re feeling and give shout-outs to people who we’ve seen doing good work. I was a bit nervous at first, but we’ve all bonded now. I feel more confident talking about myself,’ explains Hannad, a year-11 student at Harris Academy in Battersea, London.
‘Even within the first day, we notice a change,’ says Dave Pearson-Smith, senior visit coordinator at Jamie’s Farm. ‘By the end of the week, the difference can be like night and day. They stand up straighter, they look healthier – it’s extraordinary.’
On a tour of the farm, Young points out the garden, kitchen, equipment shed and woodworking area – much of which has been facilitated by the £39,000 grant from Monmouthshire Freemasons, which came through the Masonic Charitable Foundation. ‘Wellies, overalls, waterproofs, gardening tools – a lot of this is down to the grant,’ says Young. ‘Some young people arrive at the farm without proper clothing, but thanks to the Freemasons, we can say, “We’ll take care of everything.” We’re very grateful for their support.’
‘The grant has paid for a lot of what the young people interact with on the farm. It’s fantastic’
MONEY WELL SPENT
‘It’s made a massive difference,’ says Katie Francis, fundraising and volunteer manager for Jamie’s Farm. ‘The grant will cover all our student activity costs each year, such as games and clothing for the young people, pet food, seeds, art materials, woodworking tools… but it’s also our running costs. The grant has paid for a lot of what the young people interact with on the farm. It’s fantastic.’
Richard Davies, Provincial Grand Master of Monmouthshire, says that supporting Jamie’s Farm was an obvious choice. ‘I visited the farm with the Deputy and the Provincial Treasurer, and we were so impressed with what we saw,’ he says. ‘We pledged that we will give them whatever support we can.’
In the last 20 years, Monmouthshire Freemasons have given over £600,000 to local causes, and are always looking for new ways to support their Province. ‘We noticed some dilapidated beehives on the farm,’ says Richard, ‘so we’re funding their replacement and offering training so the staff can maintain their bee stocks, perhaps producing their own jars of honey with the masonic logo on them.’
As for Jamie’s Farm, it will continue cultivating change in children who need it most. ‘When my teacher mentioned Jamie’s Farm I thought, “I’m not going to enjoy this… no phone, no sugary drinks, no TV,”’ recalls Ellie, a year-11 student from Harris Academy. ‘On my first day, I was like, “What am I going to do?” But I’ve enjoyed it so much. Before I came here I always felt like I had someone on my back, but now I feel like most of my worries have gone. I’ll just look at a view and think… it’s all so beautiful.’
For more information and to make a donation, visit www.jamiesfarm.org.uk
Published Fri, 07 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000
With the number of people experiencing loneliness in later life on the rise, the Masonic Charitable Foundation is committed to tackling the issue, as Chief Executive David Innes explains
We’re approaching the end of another year during which Freemasons have supported each other and members of their local communities through charitable work at both lodge and Provincial level, as well as through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). This year, your charity has supported around 5,000 Freemasons and their family members alongside 500 local and national charities – all thanks to your enduring support and generosity.
I hope that for most of us, the festive season means spending cherished moments with our families and catching up with friends. As diaries fill up, it can sometimes be a challenge to visit everyone we would like to see before the New Year. In contrast, for many older people, Christmas can be blighted by a deep sense of loneliness.
A HELPING HAND AT CHRISTMAS
Almost one million older people will spend Christmas Day alone this year, with only their television for company. The population is not only growing in size but also ageing; this means the number of people experiencing loneliness as they get older is increasing. More than half of people aged 75 and above live alone and 200,000 of them will not have had a single conversation with a friend or family member in the last month. As well as age, factors such as poor health and disability can also contribute to a sense of isolation.
Through grants to local and national charities, Freemasonry is committed to tackling the issues of loneliness and social isolation in later life – and that doesn’t only apply to Christmas. We are excited to announce a new partnership between the MCF and 13 local Age UK branches that will support 10,000 people. It is our hope that the older people supported by this new initiative will live happier, healthier and more sociable lives.
Within the masonic community, we are lucky to have a fantastic system of almoners looking out for those who are lonely, as well as those who are struggling with financial, health, family or care-related issues. Their work and our own is bolstered by a dedicated network of Freemasons including charity stewards, Visiting Volunteers, fundraisers and Festival Provinces, working together to help us spread goodwill this festive season and throughout the rest of the year.
Finally, I should like to take this opportunity to thank you for making our work possible, to remind you that we are your charity, and to urge you to get in contact with us should you need help.
Our online impact report celebrates all that Freemasonry and the MCF have achieved together this year. You can view it now at www.mcf.org.uk/impact
Published Fri, 07 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000
A donation of £4,000 from Lincolnshire Freemasons will help more people survive life-threatening injuries and illnesses because of the work of the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance and its crew
It costs an average of £2,500 every time the Air Ambulance scrambles for another life-saving mission from its base at RAF Waddington.
Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master David Wheeler said: ‘The Air Ambulance provides a vital service in our largely rural Province, and we are pleased to say that by helping to fund it with our donation we have played a small role in ensuring that there will be people alive tomorrow who might otherwise have passed away.
‘We see ourselves as part of a community, with a duty to help everyone in it. Support for the Air Ambulance is a positive way to do that at life-changing moments for patients and their families.’
The £4,000 grant came from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), and was part of the latest round of Air Ambulance funding, which totals over £4 million since 2007. This year, 20 services will share in £192,000 from the MCF, which administers funds raised through personal contributions from Freemasons.
The Lincs and Notts donation was handed over by Provincial Charity Steward Peter Tong, who said: ‘The Air Ambulance service in our region has been there to help more than 192,000 people since its inception in 1994.
'It already flies two or three times a day, but the organisation’s ambition is to make itself available to fly to where it’s needed on a 24/7 basis. That could lift the number of missions to five a day, which is a tremendous financial commitment. We wanted to play a small part in helping to make that happen.’
Sally Crawford, the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance head of Fundraising and Communications, said: ‘Thank you so much for supporting the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance; £4,000 is an incredible amount of money and we are most grateful. The critical care we provide gives people their very best chance of survival and recovery. We receive no direct Government funding, and are not part of the NHS, so your donation really is essential in helping us to save lives.’
Published Mon, 19 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000