Role of the Provincial Grand Almoner & Lodge Almoner
The role of the Provincial Grand Almoner is to provide support, guidance and advice to all Lodge Almoners in our Province, as well as managing various petitions for assistance. To achieve this, the Provincial Grand Almoner is assisted by four Group Almoners who are each responsible for a defined set of Lodges. The aim of the Provincial Grand Almoner and his team is to use their best endeavours to assist members of the Province and/or their dependants who are experiencing financial distress and to assist with the acquisition of medical treatment.
On a day to day basis the Provincial Grand Almoner is mainly involved with managing requests for help and communicating with the Masonic Charities. He has to appoint a visiting Brother, send out the paperwork and make sure it is returned in good time, check that the documentation is in order and then forward it to the Grand Charity for consideration.
Once a grant is approved, he will make arrangements to disburse the funds as required. Grants are also managed for other Provinces where the person requesting help lives within West Kent.
THE ROLE OF THE LODGE ALMONER
The core role of the Lodge Almoner is to be the “eyes and ears” of the Lodge, ensuring the welfare of its members and of their widows and dependents. Specific responsibilities include:
- Keeping in touch;
- Maintaining regular contact with sick or distressed Lodge members;
- Maintaining regular contact with Lodge widows;
- Making contact with families of recently deceased brethren.
- Being alert to the needs and problems of Lodge members and their dependents;
- Keeping informed;
- Being aware of the aims and activities of the four main Masonic Charities (The Freemasons’ Grand Charity; The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution; The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys; The Masonic Samaritan Fund) and how to access the support they offer.
- Having a basic knowledge of the range of support available from the state and from non-Masonic charities (eg armed services charities) and how potential applicants can obtain specific advice;
- Attending training and other events to keep up to date with developments affecting his responsibilities or the Masonic Charities.
- Making new members welcome, in conjunction with the Proposer, Seconder and Lodge Mentor;
- Ensuring that members, partners and dependents are aware of what support may be available, particularly Masonic support;
- Conducting visits and discussions with members who may need support;
- Assisting the Provincial Grand Almoner when required, e.g. with a request for visiting a Brother, widow or dependent from another area.
Record-keeping and reporting
- Maintaining accurate records of all receipts and payments made;
- Maintaining records of all visits to brethren, widows or other dependants;
- Maintaining a record of the names and contact details of brethren, widows and dependants, including as far as possible the details of widows and dependants of resigned or excluded brethren.
- Reporting on the above to the members at each Lodge meeting, while preserving due confidentiality.
In addition to the above, a good Almoner will make himself aware of happier events such as birthdays, births and special wedding anniversaries so that the Lodge can send appropriate greetings.
To perform this role the Almoner will need to possess considerable tact, courtesy, discretion, patience and humour, together with a sympathetic disposition, a commitment to helping people, and time and energy to devote to the benefit of Lodge members and their dependents. Poverty is not an easy thing to admit to. Health worries are often kept hidden. It is often painful to admit to others what may seem to be a failure and an inability to cope. Confidentiality and a caring approach can be the key to relieving those worries.
The office is one that benefits from continuity and it is suggested that a term of five years is generally appropriate.