For guidance, the Masonic Charitable Foundation Almoners’ Handbook from 2017 is provided here as a pdf.
For updated information, the slides used at the Almoners’ Workshops from 2017 are provided HERE as a pdf for reference and guidance.
Important Information for all Lodge Almoners (April 2018)
As you know, there have been many changes to your role as Lodge Almoner over the past eighteen months from changes over to the MCF and the way that grant applications are made to the way guidance is given to you regarding retention and the more pastoral care you undertake for your members, widows and their families.
I am pleased to inform you all that after long discussions and listening to Provincial Grand Almoners and members by the MCF, the Visiting Volunteer Scheme has now gone live in West Kent.
This means that some of the burden of filling in application forms for living expenses grants will be taken on by an assigned Visiting Volunteer (VV).
How it works
Initial contact will be made by you or the applicant direct to the MCF at Great Queen Street by email or telephone. The contact will be logged on to the new computer system called GAMES (Grant Application Management and Evaluation System). A Visiting Volunteer will then be assigned to the case and regular updates will be given to both myself and to you.
All West Kent VVs are from our Province and have had full training and background checks so there should be no worries regarding data protection, best practice and the very best way to look after the interests of you or your applicant. I would also encourage you to attend my VV’s visit should you wish to do so.
I feel that this new way of contact, visit, form filling and follow up will leave you to concentrate on looking after the health, well-being and day to day concerns of your members, widows and their families.
Quick Guide for all members and Almoners
Apply for a Daily Living Expenses Grant
1. Contact the MCF direct
Free Phone 0800 035 60 90 – Switch Board 0203 146 3333
Email firstname.lastname@example.org – Web Site www.mcf.org.uk
2. Advice will be given and/or details logged onto our GAMES.
I will be informed and a VV will be allocated
3. VV will contact you or the applicant to arrange a visit.
Application form will be completed and required personal information paperwork will be collected.
4. Application is sent to the MCF.
Decision is normally made within 6 weeks.
5. Grant is made direct to the applicant over a 12 month period.
Usually 4 equal payments over 12 months.
6. After 12 months
You are informed 8 weeks before renewal of grant.
Your VV will contact you to arrange filling out a renewal application.
Applying For a Medical Grant
Contact the MCF direct The MCF will allocate a VV if required
Applying for residency at an RMBI Care Home
Contact the RMBI Care Home direct. (Prince George, Duke of Kent Court Tel. 0208 467 0081)
The Care Home will deal with all aspects of the application and allocate a member of the Advice and Support Team.
I hope that you agree that this new system of advice and application is straightforward and that it leaves you to concentrate more on being the Almoner for your Lodge. I and my team of Group Almoners are still available to answer any questions you may have and their details can be found in your blue year book as well as on the West Kent web site and from the Provincial office at Oakley House.
Following on, I intend to continue this year with my Almoners’ Workshops which will now concentrate on what the role of Lodge Almoner should be and how best to carry out those duties. I also intend to hold an open evening at Prince George, Duke of Kent Court very soon so please look out for contact from me by email, letter, West Kent Facebook and information on the noticeboard in your Masonic Centre.
Thank you all for your hard work and continued support for all the members of our Province.
Yours Sincerely and Fraternally,
W.Bro Bob Order
PROVINCIAL GRAND ALMONER
Almoner – Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. I have been supporting my grandson, by paying his school fees. I am about to retire and will have to withdraw that support. My son is not a Freemason. Would the RMTGB consider helping him continue at the same school?
A. As you have demonstrated dependence, the RMTGB would be happy to consider this sympathetically, but it would be means tested. Contact your Lodge Almoner who will be able to progress the application.
Q2. I have a heart condition and am on the NHS waiting list, but they think that it will be 6 months before I will receive corrective surgery. Could you help?
A. Under normal circumstances the MSF will fund surgery if the waiting list is longer than 13 weeks. In the case of heart surgery they will consider a shorter waiting period. The MSF will need the Consultants conclusion and confirmation of the expected wait. In common with all the Central Masonic Charities, all applications are means tested.
Q3. I was given a grant by the Grand Charity, which has helped. I really need a holiday, but can’t afford one. Do you know who I could contact that might provide an affordable break?
A. The Good Neighbour Fund was set up to provide holidays for Masons and their dependants in receipt of a Grand Charity Relief Grant. There are four holiday destination in the UK, Bournemouth, Eastbourne, Llandudno and Southend on Sea.
Q4. I have a small company pension and own my own house I need to reroof it. I don't have the savings to pay for it and I am too old to remortgage. Is there anyway I could get assistance or a loan through Masonry
A. The Victor Donaldson Fund provides funds for works to be done to a Mason’s or dependant’s home. The house must be owned by the applicant and the cost of works must meet house value criteria. Repayment is made only on the death of the applicant or when the house is sold but the RMBI will take a lien on the house.
Q5. My mother in law is getting very frail and needs to go into a home where she can be looked after properly. She has been with us to open days at Prince George Duke of Kent Court and would like to become resident there. She owns her home which she would be happy to sell to finance it. However she is not the widow of a Freemason? Would the RMBI consider her for residency?
A. The RMBI acceptance criteria is wide and they will accept the Mother in Law of a Mason. The level of care needed can be assessed by the RMBI but moving in is dependent on accommodation being available at the time.
Q6. My wife recently suffered a stroke and is confined to a wheelchair. I have to make some alterations to the house so that she can get around it and in and out of the front door. Is there any help available to put in a ramp and a stair lift?
A. The MSF can assist with home alterations. Formal confirmation that the alterations are necessary will be required, but the RMBI Care Advise Team in conjunction with Social Services will be able to assist.