Westminster City School Lodge

No. 4305

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Masonic charitable activities

Generous giving has always been at the centre of Freemasonry, supporting the community as a whole. Charity lies at the very heart of Freemasonry and is part of the commitment made by every Freemason on becoming a member.

Freemasonry is extensively involved in charitable activities, providing assistance and support for the widows and orphans of its members, others in need in the community as well as its own members who are in difficulties.

The Grand Charity is the central grant making charity of all Freemasons in England and Wales. All funding for the Grand Charity comes from donations by individual Freemasons and their families.

Masonic Relief Grants originally provided help for poor and distressed Freemasons and the making of Masonic Relief Grants is still one of the primary activities of The Grand Charity. The Grand Charity also provides financial support, when needed, to the other three main Masonic charities.

Non-Masonic charities - since 1981, more than £30 million has been given to non-Masonic charitable causes.

Hospices in England and Wales also receive support every year. Since 1984, The Grand Charity has given over £6 million to hospices. This is in addition to the considerable sums raised by Freemasons around the country in support of their local hospices.

Emergency Relief Grants
are given throughout the year at the discretion of the President of The Grand Charity. Since 1981 over £1 million has been given to support relief efforts for victims of disasters worldwide.

Since the late 18th Century, the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls and the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys have helped relieve poverty and advance the education of the children of deceased and distressed Freemasons. This function and other wider terms of reference, were taken up by The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys when in 1986, it took over the running of the former charities.

At the time of the amalgamation, the Trust had 749 beneficiaries on its books. The numbers have risen and in 2005 the Trust supported over 2,000 girls and boys at school, colleges and universities.

The mission of the Trust is still the same - To continue to relieve poverty and provide an education for life for the children of the family of a Freemason and, where funds permit, for any children, as their fathers would have done had they been able so to do.

The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution is a registered charity providing a comprehensive range of services to older Freemasons and their dependants, including care in its Homes and Sheltered Accommodation and practical support to those who wish to remain in their own homes.

Its 17 Care Homes are located throughout England and Wales and provide care services from sheltered accommodation through to facilities for those with elderly mental frailties.

Though a proportion of its costs are recovered from local authority and residents' contributions, we rely on the generosity of Freemasons to raise the balance through donations and legacies.

The New Masonic Samaritan Fund was established for the relief of suffering and sickness in respect of Freemasons, their wives, children or dependants, or the widows, children or dependants of deceased Freemasons.

The interests and needs of each applicant will be paramount in determining how and where relief will be granted.  The terms of the Trust Deed under which the Fund is required to operate require that relief can only be provided to applicants who demonstrate that the cost of private healthcare would be a financial burden and, who are otherwise unable to obtain treatment on the National Health Service without undue delay. 

To date, the Fund has supported treatment for over 6,500 individuals ranging in age from 18 months to 104 years. This involved allocating grants totalling over £30 million. Whilst many of the conditions funded via the NMSF may be associated with advancing years - hip and knee joint replacements, cataracts and prostate problems - funding can be available for everything from scans to major heart surgery. Although painful and often distressing, such complaints are not life threatening and often involve a long wait on the NHS.

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