In preparation for the launch of the new care system that comes in to effect on 5 October 2015 the admin care officers (ACOs) have been attending a three day training session in Westhoughton Masonic Hall given by the Freemasonry Cares Learning and Development Manager Alex Taylor. Also in attendance were Natasha Ward Head of Freemasonry Cares and Elaine Hansen, member of the advice and support team.
The training aims to ensure the ACOs have all the skills required to assist Freemasons and their dependants in the completion and return of applications to The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, Masonic Samaritan Fund and the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
During the training the ACOs will demonstrate their ability to conduct a visit (including pre/post meeting) and to fill out an application form with the applicant with the use of appropriate communication/conflict management skills.
They will be shown how to adapt to changing needs and environments – Be effective and efficient, with a whole family approach – Demonstrate professionalism, compassion and value for money.
The ACOs are likely to be the first people to inform the Masonic community of their welfare rights and what state benefits they are entitled to. The training will review welfare rights and benefits that they can assist their clients with: referrals to social services, occupational therapist visits, disability facility grant applications, mobility aid requests/home adaptation requests, assistance for those wishing to return to the UK after living abroad and advice on sheltered accommodation/assisted living.
At the end of the training it is hoped that all the admin care officers will be able to write reports with:
Relevant information – ensure the information contained within the report will assist the Charities in developing the case;
Evidenced based – factual information (documentation), distress, background, are they receiving benefits? If not, why?
Practical – consider the layout and length of the report, how easy is it to extract the relevant information?
Reviewed – double check the report to confirm the information is correct;
Timely – be sure to write the report soon after the visit.