The link in the chain for almoners

During the last four years the Provincial Grand Almoner, Ernie Greenhalgh has been working on a new system of care with the senior officers in the four Masonic Charities in London, which last April became the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

On 5 October 2015, the new care system went live in a mini pilot in West Lancashire and three of the London Charities. In January 2016 six other Provinces – a mixture of large and small Provinces joined the pilot.

Brethren assemble before the meeting.

Brethren assemble before the meeting.

One of the most interesting statistics that came out of the pilot areas against the other 40 Provinces who were still using the old method was in the quality of the admin people’s work against the general work of the lodge almoners in applications to the charity.

The pilot Provinces received specialised training which enabled them to more easily extract information from their clients and complete a much more detailed report against the more limited knowledge of almoners in the other 40 Provinces. An average application genuinely took 6-8 weeks from the charity receiving the application due to on many occasions having to refer back to the Province to ask for further clarification or back-up documents. However, in the pilot, applications were submitted within a two – week period, which was a marked improvement over previous years and more importantly to the benefit of clients.

Peter presents Ernie with a gift of thanks from the Furness and South Lakeland Group.

Peter presents Ernie with a gift of thanks from the Furness and South Lakeland Group.

Following the pilot the Grand Council of the Masonic Charitable Foundation reviewed the results and gave universal support for the new system to be rolled out to all of the 40 other Provinces

In the new care system the almoner is charged with the welfare of all the brethren, widows and dependants, which is one of the most significant and demanding roles in the structure of any lodge.

To ensure that almoners are fully aware of the help available to them from the new care team in the Province and the wider Masonic and non-Masonic charity structure, Ernie is delivering 21 presentations entitled ‘The last link in the chain’, around the Province in the next four months.

The first presentation was held in the Furness and South Lakeland Group. The presentation was attended by all the lodge and chapter almoners in the group along with the group chairman Peter Schofield and several group officers.

At the end of the presentation Peter thanked Ernie for the presentation which was very informative and very useful for almoners. He presented Ernie with a gift to thank him for all his work in the group over many years as a regional Care Officer and as the PrGAlm for the last four years as Ernie is retiring in May from the office of PrGAlm. Peter also wished Ernie well in his new role in the MCF where he will be advising Provinces as they implement the new care system over the next 18 months.

Pictured, from left to right are; Ken Robinson, Ernie Greenhalgh, Brian Coward and Peter Schofield.

Pictured, from left to right are; Ken Robinson, Ernie Greenhalgh, Brian Coward and Peter Schofield.