About the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity

  • WLFC Logo cropped 150 WIDE 200 HIGHThe West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity is the charity of the Freemasons of the Masonic Province of West Lancashire. It was formed in April 2008 by the amalgamation of the seven Masonic charities operating in the Province, an area which includes parts of Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Cumbria. Its funds are raised entirely from donations by Freemasons. We do not receive money from the general public however, we do provide assistance to Masons and non-Masons.

  • PGM opens WLFC offices Pic 4

  • History of charity in West Lancashire from 1850 to 2010

    The very first West Lancashire charity was set up in 1850 and was called the West Lancashire Masonic Educational Institution. At a time when formal schooling was not compulsory, work-houses were still in operation and decent education was only available to the children of very wealthy families, this was a very commendable initiative to ensure that the children of all West Lancashire Freemasons were able to receive assistance towards securing some sort of education.

    In 1858 The West Lancashire Relief Committee was established to provide immediate assistance to Freemasons in immediate need. A kind of emergency fund.

    The Hamer Benevolent Institution was set up in 1874 specifically to assist the aged and distressed, much as our WLFC does today. However, this fund only provided money to ‘live’ for Freemasons and so, in 1885, The Alpass Benevolent Institution was established to care for Masonic widows.

    The four charities now in operation appeared to cover all aspects of relief but occasionally, something extraordinary would arise. With this in mind, The Victoria Fund of Benevolence was founded in 1897 essentially, to provide assistance in instances where the other West Lancashire charities could not help.

    And so life continued until 1952. By then, it was apparent that some of the charities were better funded than others, some had greater demands than others and that lodges were not necessarily directing their donations to the neediest areas. Accordingly, the West Lancashire Masonic Charities Fund was established in 1952. Henceforth, Masonic giving in West Lancashire would be directed to this fund which would in turn, distribute money to the five charities according to need. This was undoubtedly the first step in consolidating the charities although it was probably not recognised as such at the time.

    Finally, in 1982, the Community Fund of West Lancashire Freemasons was established in 1982 to make small grants to non-Masonic worthy causes. One cannot help but reflect that over 130 years of Freemasonry, Masonic giving was entirely directed to Freemasons and their families. How different from today where over 50% of the WLFC giving is directed outside of Freemasonry. Has the charity lost sight of our original aims and principals? That is for you to reflect upon and decide.

    At the start of the new millennium, the Provincial care and charity structures were established and to some extent, this posed the question ‘were the disparate charities now fit for purpose?’ A working party was established to examine the possibility of bringing the charities together. There were many advantages to this proposal but principally, the simplification of the application process for almoners (one charity rather than six), the opportunity to capitalise on a single, larger, investment portfolio and the reduction in costs associated with managing diverse investment portfolios as opposed to a single portfolio. The conclusion was that it would be to the benefit of West Lancashire charities if a merger took place and after much negotiation with the trustees of the disparate charities and liaison with the Charity Commissioners, a final set of scheme rules were agreed and the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity came into being on 1 April 2008.

    Originally based in the Masonic Hall, Hope Street, the WLFC moved to its present offices in Huyton in 2010. There are presently 34 volunteers working within the charity and, on an annual basis, grants in excess of £500,000 are disbursed.

    The West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity is the charity of and for the Freemasons’ of West Lancashire and is the culmination of a proud history of charity in the Province of West Lancashire. They are the custodians for the time being of the charity. The brethren have an obligation to care for it, support it and ensure that it is there to help generations for years to come.

  • Governed by trustees
    The trustees are drawn from a wide range of professional backgrounds suited to taking on the responsibility of overseeing a substantial financial enterprise. They have considerable experience in running charities.

    Gifts to the community
    Charitable giving has enabled Freemasons in our Province to provide valuable help in many areas such as gifts to a residential centre for young people, the purchase of land for Sea Scouts, equipment for a judo club, a new building for the use of Scouts, Guides and the community at large, gifts to an Alzheimer society, a children’s hospice, an amateur boxing club and many, many more.

  • Big enough to make a difference
    Our charity is the largest UK Masonic charity outside the Grand Charities and we anticipate making payments of £500,000 during the year to deserving causes.

    Over the years we plan to increase the level of support we can provide but this will be closely linked to the donations we receive.

    Giving
    The West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity is proud to play its part in the wider sphere of Masonic giving where £1,000,000s are provided each year for national and international causes, all from the pockets of Freemasons and often unnoticed by the general public.

  • Manned by volunteers
    Nobody in our organisation receives any payment for the time they give to our charity. Our team of volunteers are however, extremely experienced in the working of the charity and are all bound by a strict code of confidentiality.

    They are extremely dedicated, sympathetic to applicants’ difficult circumstances and happy to offer assistance and advice to those in need.

    Running a lean ship does not mean skimping on standards. Everyone involved is determined to follow best business practice and fully meet the most stringent regulatory requirements ensuring that funds are not only secure but are applied correctly and efficiently.

WLFC Logo Round cropped
The logo is simply a hand guiding a heart. The one hand represents guidance and support to the heart as opposed to two hands which might represent holding or carrying.
The blue colour is that used in the regalia of a Master Mason and the hand enters from the west indicating this western province. The heart represents the guided or supported, be it a charity cause or an individual, the red colour indicating need, hardship or distress.