Youngsters with life threatening
benefit from the work
Making it better for Masonic families
The work of the Royal Masonic Trust would
be much diminished if it were not for the help
of nearly 900 Masonic volunteers. As soon as
the Trust agrees to support a family, the sponsoring
Lodge, Province or District is asked
to identify a local Freemason to act as Case
Almoner. Sometimes the Lodge Almoner is
appointed, but often another member assumes
the role. His basic task is to visit the family
regularly, at least three times a year, and to
disburse grants awarded by the Trust. Often
the job develops into much more than that.
Seeing a family regularly ensures that
the Trust is kept informed of any additional
needs the children might have, and that the
Trust is alerted to changes in their circumstances.
The role is especially important
when a family receives State benefits.
If termly grants were paid to the family
as one lump sum it would invalidate their
claim for benefits. Instead, the local Case
Almoner pays for specific items when needed,
such as a new raincoat or a school trip.
Many Case Almoners develop a deep and
lasting friendship with their families. Some
have been guest of honour at a beneficiary’s
graduation ceremony. More than once a
long-serving Almoner has been asked by
a grateful beneficiary to give her away at
her wedding, standing in for her late father.
Occasionally the Case Almoner will be
instrumental in the introduction of a former
beneficiary into his late father’s Lodge.
In 2006, the Trust introduced training
days for its Almoners. These have proved to
be times of lively discussion with participants
and trainers alike, learning much from each
other. Run by Gill Bennett and her team of
Advisers, supported by the Trust’s welfare
team, sessions have already been held in
London, Nottingham, Norwich and Cardiff.
Sadly, less than a quarter of those invited
have attended. However, those accepting
the invitation enjoyed the days immensely
and returned to their task with renewed
enthusiasm and greater knowledge of how
to make the best of their role. The Trust is
immeasurably grateful to each and every
one of its stalwart Case Almoners.
Lifelites is born again
For most children, growing up involves
going to school, making friends and playing
sport; but for children with cancer and other
life-threatening conditions, these normal
activities are all too often out of their reach.
This is where Lifelites comes in. Through
the power of technology and high tech
entertainments, Lifelites works to give
children in hospices the chance to spend
quality time with their families, the means
to keep in contact with their school and
friends, and simply to enjoy themselves away
from the constant reality of their illness.
Many Freemasons will know of Lifelites
as the highly successful millennium project
of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and
Boys (RMTGB). However, now it is
anticipated that there will be 45 children’s
hospices by 2010, Lifelites has become an
independent charity presenting the opportunity
to raise funds external to the Craft.
Still housed with the RMTGB and
continuing to benefit from the technical
support of the volunteer Masonic Support
Groups attached to each hospice, the small
Lifelites team have started making in-roads
to secure the future of their projects.
Now in its ninth year of operation,
Lifelites’ sites cost around £600,000 a year
to run – approximately £40,000 every three
years to update an established project, and
£45,000 for a new hospice.
Chief Executive Simone Enefer-Doy
said: “Freemasons should be proud of what
has been achieved by Lifelites with their
support to date. For the new charity, it’s
early days yet, but all the signs are positive
as people are recognising the possibilities
of providing funds towards the Lifelites’
project at a children’s hospice in their area.
“We are very grateful to anyone who
can help us bring a ray of sunshine into the
lives of life-limited children by putting us
in touch with potential sources of non-
Masonic funding such as Wives and
Partners’ groups, companies, clubs or pubs.
Golf Club Captains’ funds or Mayors’
appeals would also be ideal.”
For more information visit
www.lifelites.org or call Simone on 0207
440 4200 for an appeal pack.
Giving kids with limited life,
Helping young people
31 Great Queen Street
London wc2b 5ag
T: 020 7405 2644
Fax: 020 7831 4094
Web site: www.rmtgb.org