W Bro Darrel Palmer PAGSwdB, Metropolitan Grand Almoner


In this issue, the Scrip Purse presents the Metropolitan Grand Almoner’s Annual Report for 2023-2024. It’s full of initiatives you may not have known about, and ways in which Almoners are making a difference to Brethren and their families every day.


The year 2023-24 has continued to present its challenges, with the cost-of-living crisis and new support needs being identified across all areas of the Masonic Charitable Foundation and Almoner Team’s portfolio. We continuously update and review the way we contact and support our Brethren and continue to identify gaps where we may not have the robust cover that we would like. We are rectifying this by introducing social media cover across the available platforms including Inspectorate Team awareness, Google facilities, Zoom Training sessions, YouTube, video self-help modules and monthly newsletters via Brevio, the London Almoner Magazine and Arena. Monthly Seminars are available direct to the Almoners and the Inspectorate Teams. 

Training via the monthly Zoom Almoner Seminars continue to be successful, with over 3,200 Members now having attended: register at www.rosetta.london. We are happy to provide customised seminars out of hours.

In the last 12 months, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) has disbursed circa £1.4 million in grants to 129 applicants in Metropolitan Lodges/Chapters. Anyone requiring advice or help can contact the MCF directly, in confidence on 0800 0356090, by email at help@mcf.org.uk, via www.mcf.org.uk/application/ or your Almoner.

Mental wellbeing is still a focus, but it is a sensitive subject and must be treated appropriately. We are not counsellors, and with this in mind we have developed, through our Mental Wellbeing Advisor, the Mental Health Ambassador program to support our Almoners. This will continue with bespoke mental health awareness training for those Almoners who volunteer for Ambassadorship. Contact www.theknowledgewell.co.uk/ambassadors

Support for Almoners and individual members is being extended through the Wellman-Connected program, which provides signposting to support services for mental wellbeing, carers, financial and cost of living, and physical wellbeing. This is underpinned by the development of the Tea Room as a Community hub, full of valuable contact details allowing our members to access support services anonymously. To access the Wellman-Connected Project please click here.

In association with the Inspectorate Teams, we have introduced the Metropolitan Grand Almoner’s Certificate of Merit. Recommendations from the Inspectorates are considered by a panel from the Metropolitan Grand Almoners Team and successful recipients will have their certificate either presented in their Lodge formally by a member of the Inspectorate or by the Metropolitan Grand Almoner at the London Almoner’s Lodge, Florence Nightingale Lodge No 706. 

The “adopt a widow scheme” is being enhanced. Unattached Widows are temporarily taken under the care of Florence Nightingale Lodge No 706 until an adopting Lodge is found. The Provincial Grand Almoner’s network can also assign a Widow within her local geographical area, which has an active Masonic Widows association for social interaction.

Preloved Regalia continues to flourish. Since its inception, it has raised over £55,000 from the sale of donated regalia. All monies go direct to the London Freemason’s Charity. See www.preloved-regalia.co.uk This funds emergency assistance grants: in successful applications, the MAF will match fund amounts provided by a Lodge or Chapter up to £1,500. 

The Metropolitan Grand Almoner’s Zoom Tea Room goes from strength to strength, and is available on each Tuesday, 1400-1600, each Thursday 1900-2100 and Sundays 1100-1300. In three years it has attracted Masons from all over the world. It supports those who may have difficulties, suffer from loneliness or who are confined to their homes. It can provide breakout rooms for confidential advice if required. There are additional longer sessions over Christmas, when loneliness is at its most challenging. The permanent Zoom ID is 812 3927 0223 with the password ‘TeaRoom’. 

Florence Nightingale Lodge No 706, The Almoners’ Lodge, continues to grow its membership and is open to present and past Almoners as well as those with an interest in the office. It is proving an excellent forum for charities and fosters a social connection with our peers. For more information, please contact the Secretary, bobtuthill@talktalk.net.

We also wish to express our thanks to the Metropolitan Grand Chaplain’s Office for taking part in our Seminars and providing an illuminating view of the help and support that they can offer. The concept of involving other Groups and communicating across boundaries has resulted in a much wider support package being available to our Membership. 

The Outreach programme ensures that all qualifying Masons who are not currently a member of any Lodge have access to an Almoner until they rejoin a Lodge. By fostering the Brother into the Florence Nightingale Lodge, their continued access to the MCF remains guaranteed, in addition to the standard services that they could expect from an Almoner.

We are always looking for Volunteers to work across our diverse Teams. No matter who you are, we will give you the necessary training and full support to assist Brethren in need effectively. To join, please email r.w.gardner@btinternet.com

Finally, if you are in difficulty, the 24/7 dedicated hotline is always available; at 07792 925071.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 54 April 2024 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 54 here.