Wednesday 30th March saw the first “post lock-down” Almoners’ Seminar at Ashwell House, St Albans. The event enjoyed some brilliant speakers and was very well attended.
The seminar opened with a very informative presentation about the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) from the Craft Provincial Grand Almoner W Bro Tom Tinner.
The Provincial Third Grand Principal, E Comp Rod Kent followed, with a very useful presentation about mobility aids that are available on loan from the British Red Cross. You can find out more by following this link to the Red Cross website: https://www.redcross.org.uk/get-help/hire-a-wheelchair
Next, attendees were treated to a fabulous presentation from E Comp Norwell Roberts QPM, a Chapter Almoner but also Provincial Grand Almoner in the Mark degree. Norwell gave advice to those present about “how to do your best as an Almoner”, giving some great practical tips about staying in touch, informing those present that the words “contact, contact and contact again” should remain on the minds of all Almoners as a reminder to maintain regular face to face or telephone communication with ALL of their members.
Norwell went on to talk about maintaining contact with widows and relatives and reminded Almoners to act professionally and courteously when visiting those in need. The Mark degree has a separate benevolent fund that is available to all Mark Masons and if you need assistance for a Mark man you can initially discuss this with Norwell by contacting him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Attendees were able to network during their well-deserved lunch break, during which the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, James Sharpley, paid a visit.
The afternoon opened with the Royal Arch Provincial Grand Almoner, Dr Robert Gurney, giving a fairly detailed presentation about keeping people’s information safe and when and how you might record peoples’ details and, importantly, their consent to do so.
He advised that most of the information required is outlined in the MCF Data Protection Fact sheet and there is also a guide to record keeping on the MCF website or via himself as the Provincial Grand Almoner.
In concluding, Rob said, on behalf of the Province, “I would like to thank all of our guest speakers for delivering some incredibly useful and informative presentations for the benefit of our Almoners. The seminar was extremely well received by those that were able to attend and I am in the process of disseminating information from the event to all Almoners”. A further seminar is planned for later in the year as a means of providing useful information for our Almoners who are on the front line of support provision to our members.