Since it was founded in 1990 the NMSF
has met the cost of private medical treatment
for over 6,000 individuals. Support has
been provided to Freemasons, their wives,
widows and dependants.
Treatment has been made available at
hundreds of hospitals across the country
in response to an ever increasing demand.
Over 500 applicants have been supported in
each of the last two years. Early indications
are that the figure this year will be nearer
550. At the same time as the demand
increases so does the cost of meeting
The cost of medical treatment continues
to increase at a faster rate than high street
inflation. Five years ago a hip replacement
operation would cost, on average, £6,000.
In 2004 you will be lucky to get any change
from £8,000 for the same procedure.
A similar pattern is repeated for knee
replacement, £7,500 to £9,500; for cataract
removal £1,800 to £2,600, and for a
heart by-pass, £8,000 to £9,500. It is
not surprising that many people cannot
afford to fund their own private treatment.
Despite the extra demand and increasing
cost no applicant to the Fund has ever been
turned away through a lack of available
funds. But, a significant number do not
apply because they either do not know
about the support that may be available
or because they do not know how to apply.
If you, or someone you know, has an
identified medical need, is faced with
an unacceptable wait for the NHS and cannot
afford to fund private medical
care, contact the NMSF for advice.
A call to 020 7404 1550 or an email to
will quickly identify if help is available.
NMSF launches envelope scheme
Following a recent clarification of Inland
Revenue rules the NMSF has launched
an envelope scheme enabling tax to be
reclaimed on alms collections taken at
Lodge, Chapter or other meetings.
Similar schemes have been in use for
many years with many charities, which have
then claimed an additional 28p for every
£1 donated through the Gift Aid scheme.
Until now the central Craft charities had
not been able to benefit from such a scheme
as Inland Revenue rules required a member
of the charity to be present when the
envelopes were opened.
With Masonic meeting places spread
across the length and breadth of the country,
and only 11 staff, the NMSF was unable to
benefit from the potential extra income
available from the tax man.
Written confirmation has now been
received from the Inland Revenue that an
officer of the Lodge is able to act as an agent
of the Fund, with the result that all qualifying
donations made via the scheme will be
eligible for an extra 28% from the tax man!
The value of your donation is increased for
the benefit of NMSF and at no cost to you.
The NMSF will supply envelopes, free of
charge, as and when required. They will be
accompanied by guidance notes to ensure
that all the conditions set by the Inland
Revenue are fully met.
If you would like to make your alms
collection go even further, a call to the
NMSF on 020 7404 1550 is all that is needed.
THE GRAND CHARITY
Relief Chest Scheme
The Grand Charity Relief Chest Scheme
was launched in 1986 and offers individual
accounts Relief Chests which can
be used to accumulate funds for charitable
purposes by a Lodge, Chapter, Province or
other Masonic organisation.
The Grand Charity, on behalf of the
Lodge or other Masonic organisation,
holds the money. The Lodge etc., however,
retains control over the disposal of money.
They should use these funds to make
regular donations to any Masonic or non-
Masonic charity or to an individual (e.g. a
Lodge member or the widow of a member)
who is in need. In 2003 more than £4.5m
of charitable donations were made from
the Relief Chest.
A Relief Chest can be opened quickly
and easily following a resolution passed in
open Lodge, for which a Notice of Motion
is not essential (subject to the practice of the
Lodge). There are currently more than 3,600
individual Relief Chests in the Scheme.
The benefits of a Relief Chest account include:
A favourable interest rate earned on the
money in each account, because the money
from all accounts is pooled and the interest
rate based on this total sum.
Tax Relief obtained on all eligible
donations made by UK tax payers under
Gift Aid, currently 28p for every £1 donated
to charity, claimed by the Grand Charity on
behalf of the individual Chests and credited
to the individual Chest.
Ease of depositing contributions can
be made into the Relief Chest by direct debit
or a single payment.
Ease of donating to charities the Relief
Chest representative simply authorises a
cheque to be drawn, which is then sent to
No direct cost to Relief Chest holders.
The Relief Chest Scheme was set up to
help the Craft give to charity, easily and
tax-effectively. In 2003 over £6.5m was
deposited into the Relief Chest Fund by
Freemasons. A further £500,000 was added
as a result of tax relief gained under Gift Aid
and the Relief Chest Fund generated over
£1m in interest earnings.
The current reserves of £25.4m will
enable the Relief Chest holders to make
many thousands of charitable donations,
each bringing much needed support to those
in need, and providing opportunities for
raising awareness about the charitable giving
For more information about opening a
Relief Chest account, contact the Scheme
Office on 020 7395 9246/9361.
GRAND CHARITY GRANTS|
The Grand Charity has produced three publicity leaflets describing grants made in 2003
A few leaflets have been sent to each Provincial Grand Lodge.
Please contact the Grand Charity on 020 7395 9261 for additional copies of the leaflets for distribution and use at public events.