ISSUE 2, July 2002
Brothers in endurance: Sir Ernest Shackleton
Travel: Florida
Jack the Ripper: Exploring the Masonic link
Quarterly Communication: Annual Investiture address by the Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes and Report of the Library and Museum Trust
Masonic News: Order of Service to Masonry; Grand Lodge deficit; Alvin Coburn pioneer photographer; Royal Masonic Variety Show
   Royal Arch News: Concern over falling exaltations
Charity News: Masonic relief grants launched; New RMBI video; Help is at hand through the NMSF; RMBI challenges and change; Update on RMBI projects; RMBI resident Jessie is Britain's oldest person; Grand Charity grant to National Asthma Campaign; TalentAid
Masonic Homes: Proud and independent
Library and Museum news: Recent library acquisitions
Book reviews

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RMBI challenge and change

As reported in the first edition of MO, in the course of this year, the responsibility for providing the current Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) annuities will be taken over by the Grand Charity. This will be through the payment of grants to existing recipients being met from investment funds transferred from the RMBI to the Grand Charity.
    Following this reorganisation, the RMBI will be able to concentrate on its central purpose of providing care "in-house" for older and infirm people.
    The start of this new century coincides with a time of tremendous challenge and change within the care service industry. Like all other providers of care, the RMBI is faced with rapidly changing and ever increasing legislative requirements with which we must comply. The RMBI welcomes the fact that such legislation is designed fundamentally to protect vulnerable people.
    Nevertheless, some of the standards requested - and indeed required - will need careful consideration and planning over the next few months and years.
    Set against this background of difficulties, many of our Homes continue to thrive and develop. Generally, the inspection reports received from regulatory authorities that oversee our work are very complimentary.
    On some occasions, remarks have indicated that the RMBI home in question can be seen as a model of good practice.
    The care home industry is very competitive. We cannot afford to be complacent and rely on the fact that, because our homes are offering people the opportunity for Masonic fellowship, this will be enough. Increasingly, we find that prospective residents are very selective about the type of home they will enter, and the facilities they want on coming into care.
    As a consequence, we are endeavouring to ensure that the facilities at our homes are up to scratch and reflect what people want.

Update on RMBI projects

A number of exciting projects have been completed and others continue to progress.

Scarbrough Court, Cramlington, Northumberland
Work is under way to find a new site for Scarbrough Court. The home, purpose built in 1967, is in need of major refurbishment at an estimated cost of more than 2 million. It is, however, unlikely that this expenditure will enable the home to meet fully the requirements of new legislation - The Care Standards Act 2000. In addition, the current home's location is not ideal. There will be significant future demand for care provision in the area. The new home will be accessible to the Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland areas. A design brief for the replacement home will be prepared in consultation with residents, care staff and the Association of Friends. All existing residents will be accommodated in the replacement home, and staff will all be able to transfer to the new home if they wish. The RMBI Trustees propose to continue care provision at Cramlington for about three years, whilst seeking a suitable site for a replacement home. Meantime, urgent repairs have been carried out to ensure the well being of residents during this interim period.

Refurbishment at Ecclesholme, Manchester
The RMBI Trustees, after carefully considering the implications of The Care Standards Act 2000, and having discussions with all concerned parties, announced that care provision would continue at the home. There will be sufficient future demand from older Freemasons and their dependants in the area, and the home can be successfully and economically redesigned to meet new requirements. The refurbishment and development to meet the current and future needs of residents will proceed as quickly as possible. It is hoped that work will commence later this year.

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