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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Update on RMBI projects

Modernisation at Harewood Court, Hove
For some time, the RMBI has been considering how best to progress the modernisation of Harewood Court. The issue has been considered in conjunction with a review of the RMBI's role as a care provider. Residential care is central to its role, but Harewood Court provides sheltered accommodation only. On its own, this category of care no longer forms part of the RMBI's remit. However, the Trustees are keen that the provision of sheltered accommodation should continue. After much consideration, the RMBI has decided to transfer the freehold and the management of the accommodation to a partner Masonic Association. As flats become vacant, their leases will be sold and these sales will finance the cost of improvements. Leases on currently occupied flats will be bought by the RMBI, and the flats rented to the original residents. The RMBI will retain nomination rights, reserving the initial lease sales for people with Masonic connections. The RM B I is to carry out the modernisation and any urgent repairs as quickly as possible, with minimum disruption to residents.

Prince Michael of Kent Court, Watford
This Court is one of the most popular RMBI homes, and usually has a very long waiting list. This sometimes means that those who want to move into the home have to wait longer for a place than they would like. Recent extension work and room conversions have made it possible for the home to accommodate an additional 13 residents. A review of the balance of care in the home, culminated with the decision to gradually phase out nursing care and increase the number of residential and EMF (Elderly Mentally Frail) places available. Local demand for nursing care is low, but the need for residential and EM F care places is high. Staffing levels have been adjusted as skilled, highly trained carers are required, but registered nurses will only be needed on a small and specific number of occasions. District nurses will offer this support. These changes will enable the RMBI to meet more effectively the needs of those on the waiting list in this area, while continuing to offer a service that remains one of the best in Hertfordshire.

Shannon Hindhead, Surrey
Shannon Court is also a popular RMBI home and usually has a long list of people waiting to move in. The home has now benefited from a new 1 2-bedded Housegroup, designed specifically for people with dementia, Alzheimer's, and so on. It accommodates specialist purpose-built facilities for these very frail, vulnerable people. Part of the scheme involved having a wandering area for residents, which has helped reduce anxiety and confusion in such people. Other adaptation work has been completed and, again like Prince Michael of Kent Court, the net result will mean that Shannon Court will have some of the best facilities for care on offer in Surrey. This is particularly important, as there are many other homes, which people could choose in this locality, and it is vitally important that the facilities on offer in our homes are as good as, if not better than, those offered by our competitors.

RMBI resident, Jessie, is Britain's oldest person

It's official - Jessie Nicholls, an annuitant of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution since 1976 - is now the oldest person in Britain. Jessamine Nicholls, who lives in Chichester, celebrated her 110th birthday in January, and has now received official confirmation from the Guinness Book of Records that she is the UK's oldest resident. Mrs Nicholls was the eldest of four, leaving school when she was 14 to look after her sister and two brothers. She has a very happy disposition, and is convinced that is why she has lived so long. She enjoys jelly babies and a glass of sherry every day.

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