The Grand Charity in major extension of membership to include all Master Masons
The Grand Charity, and its predecessor, Grand Lodge's Fund of Benevolence, has for some time assisted all Freemasons of the English Constitution and their dependants in need of financial support.
Eligibility for assistance has changed over the years, and today the Grand Charity extends its support to anyone who has belonged to a lodge under the United Grand lodge of England or, on his death, to his immediate dependants.
Although all Masons are eligible to receive help, if
needed, until very recently only a small percentage of all Masons were actually members of the Grand Charity.
Prior to June 2002, membership was restricted to those brethren who were eligible to attend Grand lodge, i.e. current Wardens, Masters and subscribing Past Masters.
In June 2002, the Grand Charity, after consultation with Grand Lodge, amended its Regulations so that all Master Masons are now members of the Charity.
The Grand Charity recognises that a few Master
Masons, as a result of their personal circumstances, may wish to decline membership.
This can be done by notifying the Secretary of the Grand Charity at 60 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AZ.
If, thereafter, a brother's circumstances change, he can easily re-establish membership.
This change in the Regulations is a very important formal recognition of the fact that the Grand Charity is the central Charity of all Freemasons under the English Constitution.
With the widening of
membership, the opportunity ,is now provided to all Master Masons to have a much more direct impact on the policies and decisions of the Charity.
All members are eligible to attend the General Meetings of the Charity, held three times each year. Members also must approve all grants to non-Masonic charities that are recommended by the Council.
The Grand Charity is the Craft Charity, and the widening of its membership emphasises the direct responsibility
of Trustees to the Craft for its management and performance.
Helping to fight the dreadful problems related to autism
Autism is a complex disorder that is characterised by an inability to develop social or communication skills and to use the imagination. Those who suffer, approximately 1% of the population, experience difficulty in forming relationships with other people.
As a result, they are isolated from the rest of society, unable to convey their thoughts, feelings and needs
and unable to understand those of other people.
Autism creates a lonely and isolated world for sufferers
and a sense of helplessness and frustration for their families. It is a lifelong condition, with no known cure.
In June, the Grand Charity approved a grant of £60,000 to support the National Autistic Society (NAS) in its drive to improve services for
children and adults with autism across the country.
Levels of awareness and
the provision of services for people with autism vary enormously from one area to another, and even within one region many different organisations provide services. At times, this leads to duplication and inefficient use of those scant resources that are available.
With support from the Grand Charity, the NAS is targeting a project in the Midlands to ensure that the help that is available reaches those who need it and to fill any gaps that may be identified.
The project will also serve as a pilot for other regions. Eileen Hopkins, Director of Development for the National Autistic Society, announced the Grand Charity's grant. She noted: 'The NAS is delighted to have received the very generous grant of £60,000 from the Grand Charity towards the work
of its regional team in
With the help of organisations like the Grand Charity, the NAS is able to improve the quality of life for all those who suffer from autism and for those who care for them.
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