Wednesday, 4 March 2015

I am now an Almoner!

Yesterday morning I managed to fix the replacement Dutch-Belgian infantry figure to its base, but I did not have time to begin painting all the bases of Brunswick and Dutch-Belgian infantry I have prepared because I had to go back to Freemason's Hall for the second day running. This visit was not so that I could attend another Masonic meeting but so that I could go to an Almoner's Workshop.

All Masonic Lodges and a Royal Arch Chapters have an officer who is denoted to be the Almoner, and I was recently appointed to be Almoner of a Chapter. The office is an important one as the Almoner is responsible for looking after the well-being of the members of their Lodge or Chapter. This responsibility includes the families and dependants of those members, and involves such tasks as sending 'Get Well' cards to anyone who is sick, keeping in contact with the widows of deceased members (and sending them a Christmas Card and small present every year), and assisting members and their dependents in time of need. The latter may well include helping them to obtain financial assistance and/or support from one of the four national Masonic charities.


The workshop was the first step towards me becoming a fully-functioning Almoner, and I learnt a tremendous amount about the work involved, what help and assistance was available to help me fulfil the responsibilities of my office, and how to do it quickly, efficiently, and effectively. All I have to do now is to begin implementing what I have learnt.

(I did get a certificate to say that I had successfully passed the exam at the end of the workshop, and I was also given a lapel badge that shows people that I am now an Almoner.)

I am already earning my keep as an Almoner, and I am currently doing my best to help the widow and family of a deceased member of my Chapter who have a problem that needs to be solved. As a result I am on a steep learning curve and I am fast becoming an 'expert' when it comes to post-operative residential patient care!

I may have become a Old Age Pensioner less than a month ago, but it certainly looks as if I am not going to have a relaxing, workless retirement!

10 comments:

  1. All power to your elbow in this respect Bob.

    Jim

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  2. Jim Duncan,

    Cheers! I just hope that I will be able to help as many people as I can.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Hi Bob,

    Far better to "shine in use", than moldering away. Within reason, of course. Good for you for stepping up to the challenges that await.

    Martin

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  4. Martin,

    I would rather do something with my time than sit around doing nothing (which a lot of retired people tend to do) ... and experience tells me that keeping mentally active will help me keep healthy ... so it's a win-win situation as far as I can see,

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Nothing to do with nuts then.

    Seriously though this is a very worthy and much needed task to take on. Well done for stepping up.

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  6. Ross Mac,

    If you mean being driven nuts by the way the social and medical services 'work' in the UK, then it certainly is to do with nuts!

    Each hospital trust and each local government area interprets - and therefore implements - the regulations and guidance they are given in their own way. There is therefore little or no consistent policy or provision across the board. What is automatic in one area has to be demanded in the next door area. In addition one is always aware that keeping costs down often appears to be more important than actually providing a service or support.

    I am on a very steep learning curve, but I am at least trying to help people who are in need.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Well done Bob. It can be a very difficult job and it is certainly not a sinecure. My lodge and chapter are fortunate to have a cracking almoner. We then have a very helpful Provincial almoner who is always there to help out and provide guidance. Rarely will you come across a problem which hasn't been experienced before.

    Top tip is to try and encourage all the brethren and widows to be on e-mail. It just saves you so much time and also means you can keep all of them regularly informed as to activities, lodge news etc. Our eldest widow is in her 90's and regularly communicates by e-mail. If she can do it so can everyone else or their family. They also can have their Christmas M&S vouchers by email. Cuts down the costs for the lodge as well! The buzz word round here is care in all its forms and our almoner is at the forefront of those efforts.

    Regards,
    Guy

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  8. Guy,

    I get the impression that in some Lodges and Chapters the Almoner is more of an honorary office than an active one.

    Although I have only just become an Almoner, I am already beginning to sort things out. My predecessor did a good job and passed on a lot of useful information. I have already written to all the members and the widows to introduce myself, and I have set up a database to handle essential information.

    My next step is to set up a separate Almoner's email account, and after that I am going to contact everyone on my database to get their email addresses so that I can use that as my primary point-of-contact ... just as you suggest.

    I am already trying to help one of the widows, and this has brought me into contact with two other Almoners (including the almoner of the deceased brother's Mother Lodge) who are also trying to help her.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Congratulations Bro.

    A Lodge officer's work can really take up your time. Relief though is such a central part of the whole journey.

    Fraternally,

    Mark

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  10. The Wilde Geese (Bro Mark),

    I have been through almost all the other Offices in a Lodge (I have yet to be Chaplain, Treasurer, or Charity Steward), and I am already learning that being Almoner is no sinecure ... and it is nice to be directly involved in relief.

    Sincerely and fraternally,

    Bob

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