Charity is a large part of a Freemason's life. It is one of the three basic guiding principals taught to Freemasons which are: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. Relief is the word Freemasons use for charity. To the Freemason relief (charity) is not just putting money in a collecting tin - it is much more than that. Charity in its widest sense is about relationships between people, how they treat each other, the need to respect one another and tolerance of the differences between people. Practical assistance such as giving money is important but it is a charitable attitude which is paramount and it is this that Freemasons are taught in their Lodges.

Charity Watch News

This section of the website is being developed to give regular updates on the Charitable activities of Grand Lodge. We will be sharing news from the Masonic Homes in Edinburgh and Bridge of Weir as well as information on grant giving etc. We would also very much like to include items relating to the individual charitable activities of Lodges and Provincial Grand Lodges so if there is a project which a Lodge or Province is involved in which is of interest please do supply some details via the Lodge or Provincial Grand Secretary.

Benevolence

Presently there are 224 Beneficiaries who receive an Annual Grant from Grand Lodge. The grants are based on individual circumstances and, in the main, are used to help meet the cost of day-to-day living expenses. The cases for our Beneficiaries are managed and administered with the assistance of Lodges and Provincial Grand Lodges via our reporting system. In addition, some 43 Training Grants were awarded this year at a level of £450 per successful applicant. Grand Lodge also considers applications from external Charitable causes and listed below, for information, are details of the grants which have been awarded in the last three years.

DateCharityAwardComments
05.02.04 Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) £6,500.00 To assist with the operating costs of the hospice
05.02.04 Debra £500.00 Towards research into treatments and support for people with Epidermolysis Bullosa, a debilitating skin disease.
05.02.04 Teenage Cancer Trust £1,000.00 Towards developing Trusts in Glasgow and Edinburgh which will support teenagers with cancer throughout Scotland.
10.06.04 HIV-Aids Carers and Family Support Group £500.00 Towards the cost of providing a support network for carers of people who are suffering from HIV and Aids.
10.06.04 Carers Scotland £550.00 Towards the cost of a booklet to promote the positive health of carers in Scotland and raise awareness of their health needs.
28.10.04 Girlguiding Scotland £250.00 To assist in meeting the cost of building the Garden House at Netherurd.
28.10.04 ErskineHospital for Ex-Servicemen and Women £1,000.00 Towards the work of the Hospital.
28.10.04 RNIB Scotland £750.00 Towards the ongoing operation of the Employment and Learning Centre for blind and partially sighted people in Scotland.
28.10.04 Guilian-Barre Syndrome Support Group  £250.00 To assist in providing practical assistance and support and fund research into this illness.
28.10.04 Leonard Cheshire Scotland £400.00 Towards the continuing cost of the project 'Workability'.
03.02.05 CHAS £5,000.00 Towards the ongoing operation of Rachel House and the start-up costs in respect of Robyn House.
03.02.05 The Queen Mother's Memorial Fund for Scotland £25,000.00 Towards the cost of a MemorialGarden within the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.
03.02.05 The Butterfly Trust £1,000.00 Towards the provision of support and advocacy for people who suffer from Cystic Fibrosis in Scotland and for the development of a pilot programme for a youth project.
03.02.04 Distaster Emergency Committee Tsunami Appeal Fund £20,000.00  
28.04.05 Aberlour Child Care Trust £500.00 To support young runaways in Scotland.
28.04.05 Spinal Injuries Scotland £1,000.00 To assist and support an information service and outreach clinics for those who are suffering from a spinal injury.
28.04.05 Hopscotch Holidays for Kids £5,000.00 To assist in funding free holidays for disadvantaged children.
27.10.05 The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Regimental Museum Project £1,000.00 To assist with the cost of establishing a RegimentalMuseum.
27.10.05 Girl guiding Scotland £250.00 To provide ongoing support for the Girlguiding movement.
27.10.05 HIV-AIDS Carers and Family Service Provider Scotland £250.00 To assist in providing respite breaks and visits by volunteers to support those with HIV-AIDS and their families.
27.10.05 Guilian-Barre Syndrome Support Group £250.00 To assist in the ongoing work of this Organisation.
27.10.05 Special Olympics via the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow £2,500.00  
27.10.05 The Mercy Corps £1,000.00 In support of its relief effort for the victims of the Tsunami Disaster.
02.02.06 CHAS £7,500.00 Towards the ongoing operation of Rachel House and Robin House.
02.02.06 The Waterways Trust £500.00 Towards the ongoing work of this Organisation.
27.04.06 Debra £500.00 To assist with the ongoing work of this Organisation.
27.04.06 National Playbus Association Scotland £500.00 To assist with the cost of providing mobile community services.
27.04.06 Quarriers £500.00 To assist with the ongoing work of this Organisation.
14.09.06 Scottish Adoption Association  £500.00 To assist with the cost of funding 'After Adoption Services'.
14.09.06 The Scottish Memorial in Flanders Campaign  £1,000.00 Towards the cost of creating a permanent Memorial in Zonebeke
01 02 07 Myeloma UK £1,000.00 To assist with the ongoing work of this Organisation
01 02 07 CHAS £7,500.00 Towards the ongoing work of Rachel House and Robin House

(Where we have been able to identify a web site relating any of the above mentioned charities a link has been created to that web site and is shown in bold and underlined text. To visit the charity's web site click on the link but please remember that you will then leave this web site - use the back button!) 

Masonic Homes

This is an exciting and challenging time in relation to the operation of the Masonic Homes. During the past few years the Care Sector has had a new regulatory body - the Care Commission - and new National Care Standards have been implemented. There are two Masonic Homes, Sir James McKay House in Edinburgh and the Marcus Humphrey House in Bridge of Weir. The Home at Bridge of Weir also has a Day Centre. The Staff Team both in Freemasons' Hall and in the Homes themselves constantly strive to find ways of improving and enhancing the Services which are offered within the Masonic Homes. For example, the Policies and Procedures which are in place in relation to the operation of the Care Services are reviewed on an ongoing basis. In addition, the facilities and standards are similarly reviewed and improvements made where appropriate.

Presently, at Sir James McKay House, arrangements are in hand to refurbish two of the bathrooms which will modernise the facilities to make these areas more 'user friendly' and improve the quality of care for the Residents. It is also intended that the kitchen area will be refurbished and modernised shortly. At the Marcus Humphrey House, the external space outside the Day Care Unit has recently been developed with the assistance of the Volunteer Group and the Staff at the Home to provide a SensoryGarden which can be enjoyed by Residents, Service Users and their families.

Sensory Garden, Marcus Humphrey House

Grand Lodge also tries to develop innovative ways to enhance the care and support which is provided for Residents and Service Users, for example, by the use of alternative therapies such as Snoezelen Therapy, Aromatherapy and Reflexology.

Snoezelen Suite

Examples of activities which are regularly held within the Homes as part of the day-to-day running are as follows:- 

  • Old Fashioned Tea Parties.
  • Movement to Music
  • Reminiscence.
  • Dominoes and Card Games.
  • Musical evenings

The Roles of Volunteers

The day-to-day care and support which Staff provide for Residents and Service Users is, without doubt, enhanced by the Friends of the Home Volunteer Groups and the individuals, Lodges and Provincial Grand Lodges who take part in, and arrange, many in-house activities for them and their families. Examples of events which are organised by Staff and Volunteers are as follows:- 

  • An annual Garden Fête at Sir James McKay House and an annual Barbecue at the Marcus Humphrey House.
  • Burns Suppers.
  • Christmas Lunches with entertainment.
  • Hallow e'en Parties.
  • St. Andrew's Nights.
  • Evenings out to attend concerts etc.
  • Barge Trips.
  • Outings for lunch.

Sponsored Drive Marcus Humphrey House Volunteer Group

In addition, the Volunteer Groups arrange fund raising initiatives such as the recent sponsored drive which was organised by the Marcus Humphrey House Group. This received overwhelming support from the participating Provinces and as well as excellent publicity and goodwill being generated for the Home, the magnificent of £4,500 approximately was raised. Congratulations to all those involved in the organisation of this event and many thanks to the Lodges and Provinces which provided hospitality to the drivers!!

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The ultimate aim of the Grand Lodge of Scotland is that the experience of Residents and Service Users should be enjoyable, positive and meaningful and should enhance their quality of life with services being provided in a comfortable, secure and homely environment where they feel happy and at ease. The following Publications relating to Benevolence and the Masonic Homes can be obtained from Freemasons' Hall for guidance:- An Information Package giving details of the Scottish Masonic Homes and their related Care Services.Information pamphlet on the Marcus Humphrey House Day Centre.Notes for the Guidance for the Lodge Almoner (presently being updated and expanded).Guidance notes for the completion of forms relating to Benevolence and the Masonic Homes.As well as the above publications Staff in the Benevolence and Masonic Homes Department are always pleased to assist in relation to matters concerning the Masonic Homes and Benevolence, both general and relating to individual cases.

2000 Club

It is interesting to note that the 2000 Club has been in operation since 1998 and during that time the total gross income has been in excess of £191,000. This is an excellent way of contributing to the Benevolent Funds of Grand Lodge whilst having the potential to win a prize. There is a draw three times per year and prizes totalling £2,000 are awarded at each draw. Applications may be made to join the 2000 Club by completing the relevant form which is available from Freemasons' Hall or by submitting a cheque in the appropriate sum at the rate of £12 per entry per year. Grand Almoner and the Chairman and members of the Benevolence and Care Committee would be delighted if those who have not already joined the Club would consider doing so. Good luck everyone!

Visits By Dawn Oliff, The Homes and Charities Manager

The Homes and Charities Manager has visited a number of Lodges and Provinces to give an Address on the charitable work of Grand Lodge. Successful visits have been made this year to The Lorretto Centenary Lodge in the premises of Lodge No. 10 in Dalkeith, The Association of Fife and Kinross Almoners at their meeting in St Andrews and, most recently, to a meeting of the Almoners of Lodges within the Province of Linlithgowshire in the premises of Lodge St John No. 272 in Mid Calder. These occasions provide an excellent opportunity to put faces to names and to share information. The warm hospitality which is extended and the local delicacies which are provided are greatly appreciated by Dawn - from the haggis pizza which the ladies of The Lorretto Centenary Lodge provided to the special steak and gravy pies in Fife and, last but not least, the excellent egg mayonnaise rolls prepared by Willie Hands in Linlithgowshire!

Meeting with Lodge Almoners in Linlithgowshire

  • Dawn Oliff Homes and Charities Manager
  • Meeting Lodge Almoners in Linlithgowshire

The Great Scottish Walk 2006

Four members of Grand Lodge Staff participated in the Great Scottish Walk in June this year and would like to say a very big THANK YOU to all those individual members, Lodges, Provincial Grand Lodges and suppliers of goods and services to Freemasons' Hall and to the Homes who sponsored them to take part. A sum in excess of £8,500 was raised for the Benevolent Funds of Grand Lodge and the generosity of all of the sponsors is very greatly appreciated by the Chairman and Members of the Benevolence and Care Committee. As for the Staff involved, they all say it was very much worth the blisters and aches and pains!

Gift Aid (Formerly Deeds of Covenant)

Gift Aid Forms will shortly be available from Freemasons' Hall. In the past there were a considerable number of members who were UK tax payers and who made annual contributions to the Benevolent Funds of Grand Lodge by Deed of Covenant, now Gift Aid. As the appropriate sum in tax could be reclaimed this increased the original donation by around 22% which, of course, was very worthwhile. There has been a steady decline in the number of members who make donations under the Gift Aid system. If you are considering making a donation please keep the Gift Aid system in mind. Many thanks.

Charitable Giving by Lodges, Provincial and District Grand Lodges

Every year Scottish Freemasons raise large sums of money for a wide range of non-Masonic Charities throughout the world and, in order to enable accurate information to be given as to the extent of this charitable giving it is planned to compile statistical data so that the Grand Secretary and the Grand Master Mason can speak with authority in relation to this subject. It may also be the case that certain of the projects being supported at Provincial and District Grand Lodge levels may also be able to be considered for support from the Benevolent Funds of Grand Lodge. A reporting format is now in place details of which have been circulated to Provincial Grand and District Grand Secretaries, Grand Superintendents and Lodge Secretaries of Lodges under the supervision of Grand Lodge. There is no doubt that it would be extremely beneficial to have this information in order that we can establish the annual sums which Scottish Freemasons give to charity and identify the range of Charities and causes supported.

National Youth Orchestra - Staffa Award

Grand Lodge is proud to have the opportunity of sponsoring the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland Staffa Award in 2007. The finals of the award will be held in Freemasons' Hall on the eve of the first International Conference on the History of Freemasonry (ICHF) in May 2007. The NYOS STAFFA Award is a highly prestigious award and is in effect the Award to the Young UK Musician of the Year. Regional auditions are held in London with the final performances and judgements here in Edinburgh next year. The award is open to students from eight music Conservatoires in the UK, the Principals of the Conservatoires are invited to nominate three students for audition in London before a panel of musicians and then three finalists attend the performance in Edinburgh. The three Home Grand Masters, under whose patronage the International Conference is being arranged, have also been invited to the Award Ceremony. This is a high profile event which previously was recorded live by the BBC. To find out more about the Award go to: www.nyos.co.uk

Edinburgh Masons donate to local charities.

As part of the 300th anniversary celebrations of The Lodge of Journeymen Masons, No.8, the Lodge has donated a considerable sum to local charities. To read a brief press report click here or on the previous link.

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

Under the Charities and Trustees Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (referred to as OSCR) is responsible for the regulation of Charities in Scotland. We have had a number of enquiries in the Office regarding the regulation process and guidance was issued on 6th September 2006. Some Lodges were unaware that their Benevolent Funds were registered and so were surprised to receive correspondence from OSCR. Essentially, if you have a Scottish Charity listing number beginning SCO then the funds are registered. Please feel free to contact Dawn Oliff for a copy of the guidance letter or to discuss this as she will be very happy to assist.

Freemasonry is one of the world's oldest secular fraternal societies and which originated in Scotland. Below we explain Freemasonry as it exists under the Grand Lodge of Scotland which is the corporate body governing Freemasonry in Scotland and Scottish Masonic Lodges in many other parts of the world.

The explanation may correct some misconceptions.

Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas. These remain substantially the same form used in Scottish stonemasons lodges, and use Scottish stonemasons' customs and tools as allegorical guides.

The Essential Qualification for Membership

The essential qualification for admission into and continuing membership is a belief in a Supreme Being. Membership is open to men of any race or religion who can fulfil this essential qualification and who are of good repute.

Freemasonry and Religion

Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. The one essential qualification means that Freemasonry is open to men of many religions and it expects and encourages them to continue to follow their own faith. It is not permitted for Freemasons to discuss religion at Masonic meetings.

The Three Great Principles

For many years Freemasons have followed three great principles:

Brotherly Love

Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.

Relief

Freemasons are taught to practise charity and to care - not only for their own - but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals.

Truth

Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives. Freemasons believe that these principles represent a way of achieving higher standards in life.

A Freemason is encouraged to do his duty first to his God (by whatever name he is known) through his faith and religious practice; and then, without detriment to his family and those dependent on him, to his neighbour through charity and service. None of these ideas is exclusively Masonic, but all should be universally acceptable. Freemasons are expected to follow them.