We are extremely lucky within our Province to have Prince George Duke of Kent Court, a care home in Chislehurst.
Grand Lodge started the Royal Masonic Benevolent Annuity Fund for men in 1842 and for females in 1849. In 1850, the first Home was opened in East Croydon and the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) was established. https://www.rmbi.org.uk/
The Home remained in Croydon for over 100 years until 1955 when it was transferred to Harewood Court in Hove after identifying the need for bigger premises. Today, RMBI Care Co. has 18 care homes in England and Wales and supports older Freemasons, their families and people in the wider community with residential care, nursing and dementia support.
Each home has a local Association of Friends organisation and The ‘Friends’ objective is well defined in their Constitution. From their website their mission is;
“to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of the residents of Prince George Duke of Kent Court by the provision of recreational and other facilities”
“We raise funds:
• We provide personal assistance at the Court;
• We provide residents with social and recreational amenities and activities;
• We befriend residents and in doing so bring the outside in;
• We provide extra facilities that the residents would not otherwise receive.
Our Committee of around 25 directly organise and support many events during the year. Some of these are regular events, such as the Spring Fair in May, a ‘themed’ Tea in the Summer and the Christmas Fair in December. Others are organised on an ad-hoc basis and include Cheese and Wine evenings, quizzes and similar social events. We pay for a Christmas present every year which is delivered to each resident by our very own Santa.
Barely a day goes by at the Home without some form of stimulating or entertaining activity organised by the activity co-ordinators who we provide with an entertainment budget in excess of £8,500 per annum.
Over the years with your help we have paid for a number of material items for the Home – ranging from sun-shades, raised flower beds and plants for the garden to additional televisions, computers and public address/entertainment equipment and ‘themed’ dementia friendly corridor decorations. We have also provided a wheel-chair adapted vehicle and a multi-seat minibus.
Your help gives us the opportunity to finance almost 100 activity events throughout the year. To give you a flavour of what you help to provide – residents can enjoy:
- Aromatherapy Hand and Forearm Massage
- Music for Health
- Indian Head Massage
- Over 20 different musical entertainers
- The Caledonian Society of Scottish Dancers
- The Hayes Ladies Choir
- Exotic Animal Handling & The Living Egg Programme – Hatching Chicks.
Using the mini buses provided by the Association of Friends and the Metropolitan Mark Lodge of London residents can enjoy weekly shopping trips – tea and cake at Ruxley Manor Garden Centre and Polhill Garden Centre – tea and cakes at Marks and Spencer and at Biggin Hill Airport “Look Out Coffee Shop” and a popular one, Fish & Chips at Herne Bay.
Providing funds and facilities and working with the Home’s staff for the benefit of residents is an immensely rewarding and satisfying experience. It enables us to directly help our Brethren and their dependents to have a better quality of life.
What can you do to become part of this rewarding experience?
- By becoming our champion in your Lodge;
- By actively advertising what we do;
- By promoting and attending our Fairs;
- By encouraging your Lodge to become Patrons of our Association;
- Above all by understanding what it means to a lonely person in strange surroundings to know that they are not alone and are still valued.”
Their website is https://www.friendschislehurst.org/
At Petts Wood Lodge we have been supporting the Association of Friends by organising the yearly Easter Egg Hunt normally held on Easter Saturday with thousands of Easter eggs hidden all around the grounds for the youngsters to find. It brings together families and their loved ones and friends from across the Province. The children manage to make quick work of the hunt and refreshments and a raffle round off a fun filled morning with all profits going to the Association fo Friends for their many wonderful projects.
The annual Spring Fair sees our Lodge providing the ‘Whaley’ Barbecue to feed the visitors and residents alike. Lodges from around the Province take part in raising much needed funds and a great time is had by all. A Christmas Fair and a strawberry Tea also provide entertainment and funds too. Monthly coffee mornings sponsored by Lodges help to include residents and Lodge members with social fun events.
We are certainly blessed to have such a wonderful home in our Province and to have dedicated and hard working RMBI care professionals looking after our members and dependents.
The Association of Friends provides those little (and not so little) things that make a huge difference to the lives of those cared for at the home.
Please visit the Association of Friends Website and see how you can play a part through volunteering or donating. It is not always about donating money, donating your time to help out are both rewarding and satisfying ways to support.