The BMCF assists freemasons and/or their families to improve their lives, by encouraging opportunity, promoting independence, and improving their wellbeing.
Any serving member of a Masonic Lodge residing in the Province of Antrim or inside a six-mile radius of Belfast within the jurisdictional Province of Down, and subscribing to the Fund on an annual basis. We also support their partners, the direct dependants of Freemasons (children, stepchildren, and grandchildren) in a variety of circumstances.
The form of assistance may be monetary, or, at the discretion of the Committee, whichever is best suited to the needs of the applicant.
- social care
- family circumstances
Financial Help with the Cost of Living:
Grants will be considered where there is a need for ongoing financial support. Support is aimed at increasing household income to improve everyday living standards to an acceptable level, preventing and assisting the relief of poverty.
Help through an accident, bereavement, redundancy, or other personal crisis: Grants for everyday living costs and other essential expenses resulting from short-term or unexpected financial difficulty.
Although the BMCF will not repay debts, we may in circumstances be able to offer ongoing support with expenses to preventing further escalation of debt during a recovery period of debt repayment. This may involve a structured recovery plan by an independent advisor or debt counsellor.
To help applicants retain their independence, grants are available for a range of mobility aids including mobility scooters, stairlifts, power chairs, wheelchairs, rollators etc.
Grants can be considered for home adaptations for people living with disabilities or mobility problems. Examples include minor interior alterations, installing ramps for accessibility. Each case is considered on individual merit.
Grants to assist with all or part off medical treatment or minor surgery may also be available subject to excessive NHS waiting times determining a life-threatening situation or further deterioration of circumstances worsening health. Alternatively, assistance may also be provided in circumstances of family income being affected due to medical or health grounds giving cause to depleted family finances. We have recently had several cases where we were able to assist families whose children required cancer treatment outside of Northern Ireland.
Consultation and Assessment:
Grants are available to cover full or part costs of consultations or assessments where individuals are facing an excessive NHS waiting list to determine a worsening situation affecting acceleration of health issues and quality of life.
We can arrange face-to-face sessions with a qualified and experienced counsellor based within 15 miles of an applicant’s home or place of work.
We appreciate the strain that caring brings to families and will consider an application to facilitate Respite care.
It would be quite impossible to make a list of everything we would be prepared to consider - if you identify a need, we will be more than happy to discuss it with you.
Increasingly we are receiving applications which are more appropriately dealt with by the provision of a one-off grant, for example we have only recently assisted the following.
- supplied several stair lifts, allowing applicants with mobility issues to safely have full facility excess of their home. In many cases the installation of this equipment has prevented a family member from being consigned to a care home allowing them to remain within the comfort and privacy of their family environment in their own home.
- supplied educational equipment to severely disabled children.
- funded eye surgery for the wife of a mason following a medical report confirming that the applicant was likely to lose her eyesight while awaiting NHS surgery.
- supplied numerous mobility scooters, giving applicants greater mobility and independence, preventing them from being housebound and socially isolated. Also enhances and broadens family social activities to benefit carers.
- funded counselling for children after the suicide of a parent.
- supplied advice, and where necessary instigated referrals for further advice on government benefits and a variety of associated services.
- prevented home evictions and assisted emergency housing thus preventing homelessness
- assisted circumstances of depleted employment income which was not covered within the parameters of the ‘government stimulus’ programme.
- funded medical scan, required to allow much needed treatment to commence, NHS scan having been delayed indefinitely due to the Corona Virus pandemic.