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Annual Review 2012/13

Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

Maddie is seven years old. In February 2012 her Freemason father was diagnosed with kidney cancer and secondary cancer of the spine. His condition means that he is unable to work, but we have been able to help Maddie with a regular maintenance allowance so that her family can continue to support her. We have also awarded grants for Maddie’s swimming and dance lessons and help to meet some of her childcare costs, enabling her mother to remain in employment.

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Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

The Ruspini legacy In 1788 Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini established Freemasonry’s first charity and in 2013 we celebrate our 225th anniversary. Ruspini’s vision and determination created a lasting legacy that has helped to support many thousands of children, including two of Charles Dickens’ nieces and the daughters of a man who died in the Titanic disaster.


At a time when we are receiving the highest number of new applications in our long history, we believe that Ruspini would be proud that the charity he founded still thrives and is able to provide vital support which is relevant to the needs of today’s young people.

Our mission is “to relieve poverty and advance the education of children of a Masonic family and, when funds permit, support other children in need.”

This Annual Review gives an insight into some of the support we have provided to children and young people of Masonic families over the last year. It also describes how we have relieved poverty and removed barriers to education for many other children with no connection to Freemasonry.

During the last year we pursued our mission by supporting over 2,000 children of Masonic families, all of whom were facing the effects of poverty.

With greater numbers of children needing our assistance, voluntary donations remain vital to our work and we are extremely grateful to those who have given or raised funds in support of our activities. In particular our thanks go to the Brethren of the Province of Devonshire for achieving a fantastic 2012 Festival total of £3.84m and we are delighted that Michael Penny, Past Provincial Grand Master for Devonshire, will continue to support us as a member of our Council.

Our assistance is available until the child completes their full-time education or until their family are no longer facing financial hardship.

We also record our thanks to Nicolas Hart who stands down as Treasurer in 2013 after six years. During a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty the wisdom and guidance of our Treasurer and his fellow members of Council have helped to keep a tight control on expenditure and nurture the investments which provide an important part of our income. Looking ahead, we will continue to work closely with the other central Masonic Charities and review the ways in which we provide support and communicate with the Craft. Our collective aim is to evolve and use the resources available to us even more efficiently to ensure that we can provide a wide range of support for the entire Masonic family for many generations to come. In conclusion, we record our grateful thanks to the Almoners, Charity Stewards, volunteers and to our staff who do so much to support our work. Les Hutchinson – Chief Executive & Mike Woodcock – President

We have also improved the lives of other children in need by… • Fostering exceptional talent in music, sport and the performing arts • Enabling unique and life-changing opportunities for young people • Awarding grants to non-Masonic children’s charities • Helping Lifelites to improve the lives of children and babies in hospices • Providing bursaries to choristers at cathedrals In total, our support during the year has benefited around 12,000 children and young people. In 2012, the cost of providing this support exceeded £10m and we are extremely grateful to all our supporters who enable us to continue our work.

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Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

The effects of poverty Poverty means a lack of sufficient funds to support basic needs. It affects all aspects of life and for children the consequences of poverty can impact upon their future development and success.

Ellie is 17 years old. Her Freemason father died nine years ago. We provide Ellie with a regular maintenance allowance to ensure that she has all the things she needs during her education and recently supported an opportunity for her to join her classmates on an overseas school trip. We were also able to provide an undergraduate scholarship to Ellie’s elder sister Sarah during her time at University.

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Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

What are the consequences of poverty? Children facing the effects of poverty can expect to live very different lives to those of other children. According to the 'Campaign to End Child Poverty'1 a child facing the effects of poverty will generally: • achieve fewer qualifications • miss out on social activities • be less likely to have a hobby The damage caused by poverty extends far beyond a short-term lack of money or material items; it can affect a child’s health and long-term ability to succeed in life, develop lasting friendships and pursue interests and passions. For children from lone-parent families, the impact can often be even greater. In severe cases, the consequences of poverty become even more damaging, with children facing a greater likelihood of engaging in criminal activity; they also have a lower life expectancy.

What are the causes of poverty? The current economic situation has led to more children living in households that have been affected by unemployment, often caused by redundancy or business failure. A common misconception about poverty is that it is caused simply by such financial events that have led to a family losing its income. In fact, nearly two-thirds of children living in poverty come from households where at least one adult works. Often, the cause of poverty can be traced back to other events, such as death, disability or family breakdown. We classify these events as a ‘distress’. A distress cannot be undone, but in cases where it leads – or may lead – to a child of a Masonic family facing the effects of poverty, we can offer our help to protect their future.

Our commitment to relieving poverty Primarily, we exist to protect the welfare and education of children and young people with a Masonic connection, all of whom have faced a life-changing distress which has led to poverty. Usually the qualifying Freemason is the child’s father or grandfather. Following a distress, a family can apply for support either directly or through a Lodge Almoner. The application process includes a financial assessment and a welfare report which our grants committee use to determine an appropriate level of support. During the year, we provided support to over 2,000 children and young people of Masonic families who, without this support, would still be experiencing the effects of poverty.

Of the 2,000 children we currently support… 30%


faced the death of a parent

were affected by disability



lived through a family breakdown

had a parent facing redundancy or bankruptcy

Ben: Life-changing distress Ben was in his final year at college. He was approaching his A-level exams, had been predicted excellent grades and had applied for a place at university. He was looking forward to joining his classmates on a field trip later in the year and outside the classroom, he was the captain of a local youth cricket team. Ben’s parents were very proud of their son’s progress and had worked hard to give him the best start in life, including extra home tuition to help with his dyslexia. They were also saving to buy a laptop for Ben to use when he went to university. Damaging consequences One day, Ben’s father returned home from work and told his family that he had been made redundant. The implications for Ben soon became clear. His parents were no longer able to afford his extra tuition; his cricket coaching would have to stop; and he would not be able to attend the field trip. The savings for his laptop were now needed to pay the bills. His father’s redundancy was completely outside Ben’s control but it was having a severe impact on his education and development at a crucial time in his young life. Fortunately for Ben, we were there to help – see page 7

1. (2010) End Child Poverty. [online] Available at:

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Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

Helping children and young people of Masonic families Our financial grants and practical welfare assistance give children and young people the opportunity to complete the education and training they need to succeed in life.

Ewan is nine years old and the son of a Freemason. He had a brain haemorrhage shortly after birth which left him with mobility problems. We provide a regular maintenance allowance to help Ewan’s family provide for him. We have also assisted in other ways to make his childhood more enjoyable, such as funding a computer package to help with his school work.

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Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

How do we make a difference? Once an application has been accepted, we provide financial grants which enable children and young people to continue their education and participate in extracurricular activities. Our focus is always on the child and grants are tailored to the specific circumstances of each family. Our support usually takes the form of a regular maintenance allowance, but when appropriate it can also include: • Undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships • Computer equipment • Educational visits • School travel • School uniforms • Course fees • School fee bursaries • Musical instruments and lessons • Sports equipment and coaching Families with particularly low incomes may also receive Christmas or summer holiday grants to enable them to spend some quality time together. Support towards independent school fees is only considered in a very limited number of cases where there are exceptional circumstances.

Beyond financial support In addition to our financial grants, our Welfare and Case Adviser teams remain in regular contact with families to provide practical support and guidance. These teams help ensure that the families we support receive the state benefits to which they are entitled and can access other relevant services. They are also able to draw upon their experience in areas such as counselling, family therapy and educational and careers guidance. This regular contact helps us to monitor and assess the needs of each child as their education progresses.

What is a maintenance allowance? Our maintenance allowances are regular financial payments that support children who are of pre-school age or participating in primary, secondary or further education on a full-time basis. They are paid directly to families to help them provide for their children’s education and wellbeing. A maintenance allowance is not intended to be used for basic living expenses such as housing costs, utility bills or groceries, but for educational materials such as books and stationery as well as other essential items such as shoes and clothing. The amount of maintenance allowance each child receives takes into account the family’s income, the age of the child and their level of education. As these factors can change, the amount payable can also change. Our maximum support is only provided to families with an annual income after housing costs of less than £5,000.

Ben: A promising future When Ben’s grandfather – a Freemason – found out about his family’s situation, he spoke to the Almoner of his Lodge to ask if anyone could help. He was told about the support we could provide and an application was made on Ben’s behalf. Within two weeks, one of our Welfare Advisers visited the family to discuss their situation. During the visit, the family received help to secure relevant state benefits and a report was compiled which recommended that we should also provide a tailored package of financial grants. The impact of our support Our support ensured that Ben’s education would be unaffected by the financial hardship experienced by his family. His vital extra tuition continued and he was able to recommence his cricket coaching. Ben was also delighted that he could still attend the field trip and that we were able to provide the laptop that would be essential for his future studies. Six months after our support commenced, Ben sat his A-levels. He passed with flying colours and is now progressing well at university where he is reading history. When he is not studying, he continues to play cricket and volunteers as a youth coach at a local sports centre. Ben’s father has now found part-time work and our level of support has reduced to reflect the family’s improved financial situation, but we will continue to assist for as long as necessary. Things could have turned out very differently for Ben, but we were there to help him and his family when it mattered most.

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Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

Enabling success and improving young lives

Through additional schemes and initiatives, we have assisted a further 10,000 children and young people, most of whom have no connection with Freemasonry.

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Lily is 19 years old and a talented footballer. She began playing football at the age of five and went on to captain England at youth level. In 2010 she was offered the opportunity to join the Arsenal Ladies Academy, but her family – including her Freemason Grandfather – were unable to meet the full cost of her travel and accommodation. Our TalentAid grant ensured that Lily could seize this once-in-alifetime opportunity and continue to develop her promising sporting career. Lily is currently on-loan from Arsenal and plays as a striker for Brighton and Hove Albion where she recently received the club’s Player of the Year Award.

Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

Fostering exceptional talent Our TalentAid scheme helps to support children and young people from Masonic families who are exceptionally gifted in music, sport or the performing arts. During the year, TalentAid supported 75 young people, such as Lily (left). All those receiving support have demonstrated that they intend to pursue their talent as a career and have proved their ability by passing recognised examinations, gaining entry to highly competitive schemes, groups or courses, or by competing at regional or national levels.

Enabling unique and life-changing opportunities

Stepping Stones

We continue to operate a number of initiatives to support life-changing opportunities such as postgraduate education, overseas educational travel and some forms of student accommodation. Over 190 young people benefited from these initiatives during the year.

Last year, a grant of £14,495 was awarded to support the Whizz-Kidz Work Placements Programme which secures work experience and helps with CV writing and job application forms for young disabled people in the north of England.

Beyond our Masonic family After fulfilling our duty to the children of Masonic families we are able to support other children in need. This year, we were able to improve the lives of around 10,000 children and young people with no connection to Freemasonry. This was achieved in three ways:

Grants to children’s charities Stepping Stones is a grant-making scheme which aims to help break the link between poverty and the lack of access to education. During the year, this scheme provided grants to nine charities and programmes working to alleviate poverty and improve educational outcomes for around 500 disadvantaged children and young people.

Francis (above) is 16 years old. He has cerebral palsy which means he cannot walk and needs support when in his wheelchair. Our grant enabled Whizz-Kidz to secure a suitable work placement for Francis at a local museum. The experience helped him gain confidence, learn how to perform a number of workplace tasks and develop vital experience for the future.

Providing bursaries to choristers Our Choral Bursary scheme supports talented young choristers that have been nominated by cathedrals and other choral foundations in England and Wales. Last year, our bursaries enabled 36 young people to become choristers, attend choral schools and receive music lessons when their families were unable to meet the cost.

Helping Lifelites support children’s hospices Lifelites is a unique charity that provides cutting-edge computer equipment to children’s hospices. Lifelites ensures that children and their families can access the latest inclusive educational and fun technology. During the year, Lifelites expanded to include the three ‘Zoë’s Place’ baby hospices and also installed the first ever ‘Eye Gaze’ package in a children’s hospice. This revolutionary technology allows even the most severely disabled children to use a computer by tracking their eye movements. Although Lifelites is part of the RMTGB Group, it is a separate charity and all of its charitable activities are financed through independent fundraising. We are grateful for the direct support that Lifelites has received from Freemasonry and other organisations during the year. Lifelites is a registered charity (No. 1115655). Please visit for more information.

In 2012, further Stepping Stones grants were awarded to: • Embrace Child Victims of Crime (above) • The Haven, Wolverhampton • Deafness Support Network • National Autistic Society • Sense • SkillForce • White Lodge Centre • Youth at Risk

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Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

Raising the funds In November 2012, Freemasons and their families from the Province of Devonshire celebrated raising a magnificent £3,836,625 in support of our work. The result of the Province’s 2012 Festival Appeal, which had lasted almost six years, was revealed during a memorable night on the English Riviera.

Thank you We continue to rely on regular donations and support from those who take part in fundraising activities. In January 2013, Freemason Tony Welland (above) raised a significant sum towards Hampshire and Isle of Wight’s 2016 Festival Appeal by jumping from the top of the 746ft Macau tower in China which is the world’s highest bungy jump. A video of Tony’s incredible jump can be found on our website at Thank you to all our donors and fundraisers who have supported us so generously throughout the year.

Gift Aid As a registered charity, we are able to reclaim Gift Aid tax relief on all donations that are made by individuals who have signed an appropriate declaration form. By completing a Gift Aid declaration, we can reclaim 25p for every £1 you donate. If you pay income or capital gains tax you can complete the Gift Aid declaration attached to the final page of this Annual Review or download a donation form from Through this simple process, we have been able to reclaim almost £250,000 from HMRC during the last year, enough to fund all our Stepping Stones grants for the same period.

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Over 600 Freemasons and their families gathered at the Riviera International Conference Centre in the presence of Senior Grand Warden, Hon. Andrew Wigram MVO and the then Provincial Grand Master for Devonshire, Michael Penny (below). Following a banquet of local food, the final result and the Province's top performing Lodges were revealed: Loyal Lodge of Industry (No. 421) raised a grand total of £61,321 and Lodge of Union (No. 444), with only 30 members, raised a remarkable average of £1,581 per member. Following the loud cheers which greeted the final announcement our President thanked the Province of Devonshire for their hard work and highlighted the professional manner in which the Appeal had been managed. He also explained the difference that this generous support had already made:

“Through your kindness and generosity you have helped to support disadvantaged children of our Masonic family and many others who never had half the chances that most of us had. Now they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential and succeed in life.” During the dinner, harpist and former TalentAid beneficiary Angelina Warburton played a variety of popular classics and was followed by a lively performance by the Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra, whose trumpeter has also received our support. We wish Revd Malcolm Lane, Provincial Grand Master for Monmouthshire and the Brethren of his Province every success in the final months of their Festival Appeal which will conclude in September 2013.

Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

Financial report In 2012, we accepted 416 new applications for support. This is the highest increase in our history and brings the total number of Masonic beneficiaries being supported to over 2,000. In addition, our Stepping Stones grants, Choral Bursaries and Lifelites (Registered Charity No. 1115655) have helped a further 10,000 children. Total charitable expenditure exceeded £9m, an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year and this reflects the continuing financial difficulties being experienced by many families. Thankfully, due to the generosity of Freemasons over many generations, we remain well placed to weather the storm and respond to their needs. Festival Appeals and other donations represented our main source of income and we were fortunate to benefit from a remarkable year for legacy income. We are extremely grateful to all those who have made a donation or remembered us in their will. Last year, our overhead costs, excluding investment management fees, reduced to around 10 per cent of our total expenditure. Our investments have benefited from recent improvements in the markets, resulting in modest gains, some of which have been realised to fund expenditure. Our investment managers continue to operate a cautious strategy and in view of the on-going uncertainty and potential for future volatility, our Trustees remain satisfied with this approach.



Festival income and other donations



Net investment income








Petition beneficiaries






Stepping Stones and Choral Bursaries






Fundraising and governance





Investment gains (losses)



Net surplus (deficit) in the year



Total funds



Group summary accounts Income


Shortfall between voluntary income and expenditure £14m



Once again, we were able to meet our commitment to all existing beneficiaries and provide support to other eligible children brought to our attention.


In the year ahead, we anticipate further steps towards closer integration between the four central Masonic charities. This process will help identify additional cost savings and provide a more efficient, flexible service for Freemasons and their families.




0 1986


Total expenditure






Voluntary income (excluding return on investments)

The financial information in this Annual Review is based on the unaudited draft management accounts for the year ended 31 December 2012 and summarises the key sources of income and how it was used. The full audited Annual Report and accounts will be considered for approval at the AGM and General Court on 26 June 2013 when copies will also be available on our website:

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Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

Our founder, Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini, leads a procession of orphaned girls into a meeting of Grand Lodge in the presence of the Prince of Wales.

Relieving poverty and advancing education for 225 years Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ Grand President HRH The Duke of Kent, KG President Mike Woodcock Chief Executive Les Hutchinson Tel Email Web Facebook Twitter

020 7405 2644 @rmtgb

Registered Charity No. 285836 12 | Annual Review 2012/13

Annual review 2012 13  

The 2012-13 Annual Review of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

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