Almoners Conference Report 2021

On 17th October the Suffolk Almoners Conference 2021 took place at Ashlar House with great success, supported by the PGM, DPGM & AGM. Most Lodges were represented (80%), and it was good for delegates to meetup with not only fellow Almoners but Masters, Masters designate, Almoners Designate, Lodge Secretaries and Group Reps. A good number of wives/partners also attended which was lovely to see and much appreciated; and highlighted that being an Almoner is without doubt a team affair.

The conference was chaired by the PGA, who presented his 14 member Provincial Almoners Team to the audience and emphasised that clear lines of communication via the Group Almoners are key to achieving a speedy response to a request for help/support.

The PGA presented the Provincial Almoner Service which has been developed to offer support and guidance to the Masonic community in Suffolk. The elements include Awareness/Communication, Care & Support, Training Mentoring and Recognition, plus Cornwallis Court, MCF & initiatives.

The audience witnessed very informative talks on:

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing – how to recognise the signs of poor mental health and what makes up good mental health
  • Helping with Widows/Widowers and Bereavement – maintaining contact and handling a bereavement plus supporting the family in the future
  • The MCF – what support is available, how claims are handled, and what can be achieved
  • Cornwallis Court – how the home has faired during the pandemic, support eligibility and funding options, plus the Friends initiatives to support the home
  • A new initiative called 'A Very Good Friend' – how Brethren can support each other by sharing experiences and giving confidence.

The day was topped off by a delicious Sunday lunch which was laid on by Roffs Caterers. The Provincial Grand Almoner W. Bro Jamie Gwatkin said “I am delighted that the conference was so well received. We will use the feedback to enhance the Provincial Almoner Service in 2022 so it provides greater support for Lodge Almoners and the Masonic community in Suffolk”

What delegates have said after the event:

“I certainly learnt a great deal and when I become Almoner in October 2022 in my Lodge I will have a fairly good knowledge of how the Almoners roll should work and have the guidance and help from the Provincial website and of course our Provincial Almoner and Group Almoner”

“A very interesting and enlightening Morning which has only scratched the surface”

“I found it very useful and informative, and glad to hear that you have such a great band of supporters, all the speakers were good and informative, all good company, and I came away more confident” “I have learnt more in the last three and a half hours than many years of training and reading”