Almoner support throughout the year will continue to consist primarily of one-to one discussions and briefing workshops given by the Provincial Grand Almoner and his six Regional Assistant Provincial Grand Almoners.
The workshops cover:
Practical advice to those new to the role.
Information on how and where to seek further assistance for your clients or in support of your own role.
Encouragement to Lodge Almoners to recruit 'Assistants to the Lodge Almoner' in every Lodge in order to share the workload and thereby ensure anyone in need is not overlooked.
Almoner training is a continuous duty of the Provincial Almoner and his six Assistants. Almoners are informed of their duties to their Lodge Members and the assistance available from the four Masonic Charities and how to apply for and obtain that assistance. Almoners are shown how to complete an application form and to collate all the information required which is essential in obtaining a grant or any other assistance required. The completion of a grant application is no simple task particularly to a new Almoner who may be making his first visit to a Brother in need. The Lodge Almoner is encouraged to ask the Provincial Almoner or one of his Assistants to accompany him on the visit and thereby feel confident that the visit will be successful whilst gaining valuable experience in his role.
This year, Regional Almoners' Training Seminars have been held in Slough, Marlow, Beaconsfield and Stony Stratford & Wolverton and are soon to be held in Aylesbury and Bletchley along with other satellite Masonic Centres. Local Almoners will receive notice of dates and times individually by their regional Assistant.
Meanwhile the Provincial Almoner and his Assistants must keep up with all the latest developments within the four Masonic Charities. To this end, this year we have all attended Seminars in Beaconsfield and Oxford along with our counterparts from Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Middlesex. I also attended a two day Almoner's Conference in Cardiff in October and will be present at the Masonic Relief Grant Committee later this year.
Phil Blacklaw Provincial Grand Almoner