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What is Lifelites and who does it support?
Lifelites (Charity No. 1115655) provides fun and educational technology such as computers and games consoles to children and their families who visit children’s hospices across the UK such as Naomi House in Hampshire. Lifelites was originally an initiative that was established by the Trust to mark the new millennium, but since 2006 it has been operating as a national charity in its own right. We continue to support Lifelites through the provision of office accommodation
and other back-office functions. Lifelites relies on the donations from Freemasons and others, but our support means that every penny donated can be used directly to provide equipment for children’s hospices.
What is the Stepping Stones initiative and how much do you commit annually to it?
Stepping Stones is the name of our
non-masonic grant-making scheme.
It provides one-off grants of up to
£30,000 to national or local charities that, like us, are working to improve the lives of children and young people. We recently have supported charities such as Whizz-Kidz, Centrepoint and WellChild. Since the Stepping Stones scheme was launched, we have awarded grants totalling almost £500,000 to 24 non-Masonic charities. We estimate that these grants have improved the lives of an around 1,200 children and young people in addition to those who we support directly.
How much does it cost to provide support each year?
Our total expenditure last year was over £9.2m. We keep our staff and administration costs at a minimum so around 88% of our expenditure is used to directly support children and young people. In Hampshire and Isle of Wight alone, we have spent over £600,000 providing our support over the past five years. When you consider the increasing number of children we support, often for many years, our levels of support are not surprising.
Where does all the money come from?
Like all the central Masonic Charities, we
only fundraise within Freemasonry, all of
our income is donated by Freemasons and
their families and I’m very grateful for their
continuing support. Without the generous
donations from Freemasons such as those in
this province we would not be able to provide the same level of
support to children facing the effects of poverty. We do have investments which contribute towards our income, but not nearly enough to cover the cost of even our most basic grants, particularly in the current climate.
How long has the Trust been in existence and what are its origins?
This year, we celebrate the 225th anniversary since our founders, Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini and HRH the Duchess of Cumberland, set up a school for the daughters of distressed
masons in London. They recognised that there was a genuine need for such a charity and offered an appropriate type of support to meet their needs. Throughout our 225 years we have constantly adapted so that our support remained appropriate and effective to each generation of children.
What’s next for the RMTGB?
When you look back at what we have achieved, the hundreds of thousands of young people we have helped, you realise how important our work is and why we must maintain it. That’s why I’m so thankful to all in Hampshire and Isle of Wight for their continuing support of the 2016 Festival. Looking ahead, we will work ever closer with the other masonic charities to prepare ourselves for the challenges of the years ahead; becoming even more efficient and providing support that continues to meet the needs of our whole Masonic family.
Daniel, Adeelah and Alisha
The RMTGB can support children whose parents are unable to work because of a disability. Daniel, Adeelah and Alisha received support from the RMTGB after their father sustained serious burns and injuries in an accident which prevented him from working.
The effects of the accident led to financial difficulties for the family, but the RMTGB’s maintenance allowances ensured that the children continued to receive everything that they need.
The RMTGB also provided support for activities, such as sports lessons for Daniel and dance lessons for Alisha. By supporting such costs, the RMTGB is able to help maintain a normal childhood for its beneficiaries during times of distress. This support also enables the children to maintain and develop friendships which would otherwise be lost if they were unable to continue these activities.
The RMTGB can support the children and grandchildren of Freemasons following the death of the child’s mother, father or legal guardian.
William’s Freemason father died at the young age of 47 following an illness. At the time, he was only two-years-old and his step-sister Phoebe was only eight.
The RMTGB provided maintenance grants to help their mother meet William and Phoebe’s day-to-day needs. They have also supported childcare costs to enable their mother to return to work to better provide for her young family.
Support will be provided for as long as the family’s financial need remains, or until the children have completed their education. Sometimes, this can mean up to 20 years of ongoing assistance.
William and Phoebe
This article was produced with the assistance of Harry Smith of the RMTGB. 9 Insight • Issue 5

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