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Lodge Closure Results in New Minibus for RMBI Care Home


Barrie Graham, Neill Smith, and Chairman Chris Turner handed the keys to Marina Aydinalp, the care home manager operated by the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.

Money for the new bus was provided by members of the Lodge of Prince Frederick 307 in Hebden Bridge, who had closed the lodge and sold its building, sharing the funds amongst several good causes.

Barrie said: 

"We are immensely grateful to the Brethren of the Lodge of Prince Frederick 307 who have used the proceeds from the sale of the lodge building to fund various projects, this being just one."

The new minibus features specialist access and seating, making a massive difference for Connaught Court residents. Marinda said: "This new minibus will enhance our ability to take residents out for day trips and shorter trips locally. Our old minibus needed a driver with a special licence, but any of the home's staff can drive this one with a car driving licence. With the ramp and pulley, we can also take less mobile residents out, as the minibus will allow two wheelchair users to be safely transported alongside the more mobile residents.

new minibus for RMBI in York

Freemasons and members of the public from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire use Connaught Court. The Association of Friends works to provide funds to make sure the quality of residents' lives is enhanced.
The Lodge of Prince Frederick was founded in Halifax and first met in 1796. It then moved to Hebden Bridge via Heptonstall and met at the Hebden Bridge premises from 1911.

The RMBI was formed in 1842 and currently operates 16 other care homes, as well as the one in York, with sites as far north as Northumberland, as far south as Exeter, as far west as Porthcawl and Llandudno, and as far east as Essex. Together, the homes provide accommodation for more than 1,000 people.

Lincolnshire Freemason Chris Turner, the current Chairman of the Association of Friends of Connaught Court, said: 
"The Association was established in 1973 as a registered charity entirely independent of the RMBI. We're made up of Freemasons from the Provinces of Yorkshire West Riding, Yorkshire North and East Ridings and Lincolnshire, and representatives from Castlegate Ladies.

The Association exists to provide extra comfort and a range of social, leisure and entertainment activities for the residents. We hold their welfare and happiness paramount in all that we do and also provide things that money just cannot buy. We raise funds to provide for goods and services without the RMBI's remit. To that end, we donate an annual sum for the provision of regular entertainment for the residents; we provide funds for one-off items such as televisions, computers, sound systems, specialist furniture, garden furniture and a range of other items as required, all of which are provided with a view of enhancing the wellbeing of the residents of Connaught Court.

Members of the Association also give of their time to assist in driving the minibus, counselling and befriending the residents and also in providing a weekly shop to help to provide for the resident needs and requirements. All monies raised, with the exception of minimal administration costs, go directly to the residents of Connaught Court.

The Association raises funds by donation from Lodges, by donations received from Freemasons' Lodges, by raising monies from stalls at the at our annual Summer Fayre, and from other events which are organised by the Association from time to time."

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