Visiting Volunteers (VVs) are trained and vetted Freemasons or their family members who help people in their local area to complete an application for assistance from the MCF. There are currently 388 VVs working across England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.



I’ve been a Visiting Volunteer since 2017, pretty much as soon as the programme launched in our area. My husband is the Provincial Grand Almoner of Cambridgeshire and he asked if I might be interested.

At the time, there were no women volunteers in Cambridgeshire and we thought that it would be really helpful for people who might feel more comfortable around a woman.

I took early retirement three years ago, so I knew I would have plenty of time to give to the role and could be flexible for the people I would be visiting.

The training process was brilliant. Because we are quite a small Province, we only had a few of us in the training; this meant that the trainers had a lot of time to give us and really get into the nitty gritty of our questions.

As a VV I’m not a decision maker – I like to think of us as the factfinders that help the MCF staff to assess the situation and award grants and support.

Foremost, my role is to make people feel at ease. Anyone seeking MCF support is going through a difficult time and my job is to gather as much information as possible, but to do it in a way that makes them feel comfortable.

As well as going through the MCF application form, I also try to signpost people to other organisations that might be able to help them.

I worked for over 30 years in adult social care, so I actually have quite an in depth knowledge of what support is available from the local authority and other local services.

Every visit is significant, but one of my most memorable visits was with a gentleman who was caring for his terminally-ill wife. She didn’t have life insurance and he was very worried about how he would pay for her funeral. He wasn’t aware that MCF could help with these costs, so being able to tell him the news and see him become visibly less anxious was very fulfilling.

The biggest challenge over the last year has been the not being able to meet face to face. It’s hard not being able to pick up on body language and facial cues, and also not being able to see them in their home where you can gain an idea of how they’re coping with everyday life.

Aside from the COVID-19 restrictions though, it’s been really smooth. There is so much support available from the MCF, and I can always call up or email if I have any questions.

To anyone else considering signing up to volunteer, I would say “Go for it!” Don’t worry if you’re not retired like me, because it can be as time consuming as you want it to be and there’s no pressure from the MCF to take on more than you can handle. I carry out as many visits as I can – and I still have plenty of time to spend with my eight grandchildren!

I see the people I’ve visited getting support from the MCF and think to myself ‘I assisted that person; I made a difference’ – it’s an amazing feeling.

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