Belfast Masonic Charity Fund
The Fund was set up in 1862 to provide relief to poor and distressed Masons or their families, and is the oldest existing Masonic Charity sitting under the Irish Constitution of Freemasonry. The Brethren of all Lodges that meet anywhere in the Province of Antrim or within a six-mile radius of Belfast in the Province of Down are eligible to seek assistance from the Belfast Masonic Charity Fund, as soon as they receive their First Degree.
The Committee of the Fund is comprised of representatives from all Lodges within the above catchment area and meets on the last Friday of each month with the exceptions of June, July & August.
The Committee is governed by a Chairman and Vice Chairman elected each year from the Body of the Lodge Representatives that attend each month.
The fund works on the principal of the persons definable income, that is: wages, mortgage, rates etc, and any social security benefits they may receive. The fund is renowned for its quick response to needy Brethren or their families and in addition to the regular monthly meetings in cases of emergency, financial assistance can often be issued within 48 hours.
The fund is the oldest existing Masonic Charity sitting under the Irish Constitution of Freemasonry. A general charity fund was initiated by Lodge No. 272 which led to the formation of the fund in January 1862. The first chairman was James McCracken 1862 -1863 from lodge 609 whose portrait hangs in Arthur Square Masonic Hall, Belfast.
The inaugural meeting took place at 9 Donegall Place Belfast (The old Anderson and McAuley building on 17th March 1862, Charles Longford, Lodge 51 in the chair). In 1870 the fund moved to new premises in Arthur Square Belfast designed by famous architect Sir Charles Lanyon, a member of the order.
May 1876 saw a joint initiative with Belfast Masonic Widows Fund purchasing two graves in Belfast City Cemetery in order that any entitled individual could avoid the indignity of a pauper’s grave. In 1877 a very handsome obelisk of Goragh Wood granite with Masonic symbols was erected at the plot which is situated on the main drive of the cemetery nearly opposite the mortuary chapel. After the Belfast Blitz, April-May 1941 several applications to the fund were the result of the German Air Raids.
To this day, the fund is called upon to relieve financial and emotional distress through accidents illness and death amongst brethren or their immediate family and with your continued support to the fund, we will strive to emulate the legacy left by our distinguished forebears and continue the service for which The Belfast Masonic Charity Fund is renowned