The Association of Friends
You may have heard of the RMBI Home at Chislehurst,
but did you know it has an Association of Friends?
But who are we? What do we do? Can you help?
Duke of Kent Court was opened in 1968 and is the only RMBI Home in the County of Kent. Its aim is to give loving care to Freemasons and their dependants who are in need.
Our aim is to help!
You can only imagine the emotions involved in having to leave your own home which you may have lived in for many years, often following the death of a loving partner, to what may be viewed as a regimented institution among strangers. Care staff can only devote so much time to individuals and it is sometimes difficult for new residents to adapt.
The ‘Friends’ objective is well defined in our Constitution “to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of the residents of Prince George Duke of Kent Court by the provision of recreational and other facilities”.
How do we do this?
We raise funds;
We provide personal assistance at the Court;
We provide residents with social and recreational amenities and activities;
We befriend residents and in doing so bring the outside in;
We provide extra facilities that the residents would not otherwise receive.
Our Committee of around 25 directly organise and support many events during the year. Some of these are regular events, such as the Spring Fair in May, a ‘themed’ Tea in the Summer and the Christmas Fair in December. Others are organised on an ad-hoc basis and include Cheese and Wine evenings, quizzes and similar social events. We pay for a Christmas present every year which is delivered to each resident by our very own Santa.
Barely a day goes by at the Home without some form of stimulating or entertaining activity organised by the activity co-ordinators who we provide with an entertainment budget in excess of £10,000 per annum.
Over the years with your help we have paid for a number of material items for the Home - ranging from sun-shades, raised flower beds and plants for the garden to additional televisions, computers and public address/entertainment equipment and ‘themed’ dementia friendly corridor decorations. We have also provided a wheel-chair adapted vehicle and a multi-seat minibus.
Your help gives us the opportunity to finance almost 100 activity events throughout the year. To give you a flavour of what you help to provide - residents can enjoy:
Music for Health
Aromatherapy Hand and Forearm Massage
Indian Head Massage
Over 20 different musical entertainers
The Caledonian Society of Scottish Dancers
The Hayes Ladies Choir
Exotic Animal Handling & The Living Egg Programme - Hatching Chicks.
Using the mini buses provided by the Association of Friends and the Metropolitan Mark Lodge of London residents can enjoy weekly shopping trips - tea and cake at Ruxley Manor Garden Centre and Polhill Garden Centre - tea and cakes at Marks and Spencer and at Biggin Hill Airport “Look Out Coffee Shop” and a popular one, Fish & Chips at Herne Bay.
Providing funds and facilities and working with the Home's staff for the benefit of residents is an immensely rewarding and satisfying experience. It enables us to directly help our Brethren and their dependents to have a better quality of life.
What can you do to become part of this rewarding experience?
By becoming our champion in your Lodge;
By actively advertising what we do;
By promoting and attending our Fairs;
By encouraging your Lodge to become Patrons of our Association.
Above all by understanding what it means to a lonely person in strange surroundings to know that they are not alone and are still valued.
Thank you for caring and not looking the other way.
David Barber PSGD PGSt.B (RA)
Chairman - Association of Friends