Last year Age UK and the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) announced a strategic partnership to improve the lives of 10,000 older people facing later life loneliness and isolation, disadvantage and financial hardship, funded exclusively by Freemasonry. The £1,000,000 programme, Later Life Goals, launched in October 2018 and is being delivered over three years by 13 local Age UK partners with the Blackburn with Darwen branch receiving £63,000.
A powerful MCF video introducing the program can be viewed below:
Later Life Goals will deliver individually tailored support to older people who are going through a significant life event or transition, which often leads to them being lonely. Circumstances may include a serious health diagnosis, bereavement, a partner going into care, or any other event that has a significant impact on wellbeing. The program will offer face to face sessions at the local office held within Blackburn Library or often within the older person’s home.
This allows the Age UK Adviser, principally led by Andrew Mortimer at the Blackburn drop in and contact office within Blackburn Library, to understand the wider context of the person’s situation, any disadvantage that they may be facing, and the level of loneliness that they may be experiencing. Taking a holistic approach, Age UK staff use a guided-conversation technique to help older people to identify their goals for later life; the skills, support and social networks they will need to achieve them; and the actions they will need to take to overcome the challenges they are facing.

The support provided by the Later Life Goals programme is similar in nature to support provided to Freemasons and their families directly by MCF. The partnership extends beyond the Later Life Goals programme through a warm transfer service now being trialled between the MCF and Age UK helplines for members of the Masonic community who require specialist later life information and advice. The Age UK Advice Line answers nearly a thousand calls every day and its trained advisers have great expertise in dealing with a huge variety of often complex age-related issues, like social care and benefits. Age UK and MCF are also keen to see effective partnerships developing at a community level, for example through local Age UK branches potentially utilising Masonic Halls and venues to host events like lunch clubs and drop in advice clinics. Additionally, Volunteers organised by the East Ribble District Team will look to support the Charity at fundraising events.
There is great potential for the local organisations to work together in this way to ensure the partnership reaches even older people in need of support and companionship, including within the Masonic community. PR and communication activities will support the charitable partnership by promoting the new strategic partnership between MCF and Age UK, publicising the Later Life Goals programme and its successes, and highlighting the issue of loneliness and its impact on older peoples’ lives – which both organisations are strategically committed to tackling.
On Thursday the 16th of May, the Chief Executive of the Blackburn with Darwen Branch Vicky Shepherd, along with Head of Business Development Elaine Jennings and Adviser  Andrew Mortimer, invited  representatives from our Province and District for a formal presentation of the cheque at the head office on King Street, Blackburn. the Assistant Provincial Grand Master WBro Alan Kirwilliam, Provincial Grand Charity Steward WBro Steve Clark and East Ribble Assistant District Charity Steward WBro Malcolm Roe were all welcomed by the team and introduced to the beneficiary and volunteer Dorothy, who epitomised not only the support the Charity gives to our wider community, but also how much volunteer effort is needed to allow this fantastic cause to carry on supporting families in our local area.
Images and Article: East Ribble District Team