The Acacia Club

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The Acacia Club is part of the “Middlesex Cares” initiative being rolled out across the Province. It will be a club for Middlesex Masonic widows, wives, and partners to provide them with practical support, social events, and a newsletter. It will neither supersede nor replace existing social groups in the Province, nor the work of Lodge almoners, but will provide a distinctive range of services for their exclusively widows, wives and partners across the Province. Similar clubs to this (principally for widows) operate very successfully in other Provinces, so we are taking that concept and are expanding it.
Ultimately the club may have a presence at Twickenham, Harrow and Uxbridge Centres and will be administered by its members, although each branch will have a Middlesex Freemason as their Masonic liaison representative linking back to the Province.
This briefing is to explain what the Acacia Club will provide, also, to seek your feedback about it. For example, do you have a wife or partner would she be interested in joining?


Masonic widows, wives and partners are sometimes overlooked by the Masonic community, hence links with them will depend upon the proactivity and sociability of the Masonic unit of which their partner is (or was) a member. Some units are more inclusive than others, so wives, partners and (less frequently) widows will join Lodge social events and Ladies festivals etc, resulting in closer links between the Masonic community and their families and widows.
The Acacia Club will provide a distinct range of services, including:
Signposting for advice and support: A woman is sometimes more comfortable receiving assistance from or talking about their concerns with another woman – particularly in times of emotional stress or loss. To meet that need, the Acacia Club intends to identify and appoint selected members as “Advocates” trained in listening skills to provide support to other members at challenging times – for example following the death of a Masonic husband or partner.  Should an Advocate identify any situation where support from the Masonic Charitable Foundation or the RMBI may be appropriate, they would (with the permission of the member concerned) refer the matter to the Provincial Almoner.  
Further support (also provided by Advocates) will be offered to wives and partners of Freemasons who are being looked after at home or in care homes or on an ongoing basis in hospital after diagnosis with chronic long-term health issues, that have left the wife/partner to manage the family affairs alone. This can be a very unsettling time for them.  
Social events: Widowed or otherwise, many women don’t feel comfortable socialising on their own, so the club will arrange visits where a woman might not want to go alone but would be happy to go as part of a group. For example, a visit on one’s own to Wisley Gardens, or to a theatre matinee might be out of the question, but it could be a very different matter to go in a group with other women with an opportunity to share and talk about the experience. Meals out (pub lunches etc) may also be provided, especially as a woman on her own will rarely countenance visiting a pub or restaurant alone, yet it might be something she and her husband did together when he was alive, so she misses it. Alternatively, she may still have a husband or partner and just want to go out for lunch with other females.
Meetings: Acacia Club members may meet for lunch or tea at the Centres, and such occasions could include guest speakers featuring a range of general subjects of interest, or matters of specific relevance to women and especially women on their own – for example, talks on security issues (scams, email phishing, unwanted phone calls etc) the importance of setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney and making Wills, support available from the MCF or RMBI, health issues etc.
Newsletters to link with and inform other members. These would include information on past and future club activities, as well as news from the Province (including upcoming Provincial events)
Profile at Provincial events: When the Province holds an internal event with stalls representing Masonic units, there may be a stall for the Acacia Club where members can meet and chat over a cup of tea. That would greatly increase the profile of the club and should encourage new members.


The Acacia Club is still in the early days of being set up, so this note is to provide members of the Middlesex Province details of it. The next steps will be:
To receive feedback from members of the Province. All members of the Middlesex Craft will be contacted with a request that (if they have a wife or partner) they ask them whether they are interested in being a member of the Acacia Club.
All Middlesex units will be asked to provide lists of their widows, so they too may be approached about the club.
Upon receipt of expressions of interest from potential members, steps will be taken to set up the club. It is most important to note that the Acacia Club will be managed by its members and not by Middlesex Freemasons. Hence Provincial role is to support its formation and then be approached for ongoing support and access to Masonic resources if and when required.We hope you will find this introduction to the Acacia Club helpful, and we welcome all comments or suggestions. These should be sent by email to Hugh Saville at:
Thank you.
Sincerely and Fraternally,

W. Bro. Ivan Chu ProvGAlm

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