In 1992 the Provincial Grand Charity of Gloucestershire was granted up to £700,000.00 by the Freemasons’ Grand Charity based in London from proceeds of the fund-raising charity festival held in the Province. A committee was formed and tasked with finding a suitable site on which to build a retired persons housing project. After numerous false starts and a significant time and effort the Trustees decided that it would be more suitable to be part of a larger scheme and in February 1999 the charity bought nine one bedroom apartments “off plan” in the new McCarthy and Stone development at Castlemeads Court in Gloucester. Buying off plan enabled the choice of well located apartments to be purchased, all with good views and in close proximity to the lift. The outline eligibility criteria was developed in line with that for admission in to Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) Care Homes so that tenants living in the Gloucestershire Masonic Housing Scheme properties could potentially move to an RMBI Care Home should they require further care support in their later years.
By the end of 1999 all the nine flats were occupied or allocated and the Trustees decided that with such a need demonstrated it would be advantageous for the Province to extend their holdings in other parts of the County. To this end they bought another four apartments in a McCarthy and Stone development at Park View Court, Staple Hill, Bristol. These apartments were also let very quickly to appropriate tenants and all remain at a very high level of occupation. In 2010 and again in 2013 a further two apartments were added to the scheme at Park View Court from surplus funds generated as a result of the scheme being run by volunteer Freemasons, significantly reducing the costs that would otherwise be attributed to administration of the scheme.
Rent for the apartments is set annually by the Trustees on the recommendations of the housing team. Rent is set to represent the Government determined “fair rent” and is below full market rent with all ground rents, service charges and incoming tenant fee’s paid for from the scheme demonstrating the support provided by the charity to those in need of such assistance.
On the formation of the Gloucestershire Masonic Charity Action in 2013 the criteria for tenancies was relaxed to enable the Trustees to ensure increased occupancy to enable void properties to be filled by non-Freemasonry tenants when there is a lack of demand from Freemasons. All tenancies are offered on an Assured Short-hold Tenancy Agreement basis.
Are you sixty or over? Looking to downsize to release equity or in need of accommodation? If so and you would like to find out more, please read the factsheet or contact Mark Steventon-Smith, Operations Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07768 164732 for an informal chat.