The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) offers grants to local and national charities in England and Wales as part of its work to help thousands of disadvantaged and vulnerable people to live happy, fulfilling lives and participate actively in society.

Over the last 40 years, the MCF has provided more than £130 million to charities. The MCF’s work is funded solely through the donations of Freemasons under the United Grand Lodge of England, their families and friends.

Based on conducted surveys which indicate which areas Freemason care most about, the MCF has set out new target areas for its grant-making programme:

  • Reducing isolation in later life.
  • Creating the best start in life for disadvantaged children and young people.
  • Medical research into degenerative disease.
  • Care services in the hospice sector.

Objectives of Fund

The Reducing Isolation in Later Life Grants programme offers both small and large grants to registered charities that support disadvantaged and vulnerable older people over 50 years of age in England and Wales. Over the next five years, the MCF will be supporting charities that help people to overcome barriers to actively participate in society in their later years.

The funding will help people who face social isolation or loneliness due to reasons such as financial hardship, care responsibilities, a decline in physical or mental health, or life transitions including retirement or bereavement. The support will help to provide a range of services to support the physical and emotional needs of people as they age, including community-based programmes and access to healthcare, transport and technology.

Depending on their annual income level, charities can apply for either a:

  • Large grant, which is for projects and can be used for salary costs, activities, materials, etc., or
  • Small grant, which is for general running and/or overhead costs of the charity – core funding.

Value Notes

There are two funding levels:

  • Large grants starting from £10,000 are available to charities with an annual income exceeding £500,000. The average large grant will range from £20,000 to £80,000. Occasionally, large grants of up to £200,000 are made for outstanding projects.
  • Small grants of between £500 and £15,000 are available to charities with an income of under £500,000.

All grants can be over one, two, or three years.

Grant amounts should not exceed 15% of the total income of the applicant charity.

Charities can only apply for one grant programme at a time.

Who Can Apply

Charities registered with the Charity Commission or relevant Central registry of the respective Guernsey, Jersey or Isle of Man’s government can apply as long as their beneficiaries are in England and Wales.

  • Charities with an income of less than £500,000 can apply for a small grant.
  • Charities with an income exceeding £500,000 can apply for a large grant.

To be eligible, applicants must provide:

  • Mental and physical health support.
  • Gateway and access to service, eg, transport and technology.
  • Community based approaches, ie, volunteering, positive ageing and neighbourhood support.
  • Advocacy, social and welfare support.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Arts and heritage projects. (Arts and Heritage charities will be considered if the service the charity provides is for beneficiaries from the priority groups.)
  • Environmental projects.
  • Animal welfare.
  • Political or lobbying activities.
  • Civil liberties and human rights.
  • Routine delivery of the National Curriculum in schools.
  • Contributions towards new build and/or large scale capital projects, e.g. building a new hospice wing.
  • Capital repairs and/or maintenance of existing buildings.
  • Hospital equipment, such as MRI scanners.
  • Current active grant holders.
  • Umbrella organisations coordinating fundraising on behalf of others.
  • Social Enterprises or Community Interest Companies.
  • Community interest groups.
  • Organisations that are not registered charities.
  • Schools (for routine delivery activities to non-priority groups).
  • Nurseries (for routine delivery activities to non-priority groups).
  • Hospitals (for routine delivery activities to non-priority groups).
  • Individuals.
  • Those who have had a small grant or second stage large grant application within the last 12 months.
  • Those whose previous grant from the MCF ended less than two years ago.

Eligible Expenditure

The funding for charities that provide activities such as:

  • Support for emotional and psychological planning for later life.
  • Digital inclusion sessions to enable older people to access services.
  • Activities and clubs enabling older people to remain active and make friends.
  • Providing companionship and befriending schemes for periods of transition.
  • Advice and information on options for those with health conditions.
  • Carers and respite support.

Examples of desired outcomes are:

  • Short Term
    • Older people adapting to key transitions in their lives.
    • Older people well supported, better informed and receiving essential advice.
    • Existing services better supporting the physical, psychological and emotional needs of people as they age.
    • More therapeutic support available to people at key points in their lives.
    • Greater knowledge of options and rights leading to greater confidence in choices.
    • Increased cultural and social participation choices for people as they age.
    • Greater awareness of the issue within the Masonic community.
  • Long Term
    • Reduced feelings of loneliness or social isolation for people in later life.
    • Improved health and sense of wellbeing for people as they age.
    • More active social lives for people in later life.
    • The older population living as they choose in a healthy and safe environment.
    • MCF’s profile raised within the Masonic community, public and third sector.

Small grants are for general running and/or overhead costs of the charity – core funding.

Large grants are for projects and can be used for salary costs, activities, materials, etc.

How To Apply

There are two different deadlines:

  • 5 October 2018 for large grants applications (first stage).
  • 26 October 2018 for small grants applications.

Guidelines, an application checklist, the online eligibility test are available on the Masonic Charitable Foundation website.

Once the eligibility test has been completed, applicants will be invited to submit an online application form.

For further information on how to obtain this grant locally, please contact the following:

Charity Grants Programmes
Masonic Charitable Foundation
60 Great Queen Street
Tel: 020 3146 3337

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