7th February 2023

RMBI Care Co. announces plans to create new-build care home in Bury St Edmunds

RMBI Care Co. has announced its proposed plans to construct a new care home, which can support up to 64 people, in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. The new- care home will be built in phases, on the site of the existing home, Cornwallis Court. Cornwallis Court was originally a maternity hospital and then converted to a care home for older people in the 1980s. It has supported many older people with residential care, nursing care and residential dementia support throughout the years.

The building has naturally aged over time, bringing certain limitations, which have led to a reduced occupancy and increased building maintenance costs. Therefore, RMBI Care Co. has made the decision to build a new purpose built care home, which can support up to 64 people, on the site of the existing Home. The new care home will be designed and created to meet the changing needs of older people in a homely environment.

It will consist of:

• Four separate house groups, each containing 16 bedrooms, all of which will have an en-suite wet room. Each area will have two dining spaces and two lounges together with additional communal space in the main part of the building.

• Many of the ground floor rooms, including bedrooms, will have direct access via patio doors, to secure landscaped gardens.

RMBI Care Co. believes that its residents and staff teams are at the heart of the organisation. It will therefore be building the new care home in phases to retain the workforce and ensure that residents are able to continue to live comfortably in the existing home, before moving to the new building. These changes will help the charity to ensure it can provide quality care for Freemasons, their families and the wider communities in Suffolk, for years to come.

The new care home will be built in a series of phases:

Phase One Demolition of the existing Geoffrey Dicker House dementia house. The residents will move, with their dedicated staff team, to a designated space within the main home for the duration of the build. This phase may take approximately three months, starting September 2023.

Phase Two Construction of a new care home, which can support up to 32 people, on two floors, with an additional basement floor providing back of house facilities. This first building phase will be at the back of the existing home on the existing grassy car park space. The construction will take approximately 15 months, starting winter 2023.

Phase Three Demolition of remaining existing home, which will take approximately 4 months.

Phases Four & Five Construction and completion of additional 32 beds to give 64 new beds in total. This phase will also include finishing the landscaped gardens.

Next steps RMBI Care Co. will be submitting planning application in March 2023 with anticipated approval being granted in early Summer 2023. The wider team of RMBI Care Co. staff and external consultants including architects and the building contractor, will meet with residents, relatives, staff, and Association of Friends to discuss progress.

Mark Lloyd, Managing Director, said: “We’re passionate about supporting older people’s changing care needs, so we’re always thinking about how we can support them now, and in the future. Following the success of our new-build care home in Berkshire in 2022, we’re excited to share our plans to build a new home in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. “Pending planning permission, we aim to create and build a new care home to support our residents in a modern homely environment, with assistive technologies and a personal approach to our care.”

The completion date is expected to be 2026.

Jamie Gwatkin, Suffolk Provincial Grand Almoner, said “I am delighted and excited that RMBI Care Co. has committed this significant investment to Cornwallis Court in Suffolk. This will provide a first class facility for our Masonic Community throughout the Province and region. Our older citizens will receive the highest quality of care, from a dedicated team, in a homely environment. “This will be the most modern home in RMBI Care Co.’s portfolio. I am very proud and honoured that Suffolk has been chosen for this exciting project”

About RMBI Care Co. RMBI Care Co. provides residential care, nursing care and residential dementia support to older Freemasons, their families and people in the wider community. We have been caring for older people for over 180 years and today, we support over 1,000 residents across 17 care homes in England and Wales with a focus on wellbeing and quality outcomes.

Further Information: please contact: Maricel Foronda, Marketing Team This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

16th January 2023

Ukrainian families split apart by conflict will be reunited thanks to Freemasons

Suffolk Freemasons have lent their support to families affected by the conflict in Ukraine by helping to raise a £100,000 donation to the British Red Cross, along with other Freemasons across England and Wales. The grant will support the Red Cross in its work with people seeking safety in the UK who have lost contact with loved ones. After being torn apart, finding each other can be incredibly hard and many may not know whether their children, partner or parents are alive, let alone where they are. Even when family members are found, the legal process to reunite can be long and complicated, and physically reuniting them is often unaffordable. Thanks to the British Red Cross they can be safely brought together in the UK.

The British Red Cross international family tracing team helps to find missing relatives, with experienced caseworkers, supported by interpreters, finding out how people were separated and where they could be. Those looking for loved ones can also upload a photo of themselves on the Trace the Face website in the hope that their missing family recognise them. If found, they will be able to speak to each other by phone. The Red Cross can also help families with visa applications and arrange face-to-face reunions with relatives in the UK. Dedicated caseworkers support refugees both practically and emotionally during this long process, helping them deal with the trauma of separation, and supporting them to access accommodation and financial support to maintain their wellbeing. Red Cross teams can also help pay for flights to the UK, for those that cannot afford it.

This latest £100,000 grant from the Freemasons comes after a series of previous grants totalling more than £1 million, helping Ukrainian refugees both in the UK and in Ukraine, as well as in Poland, Moldova and other neighbouring countries.

Alex Fraser, UK Director of Refugee Support and Restoring Family Links for the British Red Cross, said: “We’re very grateful to the Freemasons for this generous grant which we’ll use to reunite families torn apart by conflict. For people seeking safety in a crisis, losing contact with family members adds a new layer of trauma, and while the conflict in Ukraine has highlighted that fact, it’s a situation facing countless refugees and people on the move around the globe. Bringing families back together is a hard and complex process, but for someone looking for their child, spouse or sibling, it means everything. The Freemasons’ generosity will help us to support these people, whoever they are and whatever they’ve been through.”

Bob Lee, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Suffolk Freemasons, commented “I am very pleased we’ve been able to help the British Red Cross with this hugely important project to reunite families who have often been scattered across the continent. I can’t imagine a better way for Ukrainian children to celebrate the New Year than to get their  families back in a safe country away from violence.”

About the Masonic Charitable Foundation The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief.  In total, MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally. As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports Freemasons and their families with a financial, health or family need. Visit

4th November 2022

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Suffolk were invited to a Choral Evensong Service at St. Edmundsbury Cathedral on the 23rd of October by the Dean, the Very Reverend Joseph Hawes

Provincial Grand Master for Suffolk, Ian Yeldham delivers The First Reading as part of the Evensong Service

The service provided many of those present with an opportunity of quiet reflection on the past and to evaluate the hopes for our future. A stepping stone to look back at the achievements that we, as Freemasons in Suffolk have made over the past 250 plus years and continue so to do to this very day. Within the Liturgy of the Service, the Dean, the Very Reverend Joseph Hawes, invited us to reflect on our Masonic values and the beneficial effect they have within our communities, especially those of Integrity, Respect, Friendship and Charity. Constants that have remained present as part of the fraternity in Suffolk since masonry began in the County during the 1730’s and later formalised in 1772 with the establishment of our Provincial Grand Lodge.

The Dean said during his sermon “You know a thing or two, Freemasons of Suffolk about the poor, the dying, the marginalised and those who have lost hope because you raise tens of thousands of pounds, over a hundred thousand last year alone to support charities, hospices, widows and orphans. Freemasons in this country are among the highest givers to charity every year, so as I say, you know a thing or two about caring for the human temples, repositories themselves of The Word who are most in need in contemporary society. When I was invited recently to Ashlar House to speak to you and spend a convivial evening, I was deeply impressed by the passion revealed to me in conversation, not just to take care of each other within your lodges, but to allow the strong bonds of friendship and integrity to manifest themselves in actions and donations which make the world, in small and great ways, a better place. I was impressed by that passion, impressed also by your openness, and even more impressed by full throated singing which accompanied the not infrequent toasts!”

Towards the end of the Service, the Dean invited all Freemasons to stand, whilst he said The Act of Rededication. He invited us to dedicate ourselves afresh, to God’s service, loyalty and grace and gave thanks for our steadfast way of life. As the service came to a close, the entire congregation, accompanied by the Alleyn Singers, who had provided the music throughout, sang the Closing Ode with great gusto and enthusiasm. Following the Blessing, the Choir, Clergy and Senior Members of the Province retired to the Felix Mendelssohn organ voluntary “War March of the Priests”.

This proved to be, not only an uplifting experience, but an inclusive and public statement of our Masonic standards; to serve as a reminder that fashions, politics and aggression between nations may come and go, but the core values of our entire Masonic family have remained steadfast for centuries.