Almoner

 
The Almoner's Role

In common with many Livery companies, the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants has an Almoner although I am not sure this is widely known amongst members, or perhaps what the role involves.  My predecessor Adrian Williams developed and firmly established the Almoner’s role over many years and during his term of office a number of Members of the Company and their dependants greatly benefited from his concern for their well-being.   I personally came to know of the Almoner’s existence when Adrian kindly wrote to me following the death of my own mother in 2011.  When the forthcoming vacancy was advertised in 2012, I was immediately interested and was even more delighted, after a not too onerous interview procedure, to be offered the position.

I was appointed as the Worshipful Company’s Almoner on 18th October 2012 at the Installation Dinner for the incoming Master - Geoffrey Llewellyn - and was presented with the Almoner’s badge newly gifted to the Company by Mary Collis, Immediate Past Master.  I am indebted to Adrian for both his informative handover to me and for his offer to be available as someone I can turn to if in need of a mentor or someone to stand in for me in my absence.

The decision to appoint an Almoner was originally conceived by Past Master Alan Broomhead and Liveryman Gordon Stoker who both thought it would be good to have someone to visit the sick whilst in hospital.  Although this is still within my job description, the remit is somewhat wider and can include home visits, writing to members during times of illness and telephone and/or email contact according to the member’s preference.  Another feature of the role is to be available to members of the Company and to their partners and families at times of bereavement.  When a member has sadly passed away, the Almoner may with the agreement of the family, attend the funeral, or seek another Member, perhaps someone who was a close personal friend of the deceased, to represent the Company.

An ongoing aspect of the role is to keep in touch with Dormant Freemen who are no longer able to attend Company events due to ill health and with the widows/widowers or partners of previous members.   Dormant Freemen are members whose lives have been changed due to a period of prolonged illness or mental/physical incapacity which is preventing them from following their previous career and associated fee earning. Not only is participation in the Company’s educational, networking and social events severely curtailed perhaps due to mobility, but funding quarterage presents an additional problem.  Rather than lose such Freemen/Liverymen from the fellowship of the Company members finding themselves in such circumstances may apply through the Clerk to be granted the status of Dormant Freeman.  The Almoner then becomes a continuing link with the Company in addition to any personal contacts the member might maintain with other members.

The role is one of being available and approachable and it is entirely for the member him/herself, or their family, to determine whether a visit or other contact would be welcomed or not.  Regrettably, without a budget, the traditional role of an Almoner - distributing alms - is not included but I understand that in the past the Almoner has been able to suggest and obtain funding for small grants for improving everyday living for some members.

There are a number of ways for a member’s needs or circumstances to become known to the Almoner:

  • through the Clerk on becoming aware of someone’s death or illness;
  • through Members of the Court or other members of the Company bringing a particular situation to my notice - such as an upcoming operation or diagnosis of a serious illness;
  • Members who know of any other member whose circumstances are such that the Almoner might usefully make contact are encouraged to get in touch with me directly, or through the Clerk.
  • by ‘self-referral’ (see below)

In these days of high stress and pressure on individuals and families I am also broadening the role of Almoner to be available as a “listening ear” to any Member of the Company who may be going through turmoil or hardship in their life and who feels they would benefit from an understanding and confidential discussion with someone who can provide an external perspective.  I have worked for many years in HR/Personnel including coaching and mentoring.  This experience, together with my personal life experiences has given me a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw upon in both an empathetic and practical way.   My idea of the role is to be an approachable and supportive additional resource for members.

My contact details are as follows:   t: 020 7586 3456   m: 07931 683730   e: almoner@wcomc.org

 

Gill King

Almoner