7th February 2024

Isolation amongst older people set to reduce thanks to Suffolk Freemasons

Rural Suffolk's older population will begin to feel more connected, thanks to a grant of £15,000 from Suffolk Freemasons to the Rural Coffee Caravan (RCC). This substantial grant aims to address the growing issue of rural isolation among individuals over 65 in Suffolk, where dwindling services, lack of public transport, and limited online access exacerbate the problem.

The Age UK Loneliness map highlights pockets of high and very high risk of loneliness across Suffolk, underscoring the urgent need for initiatives like the one led by the RCC.  The organisation's innovative approach involves a mobile community cafe and information centre, operated by a roving caravan and three campervans, where they can reach out to remote communities. The RCC provides tea and cake, a warm and friendly atmosphere, and valuable signposting to support services.  Moreover, the RCC fosters community connections through initiatives such as 'More Than A Shop', encouraging local stores to become hubs of friendship and connection. Importantly, RCC ensures these events are accessible to all, offering them free of charge to encourage widespread participation.

In 2022, the RCC made over 200 village visits throughout Suffolk, welcoming more than 5,000 visitors. Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, their 'Meet Up Mondays' initiative reached an impressive throughput of 20,000 participants. The heart of RCC's success lies in the meaningful relationships it nurtures among rural residents. In November 2023, the RCC won a European Social Services Award for Service Delivery. The theme of the Awards this year, was ‘Person Centred Care’. The only UK organisation shortlisted in this category, the RCC was able to showcase their work demonstrating that simple acts of kindness have blossomed into robust social networks, transforming these rural areas into vibrant, connected communities. The grant from Suffolk Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, funded by Freemasons, their families, and their friends from across England, Wales and the Channel Islands.

Ann Osborn from the RCC said: "Thanks to the generous support of Suffolk Freemasons, we’re able to continue to address isolation across rural Suffolk and help older people connect with each other. We know how much our community benefit from our services, and we look forward to supporting people in the years to come."

Jon Neill from Suffolk Freemasons: “I’m very pleased we’re able to help RCC and support the important work they are doing for older people in Suffolk. Their approach provide much-needed support to older people who are feeling isolated from their community and helps bring them together.”

More information about the charity can be found at

3rd December 2023

Suffolk Masonic Clay Shooting Society donates to Suffolk Accident Rescue Service

On Monday 27th November 2023 SMaCSS Chairman Roger Nash, SMaCSS Vice Chairman Shane Brereton and SMaCSS Secretary/Charity Phil Ramsey had the pleasure to meet with Dr Ben Peirce and Kim Turner from Suffolk Accident Rescue Service and hand over a cheque for the sum of £1,500. This charity donation has been made possible by the ongoing support of those who attend our social clay pigeon shoots and give generously within the framework of fun, friendship and fundraising.
SARS is over 50 years old and has grown from a small group of voluntary GPs who predominantly responded to road traffic collisions, into a large team of volunteer clinicians who respond to any manner of serious medical events throughout Suffolk. The 35 responders include Consultant Anaesthetists, GP's, Specialist Nurses, Paramedics and Clinical support practitioners, they all work in the medical profession and donate their time, skills and knowledge to SARS enabling them to take pre-hospital emergency medicine to the patient. So far this year they have been mobilised to over 430 medical emergencies and have been the first medical resource on scene in approximately 30% of cases.
Kim Turner added ‘SMaCSS decision to sponsor volunteer clinicians Ben and Jared means the world to us. Having a sponsor is a great boost to our clinicians who feel valued and understand just how important the donations made by our supporters are. A donation of £1,500 can help enormously with the cost of continued professional development for the clinicians and can purchase fundamental lifesaving kit. Without donations like this SARS would not be able to mobilise to, or expand their offering to, those in our community who require such assistance. We thank SMaCSS so much for your continued generosity.’

2nd September 2023

Bury St Edmunds care home rated 'Outstanding' by Care Quality Commission

Resident Mary Matter (102) and staff member Emma Gibson enjoy a ride on the rickshaw around the Home’s grounds.

RMBI Care Co. Home Cornwallis Court, in Bury St Edmunds, has achieved an 'Outstanding' rating following its latest inspection by care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). 

Following an inspection in July 2023, CQC’s report said the management team “led by example and put people at the heart of the service.” The report added: “People’s views were valued and they were consulted in the planning for improvement in the service.” This puts Cornwallis Court, which provides residential care, nursing care and residential dementia support for up to 57 residents, amongst the top 5% of care homes in the UK that have received the highest rating by CQC (source: It is also the fourth Home to be rated ‘Outstanding’ for RMBI Care Co., the charity that operates Cornwallis Court. The Home was praised by CQC who said: “People were cared for by a dedicated and compassionate staff team who were valued and appreciated.” The report also confirmed: “The service had a warm and homely environment, welcoming of people's friends and relatives, especially during organised events. People were supported by staff, including activities staff who had the skills to meet their individual needs.”

Planning permission is currently in progress to build a new care home on the site of the existing Home as, due to the age of the building, it has certain limitations. The new care home will be designed and created to meet the changing needs of older people in a homely environment. It will be built in a series of phases to enable residents and staff to continue living and working in the existing building, before moving across to the new Home once it is ready.

Denise O’Brien, Home Manager at Cornwallis Court, said: "We are thrilled to receive our 'Outstanding' rating from CQC. Our staff are passionate about supporting our residents’ health and wellbeing, and helping them to live to the fullest".

For more information about RMBI Home Cornwallis Court or any of RMBI Care Co. care services, please visit: