Paul Palmer

Investors in People Awards 2020 - UGLE Shortlisted

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is delighted to announce it has been shortlisted for the Health and Wellbeing and Leader of the Year categories at the Investors in People Awards 2020.

Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of UGLE, said: “Over the past few years, UGLE has put enormous effort into understanding, and supporting, the health and wellbeing of its staff. It is great to see that hard work has been recognised by Investors in People. Through these troubling times, we will continue to look after our most precious asset, those men and women who keep our organisation working and serve our 200k members.”

Dr Staples, who became CEO in 2018, has also been named a finalist in Investors in People – Leader of the Year up to 250 category. Since being appointed, he has worked tirelessly to create a positive and pleasant work environment, where staff enjoy coming into work.

Also competing for the Health and Wellness Award, the HR department has implemented a comprehensive strategy to ensure employees feel highly valued within the organisation. This has included:

• The creation of a staff committee, made up of employees nominated by staff, who share any concerns or recommendations from staff directly into the HR Director and CEO;

• The introduction of an Employee Assistance Programme, with access to a health e-hub and gym membership;

• Provision of free fruit for the office to encourage staff to think about their eating habits;

• Implementation of flexible working;

• Appointment of four mental health departmental champions available for staff who need a friendly ear, support and advice;

• Organising annual Mental Health Week and Learning at Work week events with high levels of engagement from staff;

• The introduction of new organisational values, a revamped appraisal system, and a new recognition and reward scheme.

In addition managers and senior team members are trained and equipped to deal with difficult and challenging situations and with the support of HR, ensure staff are supported, recognised and given relevant help and guidance where required.

In a recent Back to Work survey following Covid-19 sent by the HR department to staff, 84% agreed that they has access to the things they need to succeed when working from home, and 86% agree that they are just as productive working from home as they are at Freemasons’ Hall.

Elizabeth Gay, Director of Human Resources, said: “I am passionate about health and wellbeing and the benefits of having a defined strategy and one that supports and fosters our culture and values. As an organisation, we are committed to providing a healthy working environment and improving the quality of working lives for all members of staff. I am absolutely delighted that UGLE is a finalist in the Health and Wellbeing awards category and proves that our hard work in this area has been recognised.”

This is an enormous achievement in such a short space of time, during a period where a major restructure is taking place centred on delivering improved services for members. In addition a new internal communications department was created, which is focussed on improving and implementing communications between its 100 employees.

UGLE were originally awarded Investors in People accreditation in 2018 shortly after Dr Staples’ appointment and was accredited at ‘Developed Level’ until 2021. The winners will be announced on the 24 November.


Freemasons’ Hall Open House

Freemasons are throwing open the doors of their famous headquarters in London’s Covent Garden this Saturday as part of Open House London.

Freemasons’ Hall is renowned as one of the finest Art Deco buildings in London and was built as a tribute to Freemasons who died in World War One.

For the first time at Freemasons’ Hall, visitors will be able to experience an immersion in WW1 with a camp scene, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and Scottish Horse Yeomanry. The public will be able to walk around medical, mess and officers tents and view a 1917 Royal Ruby motorcycle and Anglia Ambulance Service used during the Great War.

This year the visitors will find many new attractions to enjoy with their families and friends. Visitors can follow a children’s trail and identify beautiful architecture throughout the building including pictures within stunning stained glass windows. Children also have the opportunity to take home Bright Brick figures of a dragon, throne and unicorn, as well as an ornate model of Freemasons’ Hall itself.

During the weekend, visitors will also find Freemasons in regalia in the magnificent Grand Temple to answer any questions the public have about Freemasonry and also watch an interesting short film about Freemasonry. The Order of Women Freemasons will also be there to talk to visitors about female Freemasonry in the stunning vestibules.

Last year Freemasons’ Hall welcomed nearly 9,000 visitors into the venue, making it the second most popular attraction that weekend after the Foreign Office. This year, the building has been made Covid Safe with temperature checks and hand sanitizing units, Track and Trace QR codes and a one way system. There is no need to pre-book but visitors will be limited to no more than 30 per room over the weekend. Children will also get a free TLC teddy bear with every children’s face mask purchased.

Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive, said: “Freemasons’ Hall was built as a peace memorial to the 3,000 Freemasons who died in WW1, so this year we decided to make a tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives for their country.

“We are also excited to re-open the building for visitors but we are facing difficult times so we have made the building Covid Safe to protect our members and visitors to ensure that everyone will feel safe inside Freemasons’ Hall. Anyone who is unable to visit in person can view our new online tour film”.

The Museum of Freemasonry will be open, displaying one of the world’s largest collections associated with Freemasonry, including Winston Churchill’s apron and the large throne made for the future King George IV, who was Grand Master from 1790-1813.

Organ performances will also entertain the visitors during the weekend. They will have the chance to listen to organ performances on Saturday and Sunday with five different organists playing a variety of songs on our magnificent pipe organ. The organ was constructed by famed British organ builders Willis in 1933 and was lovingly restored in 2015.

For those who prefer stay at home, Freemasons’ Hall will have talks online for people to watch and will be able to view a new tour film and behind the scenes footage of our Lodge Rooms.

Days: 19 and 20 September Hours: 10:00am – 5:30pm (last entry 4:30pm) Local: Freemasons Hall Address: 60 Great Queen St, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5AZ Website:


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