by Christopher Hodapp
Masons around the world are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown by helping their local communities any way they can. Some lodges have hosted blood drives or assisted neighborhood food banks to collect or pass out food. But brethren in Inverclyde, Scotland are making sure isolated people in their area can still communicate with the outside world during the lockdown.
Robin McIntyre, Provincial Grand Master for Renfrewshire West in Scotland, reported that the province had lost some of their brethren and family members to coronavirus in recent weeks, and that the lodges wanted to do something to help families who are living with the impact of the virus. So, Masonic lodges in the area teamed up to purchase eight Android tablets and fourteen iPads for people who are unable to receive visits from friends and family.
According to a report on the GreenockTelegraph.co.uk website, Lodge Firth of Clyde Gourock 626 presented the Android tablets to the local hospice, and the iPads will be donated across Inverclyde Royal, the Larkfield Unit and the Marcus Humphrey House Quarriers care home in Bridge of Weir. Masons in that area also donated money and supplies to Inverclyde Food Bank.
Robin is very proud that the lodges have been able to make a difference during lockdown.
He said: "Visiting restrictions make it very difficult for people in hospital to see their families.
"We just thought that this would allow them to keep in touch using Facetime or Skype.
"We're very happy to be able to provide something for the community which will help people keep in touch with their families at this very difficult time.
"Everyone in the brethren has really rallied round since the idea was first mooted.
"The response has been phenomenal."
Malcolm Sinclair of lodge Crawfurdsburn 1121 came up with the idea of donating the equipment and the nine lodges across Inverclyde have all been involved.
Iain Hair at IT Computer Products in Shore Street, Gourock, sourced the iPads, which now have to go to the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde IT team to install approved software.
Robin hopes that the equipment will help older people feel less isolated.
He added: "It's so important for people to talk to their family, especially at this time.
"We're happy that we can do something to help."