London Freemasons Charity supports the Pathways Through Dementia Charity

W Bro Andrea Gabrielli reports

I joined the Arena team just before the ‘Masonic call-off’ and my first assignment was a real blessing in disguise.

With this life-changing pandemic keeping us physically apart, we switched from personal to virtual contact, having to run this interview through one of the new ‘e- platforms’ we are now all familiar with.


It was an immense pleasure to get in touch with ‘Pathways Through Dementia’ and with its Founder and CEO, Mrs Sara Wilcox.

We started with an undeniable figure: there are many people living with dementia due to the fact that we are living longer. This has a significant impact on families who are sometimes caring from a distance and experiencing difficulties in navigating the several regulations that will govern their journey. There is also an increase in younger people with dementia, which has severe repercussions on their income – especially if they have a mortgage and children to look after.

Having worked on helplines for a number of years, Sara realised that people often call when they are in a crisis and need someone to outline their options in a clear and concise way which they can absorb and implement. She started working on Pathways in 2011, which was then registered as a charity in 2013.

Sara runs a helpline which responds to enquiries related to dementia and the law. Pathway trains Admiral Nurses and delivers talks to community groups such as Life After Diagnosis. They also promote campaigns and highlight issues pertinent to their client group on social media, and speak at national conferences.

Pathways is also keen to support working carers by delivering lunchtime seminars on dementia and planning ahead. Research shows that companies can save thousands of pounds by supporting their working carers.

Backed up by a Board of Trustees, Sara is the only employee at present.

With CO VID-19 impacting all our lives ‘Pathways’ is experiencing an increase in the number of calls concerning care home placements, hospital discharge as well as providing assistance in drawing up legal documents such as Lasting Powers of Attorney . If grant giving T rusts cannot
meet to assess applications, the Charitys funding could be adversely affected.

This year, the Charity is expecting to take 800 /1,000 enquiries through their helpline – including clients reached through talks and training courses.

Ideally, they would have enough funding to promote their services and to pay for a second staff member . Promoting the charity will lead to more calls.

Funding usually starts in April, however since “locked down” there is a real concern that funders will be meeting much later in the year to assess grant applications, thus leaving the Charity with very little.

The Charity receives no government funds and is always looking for support which tends to be sporadic and unpredictable.

The London Freemasons’ Charity has been extremely generous with its financial support of Pathways Through Dementia – their donations have enabled this Charity to keep the helpline running, cover costs for website hosting and editing, enabled the CEO to attend training courses, essential in keeping her knowledge of the law up to date, and helped us to market the charity to a wider audience.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 41 July 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 41.