“Charity sees the need, not the cause”
In adverse circumstances, good people stand up and develop solutions for the needs they see. William Thompson was such a person. During World War I, following the death of his son, Horace, on the Western Front, the Grand Master of United Grand Lodge of New South Wales (1914-1924) recognised the need to support children of Masons who were orphaned by the war. In 1922, he founded the William Thompson Masonic School at Baulkham Hills and then, the following year, the NSW Masonic Schools Welfare Fund. In 1965 the NSW Masonic Schools Welfare Fund was renamed as the NSW Masonic Youth Welfare Fund. The constitution was enlarged to not only assist ex-pupils of the school but also to help needy youth of deceased or incapacitated Masons. By 1972, the constitution had again expanded to provide support to any youth deemed to be in necessitous circumstances, regardless of race, religion or masonic affiliation. As community needs and government welfare have changed over the years, so to has the Fund, ensuring its ongoing relevancy. Today, “A Start in Life” is an autonomous Trust, supported by individuals, business groups, organisations, trusts and foundations. The current scale of assistance provided could not be achieved without this breadth of support. Guided by a mission of assisting young Australians in necessitous circumstances to overcome the barriers to their education, A Start in Life is proud of the work we do each year to help disadvantaged young Australians reach their potential.