Freemasons’ grant gives Sight & Sound charity a lift

A COMMUNITY group gave a charity helping the deaf and blind a big lift — literally — with a welcome donation.

The town centre HQ of Rotherham Sight & Sound will be able to offer full access for visually-impaired people to all three of the building’s floors thanks to a grant of £34,500 from West Yorkshire Freemasons.

A new lift is being installed that will open up two upper floors to the charity clients, with a target finishing date of this autumn.

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The Rotherham-based Sandbeck Lodge successfully applied to the West Riding Masonic Community Fund for the grant to fund the lift and its installation at the charity’s Ship Hill base.

It’s part of a major upgrade of the Ship Hill building which includes new toilet facilities and a café, together with a new entrance and reception area.

Sandbeck Lodge sourced the grant application in memory of one of their members, the late Joe Walker, who was a champion of charitable causes both nationally and internationally.

When the Freemasons asked Joe’s widow Margaret which Rotherham-based charity Joe would have wanted them to help, she told them that he had respect for Rotherham Sight & Sound.

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James Newman, provincial grand master of the Freemasons’ Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, said: “I am incredibly proud that the generosity of our members from Lodges across all parts of Yorkshire enables us to support life-changing charities like Rotherham Sight & Sound.”

RSS’s chief executive, Joanne Ardern, said: “RSS provide opportunity, support, friendship, and services to people with sight and/or hearing loss in the Rotherham area, helping them to achieve whatever they wish to do and whatever they aspire to be.

“This very generous donation will mean our charity can do this more effectively, as we have seen our client numbers growing from nil to over 2,200 in the last six years and numbers still continue to grow.

“We want to say a very big thank you on behalf of our clients and our charity to the Sandbeck Lodge.”

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