For the first time since Rotherham Sight & Sound (RSS)acquired their town-centre headquarters in August 2017 there will be 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 to purchase a lift.
Currently 33 per cent of the building, the ground floor, is available to RSS’s visually impaired clients. A new lift is being installed that will open up two more floors to them on completion of the refurbishment which is due by Autumn 2023.
The Rotherham-based Sandbeck Lodge successfully applied to the West Riding Masonic Community Fund for the grant tofacilitate the purchase the lift which is now being installed in the Rotherham Sight & Sound’s building.
The installation of the lift is 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 assist, she told them that he had respect for Rotherham Sight & Sound, which is a division of Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB).
James H Newman OBE, 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.’’
“It is immensely satisfying for Freemasons to know that they are supporting a project that will make such a massive difference to the charity’s visually impaired clients.”
Joanne Ardern, CEO of SRSB/RSS says ‘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.”