Looking Good! The Spa Lodge Charity Steward Doug Mills watches Disability Action Yorkshire customer Kayleigh Atkinson experiencing the new virtual reality headset, funded by the Freemasons
Disabled people supported by a Harrogate charity will be able to step into a whole new world, thanks to the Freemasons.
In a bid to equip customers for independent living, Disability Action Yorkshire is turning to virtual reality to help train and prepare them for a host of everyday life experiences, including supermarket shopping and travelling by public transport.
Members of the town’s The Spa Lodge secured a grant of £2,000 from the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund, which has been used for the charity’s Virtual Independence Project to purchase a Garmin spherical camera, Oculus Go virtual reality headset and a new laptop computer to edit the recorded footage.
Disability Action Yorkshire Chief Executive Jackie Snape said: “Thanks to The Spa Lodge nominating us for this generous grant, our training sessions for customers will be totally revolutionised.
“Whilst many are keen to live as independently as possible, the reality is that some people have had little or no experience of everyday life. Our Virtual Independence Project will change all that.
“Our customers will be able to experience what it is like to travel on a bus independently, travel around a busy shopping centre or supermarket, or prepare and cook a simple meal.
“The aim is that once people have gained confidence in a virtual setting they will then go to try new experiences in daily life.”
Doug Mills, The Spa Lodge Charity Steward, said: “Charity is one of the three grand principles of Freemasonry, and I’m delighted that we have been able to support Disability Action Yorkshire in kick-starting their Virtual Independence Project.
“With the camera, the charity will now be able to develop a series of 360-degree videos, which will help train and prepare customers keen to explore new experiences.
“I tried the headset on myself, and whilst it was great fun I could see a real benefit for those who lack confidence in undertaking simple tasks which, to them, can seem like major obstacles.
“The visit to Disability Action Yorkshire’s Claro Road residential care home proved to be a very satisfying experience, particularly in the knowledge that Freemasons in The Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, have provided financial support to the wider community.”
Further information about Disability Action Yorkshire is available from its website, www.disabilityactionyorkshire.org.uk
Bags of Support! Pictured from left are Michael Baxter, Harrogate & Claro Freemasons; Laura Milburn, Lead Cancer Manager; Charlotte Rock; Palliative Care Team Leader; Satokh Sidu, Master of Harrogate & Claro Masonic Lodge; Sarah David, Clinical Nurse Specialist; John Birkenshaw, Charity Steward, Harrogate & Claro Lodge; and Beverley Harrison, Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity Administrator
Funding from the Freemasons has helped Harrogate District Hospital launch a “comforting” initiative for relatives of patients at the end of their lives.
Harrogate & Claro Freemasons Lodge secured £1,700 from the Province of Yorkshire West Riding’s Provincial Grand Master’s Charity Fund, to kick start the “Comfort Bags” scheme.
Set up by Harrogate District Hospital & Community Charity and Harrogate District Palliative Care Team, the bags are helping enhance both dignity and practical support throughout end of life for patients and their relatives, in the acute hospital setting.
Each year, more than 600 patients spend their last days and hours in the Harrogate District Hospital and Ripon Hospital.
The bags – which contains a blanket, travel pillow, toothbrush and toothpaste, tissues, notebook and pen, hand lotions and essential toiletries, a free meal voucher and a free parking permit - provide very practical items to help improve the comfort of relatives staying for long periods, or overnight with patients who are in the last days of life.
These are items they may well forget to bring with them when they’re in a hurry or didn’t expect to stay long.
Feedback from relatives has been very positive and grateful for the additional support this scheme has provided.
One relative said: “At the moment my mum is receiving end of life care and last night I received one of your bags. It is a really thoughtful touch. Thank you!”
John Birkenshaw, Charity Steward of Harrogate & Claro Lodge of Freemasons, said: “We are really proud to support this innovative scheme which will bring much needed comfort and support to both patients and relatives at a time when it is needed the most.”
Initial funding was used to launch the bags, however ongoing funding is vital to continue to provide this service. Current projections suggest this will require approximately £5,000 per year to fund 300 comfort bags.
The donation of £1,700 from Harrogate Freemasons will make a set the scheme on a firm road ahead and the donation will be used to continue to fund the contents of the comfort bags.
For Further Information Please contact:
David Simister, Different PR, on 07870 550 760
Noreen Hawkshead, Macmillan Lead Nurse for Cancer and End of Life Care, 1st Floor Phoenix Unit, Briary Wing, Harrogate District Hospital Harrogate. HG2 7SX. Direct Line :01423 555797. Email: Noreen.Hawkshaw2@hdft.nhs.uk Or
John Birkenshaw, Charity Steward, Harrogate & Claro Freemasons Lodge, Tel: 07791864260. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Five Yorkshire charities have shared a £90,000 “major grants” windfall from the region’s Freemasons.
The financial donations - which ranged in value from £9,000 to £30,500 - were presented at the Freemasons’ Province of Yorkshire West Riding’s annual meeting held at Harrogate’s Royal Hall.
Representatives from the five organisations were presented with their cheques by the fraternity’s Provincial Grand Master, David S Pratt, at the event attended by Freemasons from Yorkshire’s four counties and beyond.
Those who received grants were:
Provincial Grand Master David S Pratt, said: “It was my absolute honour to be able to present these five different, yet equally deserving, organisations with their grants, at our Provincial Grand Lodge annual meeting in Harrogate.
“This money was all raised thanks to Freemasons from throughout our Province, and I am extremely grateful to them for their generosity and continued support of charity.
“This year alone we will give £200,000 to a wide range of charities, clubs, societies, hospitals and hospices.
“Charity has, as always has been, at the heart of Freemasonry, and it will continue to be so for as long as our ancient and honourable institution exists.
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