L to R – Presenting the cheque: Ken Davies (Provincial Charity Steward, Province of East Lancashire), Fiona Ashcroft (Director of Fundraising – Henshaws), Chad Northcott (Chairman of the East Lancashire Masonic Charity and Assistant Provincial Grand Master- East Lancashire), with two Charity Recipients and Guide Dog

£60,000 Grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation will assist Henshaws to support thousands
Thousands of people with visual impairments in Northern England are to benefit from a £60,000 grant to the Henshaws charity from the MCF, presented on behalf of the Province of East Lancashire and the MCF by Chad Northcott (APGM and Chairman of the ELMC) and Ken Davies (Provincial Grand Charity Steward).
Henshaws celebrates 180 years in 2017. This September the Central Library in Manchester has a 180th Anniversary exhibition stand. Many Freemasons, Lodges and indeed the Province, have supported Henshaws over the years.
Henshaws is a charity which works across the North of England to support people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities to go beyond expectations and live life to the full. Their modern-day approach is with the development of a network of hubs across the North, with major centres in Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.

L to R – engaged in conversation, discussing use of the Grant – Ken Davies (Provincial Charity Steward, Province of East Lancashire), Deb Ryan (First Step Team Leader – Henshaws) and Fiona Ashcroft (Director of Fundraising – Henshaws)

Henshaws’ ‘Pathway to Independence’, offers a holistic approach to supporting people with sight loss towards a more independent future: A specialist information service (face to face, web based and on the telephone), assessing needs and developing a tailored plan, developing core skills focussed on independent living and a programme of friendly, social support, combine to help create the best possible future for the visually impaired – partnering with other specialisms where appropriate. There is also a greater use of computers, information technology and electronic aids.

Enjoyed tour of Henshaws facility in Manchester and learned about the Pathway to Independence – including the use of technology. This ‘ORCAM’ is a camera which fastens to glasses and using OCR technology reads aloud any text which it encounters – invaluable for shopping, sign reading and general reading for example.

Their First Step programme provides a life-changing advice service for visually impaired people and their families, extending Henshaws’ reach to those who are the most isolated and in desperate need of our support. With our financial support Henshaws will reach out to a further 10,000 people needing support in our local communities. They will be able to proactively promote their support package. They currently serve 75,000 across Greater Manchester and hope this to reach 100,000 by 2030.

Discussing the First Step Programme whilst enjoying cakes baked, prepared and served in house by the Children’s “Friendship Matters” Social and Support Group – Hayley Middleton (Trust and Grants Fund Raiser – Henshaws), Deb Ryan (First Step Team Leader – Henshaws), Ken Davies (Provincial Charity Steward, Province of East Lancashire)

Our grant will help Henshaws expand the first step programme with additional staffing, training and a new telephone system. This increased capacity will allow the charity to increase the number of visually impaired people supported in the North West and North East by over 10,000 within three years.
Receiving a sight loss diagnosis can be a very traumatic and distressing time often leading to anxiety, depression, feelings of grief, isolation and a myriad of other health issues. Many people do not ask for help, they suffer in silence; particularly the most vulnerable, isolated and elderly clients.

Hayley Middleton (Trust and Grants Fund Raiser – Henshaws), Ken Davies (Provincial Charity Steward, Province of East Lancashire), ), Fiona Ashcroft (Director of Fundraising – Henshaws) and Deb Ryan (First Step Team Leader – Henshaws)

For further information about Henshaws, please contact Alex Blythe / 0161 786 3662 / alex.blythe@henshaws.org.uk – working hours between 9am and 5pm
About Henshaws:
Henshaws is a charity that supports people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities to achieve their ambitions and go beyond expectations. We believe that everyone has the right to an independent and fulfilling life. Our support, advice and training helps people and their families build skills, develop confidence and look forward to a positive future.
For further information about the Masonic Charitable Foundation, please contact Guy Roberts, Press Officer (groberts@mcf.org.uk |0203 146 3311)
About the Masonic Charitable Foundation:
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief. In total, MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally. As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports Masonic families with a financial, health or family need. Visit www.mcf.org.uk