Whilst on a visit to the House of Lords Ian Kingsbury JP., the Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire Freemasons, was inspired by a presentation given by Steve Morton, Director of Development for the Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education, outlining the Academy’s aims and development plans for the future academy which is to be relocated to a new site in Exmouth - so much so that he came back to Devonshire with the desire to help those who are affected by this very difficult sensory disability. To this end he approached the Devonshire Freemasons Benevolent Fund Committee for help, and they immediately responded by giving him a cheque for £5000.
Following our visit to meet Steve Morton in October 2018 there has been an approach to the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) who have agreed further funding of £28,380 to equip a Multi-Sensory Immersive Space within the new centre in Exmouth bringing the total donated to £33,380.
This week Dr Reuben Ayres - the Devonshire Provincial Grand Charity Steward accompanied by Clive Eden visited the Deaf Academy which is currently based in Topsham Road. Here he met up again with Steve Morton and Appeals Manager Sarah Shaw and presented them with a certificate denoting the £28,380 which is going to support the wonderful work undertaken by the Academy.
The Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education has been located in Exeter for over 190 years and the current location is a property purchased many years ago which is no longer fit for the needs of the deaf students. The property and the land has now been sold and the proceeds will partially fund the new academy which is being been built with all the latest facilities available to the architects, to give the students what they really require.
All the students have additional needs, including multi-sensory disabilities, autism, epilepsy, and physical disabilities which is why, when designing the new building so much thought has gone in to making each part of the facility user friendly. It is planned that completion of the new building will be by Easter 2020.
When presenting the certificate W. Bro. Dr. Reuben Ayres said:
“Young people all need us to be there to help them grow for the future, none more so than those with a lack of hearing who are denied the normal things that we take so much for granted in the world we live in.”
When receiving the certificate Steve Morton said:
“We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire and now the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Without the support of generous organisations like these we wouldn’t be able to change the lives of some of the most vulnerable Deaf young people in UK. Our work helps young people, who have often been isolated in the past, to access education and opportunities for development which ultimately will enable them to have more independent lives. The immersive room is there to help those facing the greatest challenges to benefit from our work and Ian, Reuben and their fellow Freemasons have played a large part in making that a reality”