Can you imagine what it is like to be deaf or blind? Or to be both deaf and blind? The difficulties are enormous, the isolation ever present - exacerbated by COVID.

People with deafblindness are often left alone with their thoughts. With no radio or television for entertainment, no access to information or world news, with little ability to exercise safely, no opportunity to read a book or relax listening to music. Their mental wellbeing suffers as they are in a constant state of fraught emotions, thanks to not knowing what is going on around them.

There are just over 12,000,000 registered deaf or hard of hearing people in the UK and 2,500,000 registered blind. There is no official register of the deaf and blind but they are thought to number 500,000.

With headquarters in Peterborough, the charity Deafblind UK is the principal national provider of support for those with a sight and hearing loss. With no central government help, it is funded by voluntary contributions.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation has made a grant of £42,000 to Deafblind UK to support those identified through their helpline as needing additional support relating to their mental health.

Specially trained counsellors will use a six week intensive wellbeing and emotional support package to help those in extreme distress.

They will have access to someone they can speak to, who can understand their needs and help them to understand the additional support they need.

Where necessary, the charity will signpost to other support, e.g., concerning housing or access to more specialised counselling.

Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master, WBro David Burton, and Provincial Grand Charity Steward, WBro Gerry Crawford, talk to Deafblind UK resident, Jimmy, who uses sign language and speaks through his support worker

Jimmy demonstrates his blind person's watch to WBro Andrew Ward, WBro David Burton and WBro Gerry Crawford

Deafblind UK’s Director of Fundraising, Shirley Scotcher, said:

This grant from the Masons is marvellous. It will make such a difference to many deafblind who otherwise would continue to have great difficulty in dealing with constant isolation, loneliness and lack of self esteem. We are most grateful.