Quite a lot of freemasons from Bury District met some of the organisers, clients and carers from Speakeasy when we attended a play at the Theatre Royal in Ramsbottom in March.  Freemasons from Bury District and Speakeasy had both sponsored a play by the Summerseat Players …… and we had a great evening together.  One of Speakeasy’s organisers, Gill Pearl, addressed the audience after the conclusion of the play.  She spoke with such eloquence and passion about the work of Speakeasy that Jesse Riley, the Charity Steward at Cromwell with Papyrean Lodge, chatted to her to get more information.

Gill explained that Speakeasy focuses their work on people who have aphasia.  This is a complex acquired communication disability which can happen after a stroke or brain damage which could be cause, for example by a tumour or head injury.  People with aphasia find it hard to speak and to understand what people are saying. While they may have difficulty with reading, writing and numbers, their intelligence is not affected.

Speakeasy is a local charity, based in Ramsbottom, which provides long term support, opportunity and therapy for people affected by aphasia.  Sone of the support is delivered by computer programmes using specialist aphasia software and technology, and Gill explained how they are desperate for funds to provide up to date equipment so their clients can use the technology.  There are regular social and training meetings held at Ramsbottom Cricket Club, during which people with Aphasia are supported through a discussion session using a PowerPoint presentation projected onto a screen.  This is followed up with support from their volunteer speech and language therapists, while the carers of the people with aphasia are given a break from their caring responsibilities.

After listening to Gill talking about Speakeasy and its work, Jesse made a bid to the ELMC Grants Committee for funds to provide IT equipment.  After due consideration, the ELMC awarded Speakeasy over £1300 to support their work.

Jesse went to one of Speakeasy’s regular meetings along with District Charity Steward Steve Clark in order to present a cheque to Gill Pearl.  It was super for Jesse and Steve to meet up again with some of the people who they had met some weeks earlier at Ramsbottom’s Theatre Royal, and the pleasure of meeting each other again was helped even further by Steve winning a bottle of wine in Speakeasy’s raffle.  Gill said “All of us at Speakeasy want to thank the East Lancs Masonic Charity for their generosity in allowing us to continue and develop our work.”


Report by Steve Clark