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Charity for the visually impaired marks building milestone

Home stretch: The rebuild of Beacon House, the home of charity Vision Bermuda, is almost complete and Dudley Cottingham of the Hamilton Lions Club pours the traditional rum for its roof-wetting ceremony. With him are Ian Gordon, the architect, and Patrick Caton, the project engineer (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A milestone for a charity for the visually impaired was celebrated with a roof-wetting ceremony at its new headquarters.

Marc Morabito, the secretary of Vision Bermuda, said fundraising for the $750,000 project, which included a new roof for the near 60-year-old building, was led by the Lions Clubs of Bermuda.

He added that the project is now on its home stretch after the new roof was finished.

Mr Morabito told Lions Club and Vision Bermuda members on Thursday: “This is a momentous and joyous occasion.”

Dudley Cottingham, of the Lions Club, climbed on to the roof with a traditional bottle of rum for the ceremony.

He was joined by Ian Gordon, the architect of the revamp and Patrick Caton, the project manager.

Mr Morabito said plans for a revamp of the charity’s Beacon House headquarters at the junction of Cedar Avenue and Dundonald Street in Hamilton went back 20 years.

But he added that refurbishment work had hit a roadblock in 2013 when newly discovered asbestos had to be removed.

Termites were also found after the project broke ground last January – just before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic threw another spanner in the works.

But Mr Morabito said the team took advantage of the downtime after Vision Bermuda’s group meetings had to be stopped for health reasons.

Mr Caton said: “The only thing still here is the building’s footprint. Everything else is a complete replacement.”

Hamilton Lions Club with Lions International raised about 20 per cent of the cash for the rebuild and the Vision Bermuda board of directors pitched in with $120,000.

The charity, once the Bermuda Society for the Blind, still needs to raise $50,000.

But clients will be able to use the high-tech services in the building’s modern interior by the end of the year and completion of the work is expected to take no longer than four months.

Mr Cottingham said the building would be brought up to island and international standard building codes by the time it was finished.

He added: “People with vision impairments come from all walks of life and socio-economic conditions.

“Beacon House, just like its name, will become a beacon of hope and opportunity.”

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Published October 23, 2021 at 7:51 am (Updated October 23, 2021 at 8:11 am)

Charity for the visually impaired marks building milestone

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