Monday, May 22, 2023

News: Master Cutler's challenge set to benefit Wentworth Woodhouse


Big-hearted South Yorkshire businesses are being urged to back a charity challenge set by the second woman in 398 years to lead the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire.

Dame Julie Kenny DBE DL, who was appointed to the prestigious role in October, has launched her Master Cutler's Challenge and aims to raise £200,000 by September 30.

The money will help fund community-enriching projects at her beloved Wentworth Woodhouse, the Rotherham stately home she helped to save for the nation in 2017.

Companies already signed up include AESSEAL, Vulcan Steels, Airmaster Air Conditioning, accountants Hartshaw, Grant Thornton and BHP, law firms DLA Piper and Irwin Mitchell, architects Donald Insall Associates, Sheffield Hallam University and OSL Group Holdings.

The annual Master Cutler’s Challenge has brought in over £1m for local causes since launching in 2008.

Each new Master Cutler of Hallamshire chooses a charity to support and fundraisers are given a £50 fund which they are tasked with growing into as large a sum as possible.

Dame Julie has chosen the Educational and Community Programme at Wentworth Woodhouse, the Grade I listed Georgian masterpiece which was crumbling into ruin when her five-year campaign with SAVE led to the purchase of the house for £7m in 2017.

With Dame Julie as Chair, the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust began the task of regenerating the house and changing the economic fortunes, and people’s perceptions, of Rotherham.

“I am very proud to be only the second female Master in almost 400 years. Every year the Master Cutler has a cause they want to raise awareness of; mine is the Wentworth Woodhouse educational and community programme, which strives to increase diversity and inclusion in South Yorkshire,” said Dame Julie, founder of award-winning Rotherham electronic security manufacturer Pyronix.

“ “I got involved in Wentworth Woodhouse not only to rescue such an important and beautiful place, but also because I wanted it to become a catalyst for change - supporting regeneration, providing jobs and workplace opportunities and becoming a place for the people.

“We have achieved a huge amount in six years. It is now one of the core pillars in South Yorkshire and is transforming lives and communities in what is one of the most deprived regions in Europe.

“I came from a very poor background. Sometimes we didn't eat and often we had no electricity or gas because my mother didn’t pay the bills.

“As a child I was written off as a low achiever, but I have achieved significant things. The trust is giving people just like me educational and entrepreneurial programmes, training opportunities and cultural experiences they might never otherwise have got a chance of.

“I urge the region’s businesses to join in the Master Cutler’s Challenge 2023 and help Wentworth Woodhouse change more lives.”

Money raised will go towards the trust’s activities supporting low-income families, ethnic and minority groups and people with disabilities, including the creation of a Community Growing Garden.

Situated on the Drying Green, where for centuries laundry maids pegged bedlinen out to dry, a fully accessible space will feature raised growing beds, polytunnels and greenhouses.

Up to 20 local community groups will be able to grow their own food, develop gardening skills and friendships.

Master Cutler's Challenge website

Images: WWPT


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