When local institutions that are not federally funded begin large installation or construction projects, it can sometimes be difficult to find the money needed to complete the planned changes. This is especially true for churches – seeing as they are usually exempt from taxpayer money. Sometimes, special fundraisers can help, but when it comes to church, there is always the chance for some divine intervention. This is precisely what happened for one church in Edinburgh.
According to the Edinburgh Daily News, the Old St. Paul’s Scottish Episcopal Church in England was in dire need of a platform lift to transport disabled and wheelchair-bound parishioners in an easy fashion. However, the money wasn’t fully available for the project until a surprise visitor offered some help:
“…an out-of-the-blue visit by a US entrepreneur turned into a real blessing – after she donated £40,000. The surprise cash injection will pay for the installation of a platform stairlift at Old St Paul’s Scottish Episcopal Church in Jeffrey Street, which will enable wheelchair users to come and go as they please.”
The donor, the CEO of Laserfiche, was moved to write a check when she saw how some disabled worshippers were having difficulty ascending the steps of the 19th century church. The article says that up until the installation of the lift, people in wheelchairs had to be carried up the stairs, which is dangerous for all involved. This lift installation was planned as part of a bigger restoration project:
“Plans to improve wheelchair access at the church were part of a £135,000 restoration and renewal project. The installation of the new stairlift will mean wheelchair users will have easy access to the many social activities at the church and it will be accessible to disabled tourists.”
These older buildings are usually in need of modern accessibility items because they were built in times when mobility wasn’t taken into construction planning.