MENTAL health charity HUTS Workshop is to receive a £15,000 community award from the Freemasons following an unprecedented public vote.

The Newcastle Emlyn-based organisation was one of four to be nominated by Freemasons in West Wales, with local people voting to decide the level of their award. They were part of 178,801 people who voted across England and Wales.

The community awards are a major part of Freemasonry’s 300th anniversary celebrations. The Masonic Charitable Foundation is distributing £3m to 300 charities across the country, with the public vote deciding on the range of awards from £4,000 to £25,000.

Sally Chorley, manager at HUTS Workshop said: “The grant of £15,000 which we have been awarded following the public vote is hugely important. We are very grateful to all of our friends who took the trouble to support us.

“We plan to use this money to continue to support our members by providing a variety of creative, engaging and therapeutic activities at our centre in Newcastle Emlyn.”

The Masonic Charitable Foundation obtains all of its funding from Freemasons, their families and friends. It is estimated that half of Freemasonry’s total charitable expenditure of more than £33m goes to charities that help people in communities across the country.

Stephen D Hookey, the Provincial Grand Master for West Wales Freemasons said: “We are delighted so many people voted in West Wales. HUTS Workshop was one of four charities nominated by local Freemasons and I know they will use their £15,000 grant to continue with their outstanding work.”

HUTS (Helping us to Survive) Workshop offers a wide variety of creative activities to help adults with mental health challenges throughout Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.

HUTS has now been going for 21 years and demand is greater than ever, with more than 120 people currently accessing its services.