A GREAT grandfather from Marlbrook, Bromsgrove, left unable to speak following a Laryngectomy, is celebrating being able to communicate with loved ones again thanks to a grant from Engage Mutual.

John Cartwright, 84, had his voice box removed after battling with cancer in 2007 and was left without his voice and partially deaf. Unable to communicate with friends and family, John relied on his wife of 63 years, Beryl, 82, to interpret and speak for him. Now, thanks to a personal grant from Engage Mutual, John has been able to buy an iPad and as a result has gained a new positive outlook and a means to connect and communicate.

Beryl said: “John loves his new iPad. It has given him not only a way to explore his interests, but a means of speaking to his friends, daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The doctors advised we get a computer for John but he was worried he wouldn’t be able to learn to use one at his age. Our great grandchildren would bring their tablets round when they came to visit and John realised that having one of his own may provide a means of communicating and connecting with them. Before he got the tablet, he needed me to communicate as I’m really the only one who understands him. He was feeling lonely and incredibly sad about his situation – he felt very isolated.”

John’s financial helping hand came from the Engage Mutual Foundation, which has set aside £1million as an exclusive benefit for its customers in order to make their lives and their communities better. His application was selected by the mutual society in a monthly draw from more than 700 worthy submissions.

Since the launch of its personal grants in January 2014, Engage Mutual has made a significant difference to the lives of 30 of its deserving customers.

Customers can apply to help themselves, their family and close friends or their community. All customers need to do to be considered, is apply. The funding pot is made possible due to the financial stability of the customer-owned organisation which provides life and health insurance, and a variety of savings products.

Engage spokesman Anna Drabble said: "We have around half a million UK customers and we’re extremely proud to be able to offer them our personal grant customer benefit. At Engage Mutual the welfare and wellbeing of our customers is hugely important to us, and we set up the foundation with the clear aim of creating a meaningful and lasting impact on their lives."

For more details, see engagemutual.com/foundation.