Buddy ready for action: photo of Roger receiving certificate

First buddy ready for action as deaf awareness builds

Signal’s new befriending and deaf awareness project is now fully up and running. We have started conversations with people grappling with hearing loss, trained our first volunteer and held two awareness raising seminars.Buddy ready for action: Big Lottery Fund logo

Our befriending service is now matching volunteer “buddies” with people with hearing loss to help them build confidence in dealing with everyday situations. By collaborating with voluntary, public and private organisations, we have found out about people needing help and chatted with them about the ways befriending can improve their lives.

We have trained our first buddy, Roger, who works as a printer and learned from an early age to communicate with a deaf family member. He is keen to use his experience to help others overcome the isolating effects of hearing loss and get involved in activities. In the headline photograph, Frances from Signal presents Roger with his certificate. We are looking forward to training more volunteers in December.

“Roger is keen to use his experience to help others overcome the isolating effects of hearing loss and get involved in activities”

Improving understanding of the challenges of hearing loss is another big part of this lottery-funded project. Phil and Frances from Signal are taking part in health and wellbeing events, linking up with community groups and informing people about the charity’s services across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

We have started delivering deaf awareness seminars for the staff and volunteers of different organisations too, with more planned in the new year.

Buddy ready for action: photo of focus group meetingFeedback about our project is vital and we have set up a focus group to make sure the views of people with hearing loss are heard. At its first meeting, the group considered the difference our befriending and awareness raising work can make.

Participants shared interesting insights. Hearing loops not working is a common complaint, while the need to regularly use the phrase “please don’t shout at me” struck a chord with the group. This type of discussion shows how determined we are to work with people across the county to build deaf friendly communities.

How to invite neighbours for cake?

Buddy ready for action: photo of class signing "chocolate cake"Participants in the beginners’ classes in British Sign Language at Signal: The Hub in Shrewsbury celebrated the end of their course by signing and sampling “chocolate cake”!

If you too are interested in starting to learn sign language in Shropshire, please do get in touch. Telephone 01743 358 356, send a text message to 07950 782 819 or email info@signal.org.uk .

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