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Sign cafe and card success

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A group of users from a Sign Café are celebrating the launch of a new communication card to assist deaf people this Deaf Awareness Week (15 - 21 May).

The Deaf Focus Group who regularly use Dudley’s Sign Café have been working with Health Watch Dudley, Dudley CCG, Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Dudley Council’s deaf support service to look at the issues affecting members of the deaf community.

Group of users at Sign Cafe 

The group felt the deaf community would benefit from a quick and simple way to inform people of their communication needs, in particular health and social care professionals so that they could ensure the right support was in place to aid communication. Together the working group came up with the design for a simple business card which informs people that the user is deaf or hearing impaired and requires support though either British Sign Language, or for the speaker to speak clearly to allow lip reading.

 

The card will be available from Queen’s Cross Network in Wellington Road Dudley, home to Dudley Council’s deaf support service. Perhaps the service’s most popular element is the Sign Café which launched at Queen’s Cross for Deaf Awareness Week in May 2013 and has been held every month since. The Sign Cafe runs one day a month from 10.30am until 1.30pm, with refreshments available from the onsite Cafe Plaza.It’s attended by 25 – 40 people who have been profoundly deaf since birth and who use British Sign Language to communicate.  People who have been living with such a significant hearing loss since early childhood, can find themselves facing additional challenges accessing both verbal and written information.  The Sign Cafe is a place where they can access information but more importantly somewhere they can express themselves freely, asking questions, discussing learning with peers and sharing information with other deaf people in the community.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:

I’m really proud of the work our deaf support service, the Sign Café in particular has been devised with and for members of our deaf community and is always really popular.
Members of the group have been working with the CCG and other partners to create the new information card which will help people with a hearing impairment to get the help and support they need when they’re in an unfamiliar setting, giving them an additional sense of security and independence.”

The council service also offers a range of information, advice and support services to help hard of hearing, deaf and deafblind people to lead independent and fulfilled lives. Services available include an assessment of needs, information about coping with hearing loss, communication hints and tips, advocacy and advice, signposting to other helpful services, a resource room, equipment to alert to environmental sounds and information on direct payments.The team provides bookable appointments with its advisors and also runs a drop-in between 10am and 1pm on Tuesday and Thursday.

 

The council service also offers a range of information, advice and support services to help hard of hearing, deaf and deafblind people to lead independent and fulfilled lives. Services available include an assessment of needs, information about coping with hearing loss, communication hints and tips, advocacy and advice, signposting to other helpful services, a resource room, equipment to alert to environmental sounds and information on direct payments.The team provides bookable appointments with its advisors and also runs a drop-in between 10am and 1pm on Tuesday and Thursday.

Picture caption

(l-r Tracey Willetts - Access & Prevention, Deb Attwood - Healthwatch Dudley, Janice Spiller - senior social worker, Peter Berridge - Deaf Focus Group, Paul Astley - centre manager)

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