The Lottery fund Awards for all has awarded a grant of £10,000 to support a local deaf charity based in Spennymoor in its work with Deaf people and their families.
Codeaf (county Durham Equal Access Forum) has been given the award to help set up support groups for families with a deaf member.
If one member of a family is deaf, then it is natural that the rest of the family should learn sign language in order to communicate. However, sign language classes can be costly and, all too often, a family will not be able to afford lessons.
This leaves the deaf person isolated, potentially depressed and ignored by their own family. It is hardly surprising, then, that 40% of deaf children have mental health problems.
It is this isolation that County Durham’s Equal Access Forum’s Family Sign and Support is trying to fight, and it is thanks to Lottery funding that the project has been possible.
It was initially set up to help parents and children, but has now grown to include many adults who have difficulties communicating. The project offers free sign language classes to the families of deaf children and adults, and provides support groups for deaf people in the community.
Commenting on the award Richard Moriarty – Co.deaf’s projects Development Officer said: “We are delighted that Awards for all has enabled this work to take place. Thanks to this grant Deaf people’s families will be supported in learning to use sign language and other communication techniques, alongside other families and deaf youngsters, this will give lots of people particularly children the opportunity to support each other and learn together.”
You can read more about Co-Deaf’s work by visiting their website at www.codeaf.org.uk.