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Deaf Community Communicator/ helper

£10 of £1,000 goal

Raised by 1 person in 8 months
My Brother Malcolm.


 

On Remembrance Day in 1953 a baby was born to joyful farm working parents in the outback of beautiful Shropshire. In those days, 'the outback' meant no electricity or running water in the cottage and an outside toilet, whatever the weather!

 

Nevertheless, baby Malcolm was loved by his hard-working Mum and Dad and by his three brothers and sister who looked to him for normal baby responses, leading up to a cosy Christmas time. Of course there wasn't much money for presents but, somehow, our mum used to find a little something for all of us, while telling her story about how she was delighted at the age of nine to receive, what she thought was a ball in her stocking, that turned out to be an orange.

 

Christmas came and went and so did the next two years when baby Malcolm was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf. That explained why he hadn't been responding as we all thought he should have since birth. Apart from his total deafness, he was, as they say, completely normal. That meant he hadn't heard a single word and therefore couldn't utter even baby talk... so, something had to be done for him.

 

In those days, the Deaf Society was the poor relation of organised charity and government care departments. My brother was 'snatched' from us and sent to a boarding school at the delicate age of four years. We hardly saw him again until he was expelled from Edgbaston Institute for the Deaf for frustrated obstruction of the teaching staff at the age of fourteen. This was the end of his formal education and it drove Malcolm towards accelerated maturity. Lacking the 10-years family guidance that he deserved and needed as a teenager to keep him from danger, he literally ran into things on his motorbike... cars, lorries and numerous country hedgerows.

 

Then came the difficulties we all had to share for the first time; trying to communicate with each other. It took at least another 10 years before we were able to say that he had found some kind of support network. Importantly, he had found work and was also making the most of his old friendships from school, trying to live like all the 'hearing' folk he could see around him. By this time, however, mum and dad had passed away and the only meaningful thing left for him was to live on his own as a recluse with dad's flat cap hanging on the hook in the hall, a powerful symbol of something missing, if ever there was one!

 

Times have changed and many things have improved for the rest of us over the last sixty-four years but the Deaf community still hasn't been able to speak up for itself.  It is still a silent world for Malcolm and many like him, particularly in the outback of our rural counties. In this digital age, for example, my brother is one of many throughout Herefordshire who relies on someone, a real human being, who represents the surrounding human society (deaf and hearing) to liaise and communicate in sign language. In other words, the deaf cannot use a telephone, mobile or fixed, to chat like we do... yes, they can use text messaging but it cannot replace a coordinator to help out and explain the subtle challenges in everyday life.

 

My brother Malcolm deserves his special network of 'friends' - those with similar difficulties, who are helped / coordinated by a hearing person with skills in the British Sign Language, willing to give all our deaf brothers and sisters equal respect in life...


 Of course, it all comes down to money in the end!


This is the situation we have...

On the FIRST DAY of 2017,  Malcolm was struck down with a severe stroke, leaving him unable to do anything for himself apart from sit in a wheel-chair and watch the rest of the world go by. In addition to his inability to hear and talk, he can't walk or even use his hands to communicate through the British Sign Language, to express himself in any way.

As if all that isn't enough to cope with, this is what we are just about to LOSE BY THE LAST DAY of 2017...   (12-months to the day)...

BARNABAS DEAF & COMMUNITY SERVICE:
This project is seeking support for the 2018 calendar year so we can continue helping the deaf community in Herefordshire, who struggle to interact with society because of their hearing disability. We’ve been told by our users that our service is a vital lifeline to them, and without us they would have no one else to turn to. Trust runs deeply within the deaf community because of the need to share private information with others in order to access services, and our users constantly say how much they trust us.

Not only are users challenged by their hearing loss, but living in a sparsely populated rural community, such as Herefordshire, means accessing services in person is also challenging. Some struggle when dealing with legal or medical issues, form filling or having to interact with services by phone.

 

With your funding support we will continue to pay a person proficient in British Sign Language to accompany those with severe hearing difficulties when they need to access services within the wider community. This means that they can have someone with them by their side when liaising with social services, council services, or even at the Post Office.

 

In addition to this service, we also run drop-in events, and classes in sign language, so that deaf people can meet and have quality social time using their first language. This gives us an opportunity to teach those new to British Sign Language the skills they need to interact with others in the deaf community. We also help other family members learn the basics, so that family members can communicate amongst themselves.

 

By working on these skills we can help more people fulfil their potential, giving them the confidence to engage with the wider community. Our drop-in sessions also bring people together, enabling them to make friends and build stronger relations with others who share hearing loss. This helps to create a stronger deaf community, who can support each other in their lives.

 

This project will continue to employ someone trained in British Sign Language (and cover the associated employment costs – mobile phone, travel), who will be available to help people both on a one-to-one basis when they need to access services in the wider community, as well as facilitating the regular twice-weekly drop-in events. (On Wednesdays we hold drop-ins in Hereford’s St Peters Church, after which many attendees go off to lunch together – demonstrating how these sessions build confidence and friendships.

 

We hold drop-ins on Fridays, but have had to change venue because our previous venue closed. Our new venue is the Old Court House in Gaol Street, for which we now have to pay room hire costs, which is an additional financial burden to our project. However, it’s a service we feel we must provide because users constantly tell us how important these drop-in sessions are to them.)

We also organise regular bingo sessions (that are open to all) and a summer day trip to a place of users’ choice, so they can mix with the wider community.

There is a strong demand for our service and if we’re unable to fund it, then we will have to close and this will affect the deaf community in Herefordshire detrimentally. We’ve built up trust amongst the community.

 

Your help will not only enable us to continue offering our service, but it will also buy us the time to develop a long-term funding strategy that we need in order to continue offering our service and supporting Herefordshire’s deaf people to fulfil their potential, by working to address their issues at the earliest opportunity.

 

 

 

Expenditure

Salary                                                  - £13,000 (20 hours a week at £12.50 per hour)

Travel Expenses                                  - £936.00 (at 45p a mile)

Mobile phone                                      - £240.00

Admin                                                 - £100.00

Room Hire                                          - £3,432.00 (for Old Court House, Gaol Street)

Total Cost =                                       - £17,708.00

 

Income

Our aim is to meet the costs of providing a suitable person to fill this post. Remember, this person is already in post but the service will cease in the New Year if this funding can't be raised. This is a dreadful situation and, for the sake of our Deaf Community, we cannot allow this service to die. Malcolm, my brother, is one of the many profoundly deaf people who will benefit from the continued service  in their silent, rural community.

 

This is where you can make a real difference to our deaf community in Herefordshire. Any amount of money you can offer, especially before Christmas, will be immensely appreciated -  Please donate whatever you can afford.

 

                  Thank you so much,

                      (Brother Harry)
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Thanks for your support to date; we really appreciate anything you can afford to donate for keeping our Pam on-board with the deaf community in Herefordshire. Isn't it shocking, the Council can't afford to pay for this vital support so we have to pay for her wages through donations from very kind people like yourself!!
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Hey , this is brother Harry, I'm sending you this update to keep you on track with Malcolm's campaign.

He'd like you to donate something towards this project for keeping Pam engaged with his Deaf Community network. They trust her and she's brilliant for them.
+ Read More
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£10 of £1,000 goal

Raised by 1 person in 8 months
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