By Rachel Cole, Projects Officer
Rotherham Deaf Futures is a group of profoundly deaf people who support other members of the deaf community and champion deaf awareness in Rotherham. The group formed in 2012 and with the help of RotherFed became a constituted group. Prior to this group setting up they had a dedicated team at RMBC who helped and supported them.
The group have met at Springwell Gardens on a Friday from 11am until 3pm. The sessions are open to all the deaf community and include cooking, bingo, quizzes, arts and crafts and key speakers from various companies. An interpreter has supported this group for the past few years to help them with everyday things i.e. phone calls, letters, doctors and hospital appointments etc, the things which the hearing community take for granted. Without an interpreter the deaf community cannot communicate with the hearing community.
In the past few months a significant amount of the funding they had been receiving was lost and therefore so was a lot of their support. Funding in the past had covered the cost for interpreters, room hire and refreshments. Unfortunately, without this funding the group have been without the help of an interpreter to help with their everyday issues and problems.
RotherFed prepared an application for an Awards for All grant on behalf of the group in August, which has been successful in securing £9,900. This grant will pay for cost of BSL interpreters to enable the Deaf community to link with the Hearing Community and also for room hire, refreshments, activities and training.
This is fantastic news for Rotherham Deaf Futures as they can now continue to support the deaf community.
Over a 12-month period from January 2020 there will be 50 weekly sessions organised with between 15-25 Deaf people attending each session. The sessions will be open to all and include cooking, bingo, quizzes, arts and crafts, films, educational videos, as well as key speakers from local authorities, Police, DWP, etc. An Interpreter at the sessions will support with everyday things i.e. phone calls and letters to doctors, dentist, hospital, RMBC, Citizens Advice etc, something the hearing community take for granted.
This project will also enable the development and growth of Rotherham Deaf Futures community group and sustain the group as a self-organised entity supporting the social and learning development of Deaf individuals and championing Deaf issues with the hearing community. Over the 12-month period the group will raise funds through raffles, sales, bingo etc. and also apply for additional grants that will enable the group and their activities to be maintained into the future.
This whole project has been designed by the group through listening and understanding the issues that deaf people are experiencing, and then planning the type of events, activities and opportunities that will address those needs. Attendees will be from a range of age, genders and backgrounds.
RotherFed will continue to support where required.