Wow! What a Busy Year for Cumbria Deaf Association

Trudy Harrison MP with Karen Edmondson BSL Interpreter - Cumbria Deaf Association

In the past year we can report great success to date in engagement in mental health, emergency and legal services;

  • a community engagement workshop with the Police and Crime commissioner led to funding for community drop ins with a BSL interpreter throughout Cumbria in the coming months
  • engaged with the North West Ambulance Service team to improve the understanding of the ambulance and emergency response teams
  • planned and delivered mental health community workshops with Cumbria Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Deaf Mental Health Team and continue to work with them
  • forged relationships with Butterworths Solicitors to support the Deaf communities access to legal advice because death, divorce, parental issues, buying and selling property are all issues that affect the deaf community too but, very little is available to support them
  • held a “pop up Shop” in Carlisle twice which attracted media coverage to raise the concerns of the Deaf. We have done several radio (local & regional), tv and press interviews discussing the Covid impact and highlighted the difficulties within the Deaf community
  • co-ordinated and supported a dedicated surgery with Trudy Harrison MP in Whitehaven to enable deaf voters to discuss their issues with their MP – the first of its kind in Cumbria!
  • held our first (post-covid) face to face Basic Sign Language course in Kendal
  • we have delivered deaf awareness courses throughout the year & monthly provide over 200hours of BSL interpretation
  • provided sign language interpretation for corporate information films with Treetop Treks, Natural Cumbria, Heart Valve Voices
  • visited numerous groups, schools, business, charities, clubs and networking events to raise awareness of d/Deaf issues and how to improve accessibility
  • a first for CDA was hosting 3rd year BSL student placements from Heriot Watt
  • with a shortage of fully qualified BSL interpreters, we host regular development days and provide opportunities for trainees, helping them record material for their portfolios
  • to address the skills shortage we are working with colleges across the county to develop an apprenticeship role in health and social care with BSL

Going forward in 2022/23 we plan to further tackle the difficulties the Deaf encounter in social deprivation, family support, improved language and learning and issues of exclusion and isolation – plus have fun, get creative and make new friends! Our goal is to make Cumbria the most deaf aware county in England!