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Caithness News Bulletins February 2004

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Health & Welfare Health Links Caithness Deaf Care
Deaf Communication Project Appoints New Manager 18 February 04

A project to improve communication between deaf and hearing people in Highland appointed a new Manager, Jenny Liddell, on 19th January 2004, to take the project into its next development phase.

The Deaf Communication Project, which is jointly funded by the European Social Fund, Highland Council and NHS Highland, has been providing courses in sign language, lip-reading and other communication skills since 1997 and is building up a staff of experienced deaf tutors.

The new Deaf Communication Project Manager hopes to further expand the range of training on offer and to develop new services to assist people who need hearing support.   Ms Liddell is a graduate in Communications and will draw on her background in marketing, PR and fundraising to develop the project.

John Gill, Team Manager with Social Work's Deaf Services and Hearing Support Team, Jenny Liddell,
Project Manager and Sandy Riddell, Head of Operations with Social Work Services.

She said: "Over the last eight years, the Deaf Communication Project has assisted scores of people to become more aware of deaf issues and to learn tactics which can make communicating with a deaf person easier.  I want to build on this solid foundation.  1 in 7 people in Highland are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or deafblind, so the number of hearing people who can communicate, even at a basic level, needs to keep increasing."

"The Disability Discrimination Act, which comes into full force in October this year, presents an excellent opportunity for the Deaf Communication Project to meet with businesses and other service providers to promote deaf awareness and communication.  The Project can help people understand their obligations under the Act in general, and towards deaf people in particular. 'Deaf Awareness' training courses are running now and courses on the Act will be available shortly through the Project."

Sandy Riddell, Head of Operations with Social Work Services said: "This summer will see deaf issues and sign language brought to the fore in the Highlands.  The British Deaf Association, which exists to promote the rights of deaf people and the use of British Sign Language, has decided to hold its national conference at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, between 21-25 July 2004.

"The Highland Council is also working closely with a wide range of partners to develop a single strategy for sensory needs which should result in a more coordinated and seamless approach to the public. This developing project will play a key role in this".

Jenny continued: "Over 500 deaf people and their families will visit the Highland capital for this year's conference, and will, of course, be using shops, hotels and other facilities.  The Highlands has a reputation for hospitality, so it would be great if people in these outlets got on the phone now to arrange for some training in basic sign language and deaf awareness, in preparation for the conference."

Anyone who would like further information about the range of courses offered by the Deaf Communication Project or who is interested in learning or teaching Deaf Awareness, Sign Language or Communication Tactics courses, should contact Jenny Liddell on tel: 01349 865418; textphone: 08457 023763; mobile text :07765 898689 or fax: 01349 864438)