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Services update from Nicholas

I hope everyone had a great April – the first month of the financial year, Easter weekend and ever longer days all contribute to a feeling of renewal and new starts.  

We certainly got off to a strong start once again!

LinkUp Support Groups  

The penultimate weekend of April saw the the return of our LinkUp support group to Northern Ireland. The popular and centrally located Cookstown location hosted its second group in 12 months. 

We welcomed 16 participants which included 10 deafened adults and 6 hearing partners.  

Many thanks to James and Martin for volunteering your weekend and making such a huge difference. It was a smaller than expected peer support group due to last-minute illness, so in fact you did the job of four!  

The initial feedback was terrific and alongside our Central Support Advisor colleagues Holly, Claire, Rachel and Jessie you have once again gone above and beyond. Here is some of the ways the team helped our new cohort of beneficiaries to reconnect with life…

“Well organised covered lots of information and above all boosted my confidence, met lovely people in the same position, knowing I’m not alone in my journey” 

Great to meet up with others and value the journey everyone is on. Leaning from others and sharing ideas.” 

“Would thoroughly recommend. Helps you understand that you are not alone and all about the various methods for coping with hearing loss” 

Absolutely [recommend a LinkUp group] to people who have friends or partners with hearing loss who need to be aware of all aspects of it” 

“Varied and interesting, very helpful and information was also informative for hearing people. Technology and audiology sessions were really useful” 

“Enjoyed so much, being with positive support and confidence building with like-minded people” 

The full dates and locations for 2023-24 have been posted on the website. Do keep a note of these dates.

Once we know the size and profile of the group we’ll be able decide on the right number of volunteers and roles, contributor sessions, training opportunities for new LinkUp volunteers, etc.

Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and ‘like’ and ‘retweet’ these dates at every opportunity.  

Next up is a welcome return to Fife at the end of May which looks to be another fully booked event.

Community outreach sessions

I could copy-paste from every month to mention the excellent drop-in sessions in London and Edinburgh. Huge thanks again to Alison, Elaine, Ann, Margaret and Kirsty for leading on these invaluable community sessions.  

This month’s Edinburgh session was busy with nine people coming up to the stand. These are often detailed and complex conversations as Ann reported.

Just one person who engaged a conversation went away knowing:

“How the features on her hearing aids worked as well as how to pair them to her phone. She also learned why it was important to build-up to wearing them all the time. We covered making and answering a phone call via Bluetooth, she learned about our Hearing Link and local services, and lots more hearing related stuff she had questions about, including tinnitus”. 

Ann, Peer Support volunteer

Peer support volunteer Kirsty also gave some valuable information on a local self-management course she recently completed.  

Finally, by using our safe and secure Hello2 app, the volunteers were able to refer the visitor directly to Advisors in the Central Support team for a follow up enquiry for the next LinkUp groups… 

That was just one conversation….Great work! 

Community Days

And we’re off!  

Really pleased to say that the first Community Day has taken place. We kicked off in South Hampshire and our community support colleague Lucy did a great job alongside Steve and Chris our peer support volunteers on the south coast. 

A great event by all accounts that included representation from local Amplifon hearing care centres and the local Hampshire Constabulary PLOD. If you are If you are unfamiliar with this Police Service, their role is: 

Of police officers and staff who act as police link officers for deaf people (PLOD) and are available for advice and information and 

  • hold qualifications in British Sign Language  
  • use their skills to assist in enquiries
  • provide advice and information  
  • don’t provide interpreting for evidential procedures 

The dates and venues for this year’s Community Days are all on the website

We are running training for all interested volunteers. We are inviting volunteers quarter by quarter, so we’ll be running sessions for June community days and beyond next.  

Helpful Hours

We are in the final test-phase before going live with this service!  

We will be advertising three dates in the next couple of weeks to test which day and time of the day might be viable. Therefore, we’ll have one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. 

We’ll advertise the dates on general teams channel, so do start looking for news and updates there.  

We’d love you to join us to discover the service, give your feedback and once we launch, maybe consider becoming a presenter for the Helpful Hour.