LinkUp support groups

We know how daunting it can be when you experience changes in your hearing. That’s why we created our free LinkUp support groups that have been designed by people with lived experience of hearing loss, for others with hearing loss and their families and friends.

Our LinkUp support groups are delivered in person for groups of up to 16 people. They take place in a residential setting – either at a charity site or hotel.

The aim of our support groups is simple. They are a chance to explore the challenges of living with hearing loss, share solutions and find out about technology or equipment that can make life a little bit easier.

Support advisor, May, offers an insight to our free support groups

Who benefits from attending a LinkUp support group?

LinkUp support groups will be of interest to anyone whose life has been affected by hearing loss. This includes anyone whose hearing has deteriorated to the point where it is causing them difficulties.

They also include relatives, partners, or friends of someone with hearing loss, because we know that hearing loss in the family, affects all family members, and everyone needs support to find a new way forward.

For this reason, we encourage participants to sign-up as a pair. The programme offers everyone the opportunity to explore their own challenges, and to understand better each other’s perspective.

It is of benefit for those with recent hearing loss; but also, for those who have lived with hearing loss for many years or longer.

How long does a LinkUp support group last?

Most LinkUp support groups are run over a weekend to make sure those with employment commitments can access them. Participants normally arrive on a Friday evening to begin to get to know each other. Formal sessions begin on Saturday morning and run throughout the day, concluding with a shared meal in the evening. Work continues Sunday morning and will finish just after lunchtime to allow for return travel.

How does communication work?

During group sessions, we provide an excellent working hearing loop and speech to text support (whereby everything that is said is typed in real-time and displayed on a screen) so that everyone can follow everything that has been said.

During the break times, we use the opportunity to practise some of the communication strategies that will have been discussed during the sessions. The most important thing to remember is that everyone is in the same boat, so everyone understands and looks out for each other.

Many participants arrive feeling deeply anxious that they will be left out of the conversation, just like the situation in their everyday life. It doesn’t take long before they realise that this is one place where good communication is practised, and all are included.

How much does it cost?

Currently, we make no charge for participating in a LinkUp support group and we cover the costs of accommodation, meals and refreshments from arrival to departure thanks to the generosity of voluntary donations and funding from grant providers.

We do not cover the cost of transport to and from the LinkUp support group, but if this would prevent someone from attending who really needs this help we will always consider options.

Where and when are LinkUp support groups held?

LinkUp support groups take place in every country of the UK – England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. We are offering 10 dates in 2024-25.

There are only a limited number of places available at each group, so registering your interest to attend is essential. If our events are fully booked when you enquire, we will add your name to our waiting list and provide you with an estimated timeline of when you will be able to attend a group.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to use our LiveChat or contact our Helpdesk.

How do I apply for a LinkUp support group?

To register your interest, please complete this short form and we will get in touch with you soon. Please make sure you select the country of residence so we can allocate your enquiry to the right place. If you would like to know more before starting the application process, you can contact us via our Helpdesk.

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