It’s Not All Bad! – News from Sign and Share

We are delighted to have received this newsletter from SHIRLEY DAVID. Sign and Share Club was originally set up in 2013 to relieve the needs of deaf people and encourage the use of British Sign Language. It became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in February 2018...

Like most other people, I thought that when we went into lockdown back in March 2020, we would soon be back to normal. I was wrong! A year later and we are still coping with the changes to rules and the uncertainty about the future. 

As a club we quickly adapted to the change. We worked from home, changed to online meetings, purchased PPE, and wrote new risk assessments. There have been frustrations getting used to new technology (Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime, FaceBook Messenger etc…) but there have also been some unexpected joys. 

Zoom tea party with Sign and Share

One client of ours has been unable to attend our face-to-face meetings for a long time due to agoraphobia developed after illness. She has been to our online meetings and taken part in events such as craft activities, bingo sessions and a tea party. It is great to see her back and I know she has enjoyed seeing her friends again.

Other, new, members have joined us while on furlough. They would normally not be able to attend our meetings as they usually take place during working hours. 

We have also used video link, emails, letters and telephone calls to keep in touch and reduce loneliness and isolation. This has identified needs that we might not otherwise of been aware of. When needed, we have referred people to appropriate agencies to sort out issues, e.g. problems with benefits, mental health concerns and carer needs.

I am immensely proud of our team of Deaf Community – Support Workers (Sam Dowler, Ceri Phillips and Sarah Hope) and our volunteer Linda Rawlinson, who are all trained by audiology to do hearing aid tube replacement and cleaning. They continued to do repairs throughout the pandemic. We provide this service to those who cannot go to audiology and need a home visit. During the lockdown audiology was closed. Replacement tubing was being sent out on request but there are a lot of people who cannot do the repair themselves. We adopted a Covid-secure method of working to ensure proper distancing and hygiene safeguards, and have seen our referrals rise by 25% on the previous year to 187 repairs (April 2020 to March 2021).

We are now looking forward to the coming summer and planning to resume our trips but will initially focus on outdoor activities. We plan to visit Manorbier Castle on 4 June, to go trekking with llamas on 9 July, visit St Davids and Whitesand Bay on 13 August and, all being well with the vaccine rollout and infection rates, to go on a steam train trip on 4 September. The September trip will be on a Saturday, so our new working members can join in. If you are d/Deaf or hard of hearing and wish to join us please contact Ceri Phillips on 07378 61181. We have not, as yet, agreed dates to open our Hard of Hearing clubs (in Pembroke, Fishguard and Narberth) but details will be posted on our website www.signandshare.org.uk when dates are confirmed, or you can contact Ceri to express interest.

Email: signandshareclub@outlook.com

Text, phone or use Relay UK 07378 611181

Write to the Sign and Share Club at:

17 Milton Meadows, Milton, Nr Tenby, Pembrokeshire SA70 8PL

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for pembrokeshire.online, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says "Pembrokeshire.online has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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