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Posts Tagged ‘#DAWrolemodels2019 #DAW’

15 MayA Message of thanks ….

From our Chair, Craig Crowley


09 MayDeaf Awareness Week Role Models

SignHealth celebrates their role model today, Marie Vickers.

The Marie Vickers Story

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Marie Vickers and the DeafHope Team

The Domestic Abuse team is a mixture of service manager, senior IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Adviser), 3 IDVAs, outreach workers, 3 prevention officers, children and family’s workers and admin coordinators. We’re such a diverse group, we are a completely women led team and predominantly a Deaf lead team, we have a hearing administrator, who is fluent in BSL.

Our typical working day is extremely varied, the Service Manager and Senior IDVA are responsible for receiving referrals and contacting women at risk to offer support, they would then allocate the right support, which is where the IDVAs and outreach workers would go out and meet the clients and offer support, making sure that the risk of harm is reduced.

Our Young Deaf Hope team focuses on providing workshops at schools, colleges, drop in centres and many other places to raise awareness for young Deaf people about cyber bullying, sexting, grooming and many other topics.

Our Children and Families workers focus on support Deaf mothers and their children to have a healthy relationship, working with social services and any relevant departments.

Every day is completely different for all our staff members – day to day our staff members could be at court, a conference, a training course, at the police station, at a social services meeting, at a school providing training the list goes on and on!

The biggest challenge we face on a daily basis is barriers due to communication. There has been countless occasions where an interpreter hasn’t been booked for a police interview or court case which has in turn resulted in our staff having to reassure the client. When a client has been suffering with domestic abuse, they sometimes need to go to a ‘refuge’ as they are not safe at home, we have had many cases where a refuge will refuse to accept a deaf women, because they don’t know how to communicate with them. This is by far the biggest challenge we face, until awareness is raised our clients suffer in the system.

Seeing our clients leave an abusive relationship with our support is the biggest highlight for us. We’ve received cards and presents thanking us for our support in helping our clients through such a difficult time. We have also been rewarded for our service from The Charity Of The Year awards and The Emma Humphreys memorial prize, we have also been nominated for National Diversity Awards this month (please vote for us!), which means people are becoming more and more aware of how important our role is within the Domestic Abuse sector.

We fight daily for Deaf awareness in the domestic abuse sector, there needs to be more awareness for Deaf women who have experienced domestic abuse to feel more supported and heard. Deaf Awareness Week is a great way for organisations to provide training!

We are very proud to be a part of SignHealth’s mission to become a national service. We are part of a diverse, deaf led organisation who is passionate about improving mental health services for Deaf people.

08 MayDeaf Awareness Week Role Models

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SignHealth celebrates their role model today, Marlene Wilson.

The Marlene Wilson Story

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My name is Marlene and I grew up in a hearing family. I only remember meeting deaf peers and engaging with the community from when I was 19 years old and at college. I didn’t know any sign language then so had to learn from my new friends. I started as a bank support worker at a 24-hour care home in Tooting where I was supporting clients with the home. I’ve been in my new role for almost four years, working for the outreach support service, supporting clients in Huron Road.  A typical day will start with me coming into the office to check if I have any new emails or if there are any reports to be completed. I’ll then head to see the clients at Huron Road. Here I will check they have taken their medication, support them with any letters they’ve received or appointments they have coming up and I take time to chat to them before they go out.

I would describe my core role to be to support the client’s wellbeing. This involves several activities including assisting them to attend the GP, holding housing meetings, encouraging them to take part in activities as well as attending Springfield hospital for regular meetings with their CPN.

When I first started working as a support worker, one client who’s lived in supported living for 25 years has always been reluctant to socialise with peers but with our support and understanding, she finally started attending deaf club for the bingo which has been a real success for her well-being.

There have been many clients who I have supported and seen a real change in their circumstances. For example, one client I supported now goes to volunteer gardening and this made them much more motivated and was rewarding to see. Another client I worked with was quite low and anxious but after many emails to the housing association, we managed to get her the pet she wanted to brighten her day. She’s much happier now as her new cat became a sort of therapy to help her mental health.

I’m proud of my deaf identity and it’s nice to see the community get a bigger profile during Deaf Awareness Week. It’s wonderful to see children able to look up to deaf role models and learning more about sign language.

I think SignHealth has changed for the better over the years and it’s great to see the new head office bringing people together and encouraging team working.

To find out more about what we do, or to get involved, please visit

07 MayDeaf Awareness Week

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Today SignHealth are celebrating Role Model’s during Deaf Awareness week – see today’s Vlog from Dr Emma Ferguson-Coleman, Trustee of SignHealth

Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Dr Emma Ferguson-Coleman. I work at the University of Manchester where I carry out research with deaf people who have dementia and their families. I’ve worked at the university for 9 years doing research that includes asking questions of the deaf community and deaf people with dementia about their experiences. I have also explored what happens in their life after diagnosis, the care and support they received – the deaf person with dementia, but also for the carers. Every day is different and varied. I have quite a variety of responsibilities that I undertake in the course of my work. One day I could be working with the deaf community, and providing information about dementia, another day I could be writing a reports for funding to support the work that I do, and on another day I would be writing an article for a mainstream journal about the Deaf Community’s experiences of living with dementia.

I do experience challenges in the work that I do; one challenge thinking about the way that I present my information so that it’s clear. Another is how to ensure that mainstream providers support carers, while at the same time having an understanding about deaf issues, to ensure that they meet the needs of the deaf community. I’ve attained many personal achievements through this work that I do. The biggest achievement was receiving my PhD in 2016. My thesis was on The Deaf Community’s experiences living with dementia. My thesis wouldn’t have been completed without deaf people telling me their experiences and their stories of living with dementia. So, I really appreciate all the deaf people that have contributed to my thesis, and my achieving my PHD.

I believe Deaf Awareness Week is amazing opportunity to understand more about deaf people. They can range from people with hearing loss to sign language users; there’s a wide variety of deafness, and sign language users. Sign language users are respected and valued citizens of the UK and the world. Recognition of this group is really important, so Deaf Awareness Week gives us the opportunity to promote information about this important message.

The charity SignHealth is a unique charity in the deaf world and I’m very proud to be a trustee of SignHealth, which meet specific needs of deaf people who have a number of mental health issues, go through domestic violence, and deaf people who have residential care needs. SignHealth delivers excellent services to meet the needs of this group of people. Without SignHealth many deaf people would be isolated, not receive support, and not have their needs met in their own language their culture and with dignity. SignHealth is truly an amazing charity.

To find out more about what we do, or to get involved, please visit
For information about SignHealth therapy service get in touch:

Call: 014946 87606
SMS: 07966 976747