Deafness charity goes virtual after grant boost

A charity which helps deaf people across Halton and St Helens has been able to stay in touch with users after receiving emergency funding.

The Deafness Resource Centre dates back to 1928 when St Helens and District Society for Deaf People was launched and now helps 3,000 a year.

Like so many other charities they were hit with a double whammy from Covid-19 of cashflow problems and having to stop face-to-face contact because of the rules on social distancing.

However after being awarded £9,615 from the Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund they’ve been able to stay in touch with their users remotely and plug some of financial shortfall.

The charity has previously received £56,766 from the Foundation.

Chief officer Helen Fitzgerald said: “We support people who have hearing loss or are profoundly deaf. We work with people of all ages and it shouldn’t be under-estimated what sort of impact deafness has on people’s lives.

“Not being able to communicate causes problems of isolation and for those people living on their own the combination of their deafness and Covid-19 just creates another barrier.”

Helen said the Deafness Resource Centre, which changed its name after becoming an incorporated charity in 2009, had to react quickly when the pandemic hit.

“Most of the staff were funded through grants or service level agreements,” she said. “We hold service contracts with St Helens Council and Halton Council and work with a number of other partners including NHS England.

“Covid-19 affected our ability to raise money. The £9,500 we received from the Steve Morgan Foundation has offset some of that loss and allowed us to stay in touch with our users remotely.

“Although we can’t run the face-to-face support groups or go into people’s home we have been able to maintain a good level of service during these tough times.”

Steve Morgan, founder of the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “It’s so important that charities like the Deafness Resource Centre are able to stay in touch with their users during Covid-19 because many of them are already suffering with feelings of isolation.”

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