Zebra Access, a local charity based in Wolverhampton has secured funding from the Big Lottery Fund to develop services for deaf people. This new project will address the main needs of deaf people in Wolverhampton by providing appropriate access to information and services.
Despite Wolverhampton being home to a large community of deaf people, there is no 'helpline' or Community Centre where they can raise their issues. This negatively impacts upon the local Deaf Community and can lead to a number of wider issues such as, social exclusion, isolation, low self-esteem and low educational achievements as well a lack of employment opportunities.
Due to this, there is a demand for a community hub where service users can go to discuss their issues, be signposted to appropriate services and be supported in their preferred communication method (i.e. British Sign Language, sign supported English, lip-reading etc.) The project will also develop an accessible society to meet the communication needs of deaf people by offering community and youth development, advocacy and communication awareness services.
Chris Beech, Project Development and Training Officer said, "Being awarded this funding has given deaf people and communities a lifeline in this time of austerity, which has seen many provisions and services disappear over the past few years. This is a great opportunity to provide support to deaf people and the local community, and will allow them to overcome any barriers. This project is driven by deaf people and communities and we would like to thank the Big Lottery Fund for giving us this opportunity."
Zebra Access, a Deaf-led charity founded in 2005, is dedicated to ensuring that all deaf people enjoy equal participation and access to services and opportunities without communication barriers. The charity's vision is to give deaf people better chances in life by providing a range of accessible activities such as training and workshops with the provision of support, education and advice.