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Manchester Deaf Centre Leads Pilot Deaf Volunteer Health Project across Greater Manchester

27 Feb 2013 - 10:05 by michelle.foster

Greater Manchester’s largest Deaf Charity, Manchester Deaf Centre is gearing up to empower its D/deaf members to influence local health and social care provision.

The three year project, which is managed by national healthcare charity, SignHealth has been made available following a grant of £592,000 from the Department of Health’s Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund (HSCVF).

The project aims to improve personal experience, equality of access, and choice over health care for deaf people, particularly sign language users. Manchester Deaf Centre will train and support a team of D/deaf volunteers. Each person will make positive changes to the way in which health and social care services are delivered to Deaf people.

Partners involved in the pioneering North West project are UK Council on Deafness, Sign Health, Manchester Deaf Centre, Merseyside Society for Deaf People and Deaf Vision Cumbria.

Volunteers will fulfil a variety of roles including; running self help groups, advocating in local hospitals, befriending socially isolated D/deaf people or running themed health events. Other volunteers will be trained to represent Deaf communities on local Healthwatch Boards and Forums.

Deaf people experience many barriers when accessing mainstream services, particularly in relation to healthcare. Deaf Health Champions will give Deaf people the skills and confidence to work with providers and address these barriers.

Noel Traynor, Chief Executive at Manchester Deaf Centre comments: “We are delighted to be involved in such an important project. With the introduction of Healthwatch and the new national NHS structure, this is the perfect time to engage Deaf people.”

“Our members and the wider Deaf community have a great deal of knowledge and ideas to share. We are looking forward to working with partners throughout Greater Manchester in ensuring all D/deaf people have a voice.”

Organisations and individuals wishing to get more information can contact Joanne Slater, Project Manager at Manchester Deaf Centre, on 0161 273 3415, or email: jslater@deafhealthchampions.org.uk

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