Signing Programme For Deaf Is Saved By Steel Grant

By published 9 April, 2014 No Comments

A unique signing programme that helps deaf children and their families on Teesside has been saved after UK Steel Enterprise’s Community Support Fund stepped in with a £2,500 grant.

Child Deaf Youth Project 3

Sarah Thorpe (left) of UK Steel Enterprise with Sheelin Kilroy and children from the Child Deaf Youth Project.


The money from the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary means that the Signing Sibling programme, run by the Child Deaf Youth Project, based in Middlesbrough, will now be able to continue into a fourth year.

The only programme of its kind in the region, Signing Sibling provides 5 to 14 year olds, who would normally have to wait until they can attend as adults, with a Level 1 British Sign Language course.  It has proved a huge success in improving the quality of life for children who are deaf or hearing impaired and their families.

Sheelin Kilroy, the project’s Manager said:  “Communication is key to helping deaf children develop socially, intellectually and emotionally. Having a sibling who can sign makes a big difference to home life for the child and the family.  Deaf children have complex needs and sometimes one or even both parents are also deaf so that a sibling can be the only hearing person in the household.

“In three years we have seen this programme make a real difference by improving communication, strengthening bonds, boosting confidence and reducing isolation. Private signing tuition is costly and many families just could not afford it.  We are absolutely thrilled with this help from UK Steel Enterprise as the next course would not have gone ahead without it.”

The Child Deaf Youth Project was recently named Tees Valley Club of the Year. It provides youth clubs, educational workshops, holiday activities, a befriender service and school leavers courses.  More than 50 families from across Teesside are linked in to the charity benefitting from the support of specialised staff and tutors.

For Sarah Thorpe, UK Steel Enterprise Regional Executive, this project is particularly close to her heart as she was recently diagnosed with a congenital hearing difficulty.

“I have problems with pitch and tone and am managing well with the help of aids, lip reading and other tactics,” she said, “but I know just how important good communication is.  We are only too pleased to help and make sure this valuable Signing Sibling programme carries on.”

Sheelin Kilroy added: “We are a small charity and fund-raising is not easy so we really appreciate donations from supporters such as UK Steel Enterprise and individuals through our website”.

Details of UK Steel Enterprise’s support for businesses and communities in steel areas is on 01642 777 777 and at Child Deaf Youth project is on 01642 852165 and at www.cdyp.,

Tags: , , Regional News
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