AGM 2022 (Reporting on 2021 finance and activities)

40th IDS Annual General Meeting (AGM) — Thursday, June 9th, 7pm, 2022

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Or download the meeting documents:

How to register for the AGM online and how to use Zoom in the meeting

31/05/2022 - Reminder to members deadline for Ordinary Resolutions (7 days before AGM)

Read the English text of this video:

We are looking forward to seeing you at our AGM. You must register online before the meeting to receive the Zoom Webinar link. This is an extra step but it is really helpful for us and will allow us to start the meeting without any delays. Please make sure to register as soon as possible so that you receive the meeting link.

In this video you will find:

• Instructions about How to register online and get the AGM meeting link
• Some notes about how the meeting will be managed
• Some general information about using Zoom

1) How to register online and get the AGM meeting link

Step 1 – Members will receive an email with a link under the video.

Step 2 – Fill out the online form with your name and email address.

Step 3 – The Zoom system will send you an email with the meeting link.

Anyone who registers but is not a member yet will receive an email asking them to renew their membership.

2) Notes about the meeting

Members can ask questions during the meeting after the CEO report and the financial report. If you have AOB you must inform the Chairperson at the start of the meeting. All questions must be relevant to the business of the AGM or they will not be allowed.

If you have questions for the board or CEO you can email them to us in advance, that will help us to prepare answers for you.

Members who have renewed this year should already have received a link to a webpage with the Agenda, the Annual Report including Financial Statements and the minutes from our AGM last year. If you have not received the link this could be due to an email error, please let us know and we will send them to you again straight away – email membership@irishdeafsociety.ie.

The meeting will be live-streamed on Facebook for non-members to observe.

Based on our constitution only “Ordinary Members” are entitled to vote on motions.

3) Using Zoom at the meeting

You’ll need a computer, phone or tablet. Please make sure that you do not join the meeting on more than one device yourself. Please note that you will have a better experience using a laptop or computer as the screen size on phones and tablets is very small.

  • In order to vote each member must use a separate device (computer, phone or tablet). If two people use one device only one person will be able to vote.
  • If you are using the Zoom app installed on your PC you can check if you are using the latest version by clicking your profile picture in Zoom and clicking “Check for Updates”
  • Please do not share your AGM login details with anyone else. Only members can attend the Zoom AGM meeting. Non-member observers can view a livestream of the meeting on our Facebook page.

When you join the meeting

  • Please make sure your display name in Zoom is your own full name (not a relative or friend)
  • You will be asked to give your consent to the meeting being recorded on Zoom (for internal IDS purposes including writing minutes) and agreeing to the livestream on Facebook. The livestream will be for the full meeting including AOB.
  • This process to confirm identities will take some time at the beginning of the meeting so we thank you in advance for your patience.

Members Questions

  • To ask a question members must click “raise hand” button. The chairperson will select people from this list and ask each person one at a time to turn on their video and ask their question.
  • If you are making comments or asking questions please do not use people’s names to protect members privacy

How voting will work on Zoom

  • When it is time to vote a box will pop up on your screen and ask you to vote yes or no.
  • You will click your choice for voting and then “submit”. You will have 2 minutes to do this and then voting closes.
  • This year voting is managed by the Zoom system by IDS staff, members will vote by clicking a box on the screen and the system will calculate the results. For this reason there is no need for tellers.

Thank you for your co-operation and we are looking forward to seeing you at the meeting.

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Information about Motions, Director Nominations and Deadlines

Introducing Lynn Cullen asking for you vote to join the Board of Directors

We have received one nomination for new director, that is Lynn Cullen. Here is Lynn introducing herself with some information about her background. We are asking you to vote “yes” to elect her to the board. Read  more about Lynn below.

Lynn holds a BSc(Hons) in Computer Science (UCD, 2006) & a post-graduate diploma in Education (TCD, 2007). She is also a qualified Teacher of the Deaf (University of Birmingham, 2011). Lynn has previously taught in both St. Mary's & St. Joseph's schools for the Deaf in Maths, Science & IT. Lynn has since left her teaching career in 2013, where she now works with Diona, a software company, where its motto is 'We help government help people.' Diona provides innovative solutions and consulting services for Health and Human Services agencies around the world.

Lynn has served as chairperson for Leinster Deaf Sports (2015-2017) as well as various roles within the committee; Secretary & Ladies Football Manager. Lynn also served on Deaf Sports Ireland as part of the executive committee due to her role as LDS's chairperson/secretary, as well as the Ladies Futsal director role (2006-2009). Lynn is currently part of the IDS Digital Education committee, where she provides some of her expertise in both teaching and information technology for the IDS Further Education & Training.

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information about types of motions at an AGM, Electing Directors and Deadlines

Read the English text of this video:

There are 3 types of motions (resolutions) members can send to our AGM and the have different deadlines:

  • Special resolutions: This is a resolution that changes the constitution of IDS or to change our name. The deadline for this is 21 days before the AGM which is 18th May.
  • Ordinary resolution: Examples of an ordinary resolution include motions about Directors elections or removing a Director. The deadline for ordinary resolutions is 7 days before the AGM which is 2nd June this year.
  • Nomination of Director: Members can nominate Directors for election, these nominations must be approved by the board. Nominations can be received up to 3 days before the AGM, this year that deadline is Monday 5th June.

Download AGM Motion form 2022 (PDF)

A note about Electing Directors:

When Directors serve on the board they serve for a 3 year term. After Directors have finished a 3 year term they retire, this creates vacancies for new Directors. The retiring directors can decide if they would like to put their name forward for another term of 3 years.

If there are no new Director nominations from members to compete for vacancies then retiring Directors can serve a new term with no need to be elected again. If there are more nominations than vacancies it means all candidates, new nominations and retiring Directors must compete for vacancies and be elected by members.

This year 4 Directors are finishing a 3 year term, Lianne Quigley, John Bosco Conama, Aidan McArdle and Mary Stringer. The board can have up to 8 Directors and currently we have 7 Directors. There are 4 Directors retiring and 1 other space that means there are 5 vacancies for Directors this year.

Deadlines

The deadlines for resolutions are from our constitution, but we ask members not to wait until the deadlines to submit motions or nominations as it leaves us with a small amount of time to send information about them out to members. If you wish to submit a motion, nominate a Director or send us feedback, please do it as soon as possible so that we have more time to pass on information to our members.

Motions must be relevant to the business of the AGM – that means discussion of the Annual Report, Audited Financial Accounts, the election of Directors, appointment of an auditor and changes to the Memorandum and Articles of Association. If your proposed motion or nomination is not suitable for the AGM we will contact you with an explanation and how we can support you to respond to your concerns.

You can download the nomination form from our website, or email membership@irishdeafsociety.ie or ISL/text 086 380 7033 and we will send a form to you.

If you have a general suggestion about how IDS is managed, feedback or a complaint please email it to feedback@irishdeafsociety.ie or ISL/text the IDS phone number.

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Annual Report 2021

The series of videos below contains the Chairpersons Address, CEO Report, Department Manager Reports and Financial Controller Report.


Chairpersons Address

Lianne Quigley, Chairperson

Read the English text of this video:

Dear Members, 2021 was an another year of the global pandemic – Covid 19 for all of us.
I am proud of everyone in IDS has worked very hard to continue services remotely and continue to provide ISL information for the Deaf community. I would like to thank all staff and volunteers for their hard work.

I mentioned last year in my chairperson address that the IDS board and CEO worked very hard to develop a new IDS constitution. I am delighted that the members have approved the new constitution at our EGM in March 2021. I would like to thank our members who approved this new constitution. I also would like to thank our Board, CEO and the ISL translation team for their hard work on this new constitution.

Irish Deaf Society marked its 40th anniversary on 13th January 2021. Looking back IDS has achieved many things with many milestones over the last 40 years. I would like to thank all the people who wer involved in our campaigns, advocacy and organised events for their hard work past during last 40 years. Happy 40th Birthday IDS! We are looking forward to the next 40 years!

The implementation of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 was reviewed in 2021 by the National Disability Authority. They are preparing a report following several consultations and surveys, the report is not yet published. We hope that this report will encourage public bodies to take action to deliver on their responsibilities described in the ISL ACT.

IDS is recognised as a DPO (Disabled Persons Organisation) and in 2021, as a member of the DPO Coalition, we worked with other Irish DPOs to develop a Shadow Report for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the Irish Government. The Government has published its own draft report to the UN, however the final report from the Government will be delayed because of a backlog in the UN reviews of reports due to the pandemic – COVID 19.

In 2021 IDS was involved in Disability Consultation Participation Network (DCPN) and attended many consultations and meetings about CRPD. In October 2021 IDS was invited by the Oireachtas Joint committee on Disability Matters to give witness statements on issues that affect the Deaf community including the implementation of the ISL Act and topics such as participation in public and cultural life.

An important historic milestone for the Deaf community in Autumn 2021 – 23 students from Centre for Deaf Studies had graduated to become Deaf interpreters after one year course online. The program was jointly funded by SLIS and CIB. I wish them all the best of luck for their future in the interpreting field.

Two important events for IDS annually are the ISL awareness week (September 2021) and National ISL day (14th December). I would like to thank all staff and volunteers and who worked hard on these two events despite the pandemic. They organised virtual events such as vlogs, interview videos and promoted them to raise awareness via our social media platforms.

In early 2022 we saw the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, we in the IDS are concerned about the rights and welfare of Deaf people in regions of conflict throughout the world, particularly now for Deaf Ukrainian refuges and we are working hard to make sure to welcome Ukrainian Deaf people to Ireland and offer their supports and make sure they have access to information.

Thank you to all of our board, staff, volunteers, IDS members of the Deaf community for your hard work in keeping IDS strong and steady for 40 years! We hope that IDS will continue to work for the community for another 40 years!

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CEO Report

John Sherwin, CEO

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2021 was another difficult year with Covid-19 pandemic and it was disappointing to start the year again in lockdown. However, the IDS team worked hard and managed to have a positive year in terms of our finances, our growth and maintaining our services.

In the previous year we had managed the transition to have all staff work productively from home and to transform our education and advocacy services into remote services. In 2021 we continued to work remotely and would do so for the entire year.

In 2021 Covid-19 effected many people in the Deaf community and IDS continued to liaise with Government authorities and the HSE to improve accessibility and communications about pandemic health services.

Our financial position was stable in 2021 and we continued to receive significant support from the Government for charity organisations. Our fundraising income was down but our grant aid for our services and projects increased and we had a surplus at the end of the year which helps us to build our reserves and plan new work.

In January we were informed we were successful in our application to Pobal under the Dormant Accounts Fund – “Access to Employment (incl. self-employment) and Training/Education for Persons with a Disability”. The funding for this project is almost €200k over 18 months and funds our “Deaf Careers Project” which runs from 2020 to 2021. We also increased our funding from Solas for our Further Education Department (FET).

The senior staff in FET and Advocacy had significant goals in 2021. The education team worked hard throughout the year to update our quality assurance processes in preparation for our assessment by QQI in 2022 to ensure we meet their requirements to allow us to validate and deliver new QQI accredited courses. We continued to manage and improve our online courses and the Advocacy Department delivered remote services and got our Deaf Careers Project up and running.

In 2021 IDS hired new staff to work on our projects and expanding our services. Recruiting remotely was challenging but it also presented new opportunities with IDS hiring staff who lived outside Dublin for the first time.

At the end of 2021 we developed a staged plan to return to our offices in the Thomas Mahon Building in 2022. IDS will continue to work and manage staff working remotely and in our offices.

I would like to thank all of our staff, teachers, tutors and partners in the Deaf community for the huge effort they all went to in 2021. It was a very interesting year and IDS developed new projects and expanded our funding and services. Our growth over the last two years is a tremendous achievement and we hope to continue to grow and to expand our campaigns for Deaf rights and access in the coming years.

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Advocacy Department Report

Elaine Grehan, Advocacy Manager

Advocacy Report Part 1: Advocacy and Representation

Advocacy Report Part 2: Events

Advocacy Report Part 2: Projects

Read the English text of these videos:

Overall, 2021 continued to be a challenge with Covid-19 and was extremely busy carrying out a variety of projects, assisting clients and representing the Deaf community in many different meetings and groups. In 2021 we welcomed David Somers to the Advocacy team as a full-time permanent role of Community and Communication Officer. His role will include work in our new Deaf Career Project, as well as it also being a communication role.

Our Advocacy team work with clients to ensure they have access to information and services in ISL. We support Clients daily, through a variety of communication means. Due to the pandemic, our drop-in centre is not in operating, and we have moved our services to online only. This has resulted in a slight drop in number of clients. In 2021, we had an average of 63 clients per month. We also developed a new Client recording system, which allows us to keep track of common topics that clients require further support in. This benefits us when applying for funding.

Representation

We have worked with many groups within the Deaf community to ensure that the voice of our members is heard and considered. An example of these groups are as follows:
HUB Sub-Group led by DVI: This group is made up of representatives of all organisations to develop a plan to renovate the HUB and Atrium area.

CISLI Steering Committee Meeting: During the year this group provided feedback about the voucher system and awareness of RISLI within public services.

ISL Act Cross Community Group: IDS leads this group of National Deaf community organisations. The purpose of the group is to coordinate Deaf community activity to campaign for the full commencement and implementation of the ISL Act 2017. The group will monitor the State’s progress in delivering on its responsibilities under the Act and campaign to have those responsibilities fully met.

CIDP (Reach Deaf Services) Rebranding: CIDP invited many organisations, including the IDS, to be on a steering committee to give Deaf feedback about their change of name and rebranding project.

Advocacy Service in St Joseph’s House, Stillorgan: IDS consulted on the process of residents moving out of St Joseph’s House and residential home options for Deaf People. The advisory group ceased in August 2021 and St Joseph’s House been closed permanently on 31st October 2021.
RISLI – Register Irish Sign Language Interpreters led by CIB: IDS was a member of the selection committee to review expressions of interest for the Registration Panel Membership.

Women with Disabilities Focus Group in collaboration with National Deaf Women Group: This group focused on the issues of women and disabilities in order for the National Council for Deaf women to compile a report on UNCRPD and DPO Consultations.

We have also been involved in many advisory groups, steering groups or focus groups organised by public bodies and some at a government level.

NDIS – National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021 led by CIB: Reporting and feedback on the development of RISLI and the IRIS App, IRIS and the Voucher System.

HSE Partners Meeting - Covid 19 Vaccine Community Network: The HSE updates the community via virtual zoom meeting every two weeks.

ISL Act 2017 Advisory Committee led by NDA: Steering group working with NDA to prepare the report to the Minister for Children, Equality Disability Integrations and Youth Government on the Operation of the ISL Act 2017.

Disability Stakeholders Group: IDS is a member of the Disability Stakeholder Group 6 for a three-year term which will commence on 1st January 2022. DSG members working in partnership with government departments to develop, support and monitor the ongoing implementation of the Strategy.

IHREC Deaf Access Project: IDS is a member on an advisory group focused on the project “Deaf Access and Awareness Guide for Public Sector Bodies” led by Dr Gill Harold from UCC and their project partners Cork Deaf Association and Kerry Deaf Resource Centre.

Justisigns 2 Project: IDS was a member of the advisory groups – the purpose of the meeting is to follow up with the updates of the project which focus on the investigation of the experiences of gender-based violence (GBV) and their interactions with victim/survivor support services.

Department Consultative Committee Advisory Group: This group was led by the Department of Environment Climate and Communication (DECC). The purpose of the meeting is to have responsibilities for implementing actions outlined in the National Disability Inclusion Strategy where DECC and/or its agencies have a role. IDS was a member of one of the advisory groups and we aimed to work with and engage with Departmental officials and to monitor the implementation of the NDIS. The different topics covered Web Accessibility Directive/Telecom Policy, Emergency Text service, European Electronic Communication Code and Irish Text Relay Service

Disabled Persons Organisation Coalition (DPO Coalition) & Disability Consultation Participation Network (DCPN): Even though these are different projects, they are related. IDS was involved in both focus groups, working with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. The Groups aim was to provide feedback on their report “Participation and Consultation Network” and also to produce our own “Shadow Report” as well as discussing many different topics in the meetings.

NDIS Project Steering Group and IRIS Steering Group Steering Group for IRIS App led by CIB and SLIS: IDS is a representative in the three groups which aim to discuss the voucher pilot scheme, IRIS (Irish Remote Interpreting Service), Pilot Scheme for the IRIS (Djanah) App, and RISLI.

RTE Access Service Meeting: The RTE team presented information about the 2020 BAI targets for subtitling and ISL, the targets were exceeded on RTE One, RTE 2 and RTEjr. They noted that there was a lack of live sporting events in 2020 due to the pandemic which put enormous pressure on the team to create more pre-prepared subtitles. The RTE team are aware of problems with the quality of subtitles depending on the different platforms – they agreed to investigate this. On the RTE Player, the need to register to access any ISL programmes has been removed.

Government Submissions: IDS took part in many consultations held by the Government and compiled a number of submissions on many different topics focused on human rights and equality issues that Deaf people experience. We collected feedback from the Deaf community on these topics. Some submissions include the following:

  • Department of Transport Tourism and Sport “Towards the Review of Sustainable Mobility Policy “
  • IHREC Strategy Statement 2022-2024
  • Consultation Public Consultation on Draft Legislation to Update the Mental Health Act, 2001

Events

IDS 40th Anniversary and National ISL Day: 14th January 2021 marked the 40th Anniversary of the Irish Deaf Society. We produced 5 ISL Videos looking at events that occurred over the 40-year timeline, including the Deaf Education campaign, how ISL was first introduced to the Deaf community, and how the Deaf community changed over 40 years. The videos were all well received and got a lot of interaction on the IDS social media channels. Landmarks all over Ireland agreed to light up in Blue to mark the day.

We also marked this anniversary as part of National ISL Day, on 14th December 2021.

National Lottery Awards: IDS was one of 32 Finalists in the National Lottery Awards for Mental Health projects we carried out with funding received from the National Lottery in the past. There were seven categories which are Sport, Health and Wellness, Community, Youth, Arts & Culture, Heritage and Irish Language. The Irish Deaf Society was in the Community Category. Unfortunately, IDS did not win but we are so happy to be a finalist, we received a nomination award and a cheque and we are proud to know that our work for the Deaf community is being recognised.

Meeting with Oireachtas Joint Committee on Disability Matters: The public meeting was titled “Participation of people with disabilities in political, cultural, community and public life. A transcript, and an ISL video of the meeting is available on oireachtas.ie.

2nd Deaf Women European Forum 2021: This two-day Webinar was hosted by the French Deaf-led organisation FSCS – the webinar focused on Gender Equality and Empowerment of women – we had workshops afterwards – related to Gender-based Violence under Justsigns and how to create an association or commission for Deaf Women.

National Disability Authority Annual Conference: NDA focused on the theme of progressive recognition of UNCRPD Article through the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015. They seek to move away from a medical model interpretation of capacity, to a social model that embraces the person’s right to make their own decisions and confirms the state’s obligation to ensure they are supported to do so.

ISL Awareness Week 2021: We were delighted that the ISL Awareness Week themes included different topics such as: Cherishing Deaf History, Sustainable Deaf Leadership, Sign Language of all Deaf Learners, International Day of Sign Languages, Intersectional Deaf communities, Deaf Culture & Arts and Human Rights in Time of Crisis. The week turned out very well, and helped raise awareness and share information with the public.

Projects

Deaf Awareness Training (DAT): Despite the Covid-19 situation, we were able to provide refresher DAT course for DAT trainers – we were delighted to add 5 new peer advocates resulting in us having 14 trainers now. Since the pandemic hit, many DAT bookings were cancelled but later in 2021 we offered DAT through Zoom and there was a high level of interest.

There has been a very high demand for DAT booking in public services since the commencement of the ISL Act 2017 and as a result of this we have developed a DAT presentation aimed specifically at public bodies, as well as having one aimed specifically at private organisations.

Online Peer Advocacy Workshops: With the support of IDS FET department, we provided a peer advocacy workshop online and now have 12 peer advocate volunteers working with us. The role of a peer advocate is so important to IDS and the community. We can rely on them to interact with their local Deaf groups, provide support with consultation about rights and accessibility, and work with local authorities.

CIDP Advocacy Support Services: We continued to support CIDP with our advocacy services, working with St Joseph’s House for Deaf and Deafblind Adults, Stillorgan. The Holy Family School boarding campus had been closed through the pandemic so we had to hold off on providing our services until the restrictions were lifted.

Citizen Information Board (CIB) Deaf Awareness Training Video Project: In collaboration with CIB, we developed a series of videos about “Deaf Awareness training” to promote knowledge and understanding about the Deaf community and to break down barriers between Deaf people and hearing people. These videos can be found on citizensinformationboard.ie.

Wellbeing and Mental Health Working Group: IDS attended the “European Society for Mental Health and Deafness” which was a very interesting discussion on how to work with Deaf children, adolescents and adults in mental health services. Following that, IDS setup a Wellbeing and Mental Health Working Group, which is chaired by Karen Sinnott. The group has been set up in order to represent our community and work with the State and healthcare providers to ensure commitments of access for the Deaf people are included in organisations strategies and action plans. We will set up more meetings next year, working with members of the Deaf community who are familiar with using, and working in, mental health services.

EUD and Huawei Project: We received funding from EUD and Huawei, which was aimed at improving Deaf children’s literacy and promoting early exposure to ISL as well as helping families to increase their awareness of the importance of language development in supporting a child's overall development in communicating, and expressing and understanding feelings. As part of this project, we provided 4 workshops via Zoom for Deaf children (aged 8-12), facilitated by Joanne Chester. The workshops were made up of ISL games and activities. We also provided ISL classes for parents, and ran a 5-week linguistics course aimed at parents of Deaf children, facilitated by Senan Dunne.

St Stephen’s Green Trust Project: We received funding from St Stephen’s Green Trust to provide ISL Linguistics Courses to the Deaf community. The majority of Deaf people have never been given the opportunity to study their own language, and as a result, may not have had the space to develop an understanding of the linguistic features of their language. We ran a series of courses in 2021, aimed at groups within the Deaf community such as Deaf people and hearing people working within the community.

Deaf Career Project funded by Pobal: We received funding from Pobal which has been used to establish the Deaf Career Project. The overall goal of the project is to improve access to career pathways for Deaf people and to create appropriate online resources for Deaf people and support for Guidance Counsellors offering services to Deaf people. This project includes four key activities:

  • Support for project manager in relation to general management and implementation of the project.
  • Development and delivery of training and support to 72 participants via 6 Job Clubs.
  • Development and delivery of training to 40 guidance counsellors via 2 seminars.
  • Research and reporting, an initial report on availability of resources and services suitable for Deaf people outlining challenges and gaps. Secondly, a project evaluation report.

The project is still in its development stage, and updates will be provided to the Deaf community when the job clubs are recruiting participants.

As you can see the Advocacy Department has been extremely busy in 2021 and we will continue to campaign for Deaf people’s rights and represent their views to the State and public services.

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Further Education and Training Department Report

Brian Crean, FET Course Manager

Tracey Treanor, FET Quality Assurance Manager

Read the English text of these videos:

IDS Further Education and Training Department (FET), was setup by merging Deaf Adult Literacy Services (DALS) and the Irish Sign Language Academy over the last 3 years. This change is central to a delivering a new vision for our education service and our ability to meet the demands of the educational needs of our learners. We are building an education system that can meet the standards required by QQI and that will further the educations of Deaf people in Ireland.

The Academic year 2019-2020 presented challenges for us all, teaching staff and learners. During the pandemic our priority and focus was on the welfare of our teaching staff and learners. At the same time we were working to respond to the QQI guidance in relation to online teaching and learning.

All of our team, teachers, and tutors continued to work from home, developing new ways of thinking, communicating and learning. We developed new responses to challenges in providing digital learning and management of our staff and classes in an online environment. At the same time being conscious of ensuring effective teaching and learning, safety for our learners and ensuring they continued to have a quality educational experience.

In 2021 we expanded our team and welcomed Dan Bradley, our Quality Assurance Support Officer, who has been providing valuable support as we continue to develop our quality assurance processes; and Orla Hughes, our Digital Education Officer who has been implementing a new exciting digital learning platform, as IDS embrace the future of online education. We also saw Fiona Landers join the team as our ISL media productions co-ordinator. She works on many projects from commercial translation to supporting our education team to develop online ISL resources for our learners.

Last year, we started an extensive project to implement a new Quality Assurance Framework. We made steady progress on the development of our Quality Assurance Committee and our teaching staff and learner's handbooks.

In 2021, we were continued being supported by SOLAS, our funders on behalf of the Department of Education.

Our main funders for FET are SOLAS and in 2021 their funding supported our transformation of our educational and training services for the Deaf community.

Our objectives for 2021 included:

  1. Continue to deliver as much training and education as possible during Covid-19
  2. Continue our reengagement process with QQI
  3. Promote digital education and e-learning resources
  4. Maintain and enhance a learner centred teaching environment
  5. Respond to the evolving needs of our learners with a broader range of QQI courses

Education and Training

In 2021, we saw a total of 907 learners enrolled in our education and training courses with 389 learners achieving their QQI awards, an increase of 40% of last year obtaining awards. Even during Covid-19 we delivered an impressive 134 accredited and non-accredited day and evening courses to the Deaf community and ISL courses to hearing people. We offered a wide range of online courses for our learners, whether they wanted to up-skill or retrain.

We offered a range of courses of short 10 weeks courses such as:

  •  Linguistics for Deaf Adults
  • An Introduction to Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Driving Theory for Driving Test
  • Vegan and Vegetarian Cooking
  • Deaf Children Language and Cognitive skills webinars

These courses have been extremely useful as many learners have taken more than one course seeking to increase their personal understanding or gain knowledge without having to commit to study that is required for either an award or certificate.

Quality Assurance

Our reengagement process with QQI is informed by the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 which places mandatory obligations on all FET and HET providers to compare their own operating standards against the standards as set out in the QQI Core Guidelines.

Working on our reengagement with QQI is an extensive project identifying and assessing any gaps in our academic operations and systems. This meant reviewing, updating and developing all of our policies and procedures and quality assurance processes.

The key actions and achievements in 2021 related to improving our Quality Assurance framework outlined below:

  • Setting up of the Academic Council, known as the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC), to ensure appropriate academic regulatory, and assist the planning, development and overseeing the FET work to protect and maintain academic standards of courses and activities of FET.
  • Developing a Risk Register management tool
  • New guidelines on regular governance reporting and liaising with our learners.
  • Setting up our Teaching Staff Forum to facilitate teaching staff to come together as a community of practice to share ideas and approaches to working with all learners.

IDS FET continues to work to ensure we have a well governed and professionally managed education service that achieves the objectives set out by QQI guidelines. We will continue this work on the reengagement process and our application submission to QQI scheduled for early 2022.

We are deeply grateful all the efforts from our staff, teachers and tutors and for their dedication to ensuring the continuity of our courses during the pandemic.

Of course our biggest thanks is to our learners, who have responded with patience and positivity through challenging circumstances, We thank them for their continued interaction and contribution to our education and training.

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International Affairs

John Bosco Conama, Vice-Chairperson

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European Union of the Deaf (EUD): Lydia Mendes and John Bosco Conama attended the general assembly of EUD. Via Zoom last August (relatively late in the year due to the pandemic restrictions). The meeting was business-like, and a new vice president, Sofia Isari, was voted in to replace the former until May 2022. There was a good discussion on the new strategic plan to guide the EUD from 2022 to 2027.

During the pandemic restrictions, the EUD presented several webinars to discuss different issues related to the pandemic.

During 2021 John Bosco Conama, Elaine Grehan and John Sherwin co-authored an IDS chapter for a new EUD book that focuses on Article 9: access to information and communication for the deaf, of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UN CRPD.

The book examines a range of issues related to accessibility from a Deaf Sign Language perspective. The PDF version is available online from the EUD website. The chapter is also available in International Sign Language -The book was launched during an EUD Webinar.

The IDS chapter contained information that was included in a presentation given by the IDS Advocacy Manager in the EUD COVID-19 Webinar Series “Accessibility in hospitals.”

World Federation of the Deaf (WFD): From January 2021 the World Federation of the Deaf organised organised webinars to celebrate 70 years of WFD.

In April WFD launched a new paper “Position Statement on Educational Rights for Deaf Learners During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond.”

In August 2021 WFD launched a toolkit to guide National Associations of the Deaf in their advocacy work towards establishing an enabling environment for deaf people in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as ensuring an inclusive Covid-19 pandemic response for Deaf people.

In September WFD launched its Global Leaders Challenge asking for National leaders to make a short video saying "We Sign for Human Rights" in Sign Language (In International Sign for global leaders and National Sign Language for national leaders).

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Finance Report

Fiona Noone, Financial Controller

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During 2021 we saw many financial challenges as a result of continued lock downs and restrictions due to Covid 19, however we did see some positives during the year. Our ability to fundraise was impacted enormously like most Charitable organizations across the Country with the Charity shops closed from the Christmas period 2020 up until late May 2021. We were successful in receiving additional income from the continuation of the Stability Scheme fund amounting to €51,765 to be offset against our operational costs for the first 6 months of 2021.

We were also able to claim the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) for the period of time that our fundraising activities were curtailed i.e. shop closures. The total amount received under the EWSS was €59,367 and €7,263 in ER PRSI Credits.

We received a small grant of €4,000 from Louth Co Co under the SBASC (Small Business Assistance Scheme for Covid) which was used towards the reopening costs of the Charity shops.
Financial & Operational highs and lows of 2021 in more detail:

  • The closure of our Charity Shops due to Covid 19 restrictions for approximately 5 months of 2021 resulted in a further reduction in income of 4% on 2020 which already saw a reduction of 42% on 2019. In 2020 the Charity shops were closed for approximately 4 months of the year. During the period of shop closures IDS was able to receive supports of Government by way of the EWSS already mentioned.
  • IDS commenced its bi annual raffles in 2021 which saw an increase in income of €123k on 2020. This was because 2020 only saw the end of a winter raffle from 2019 and due to Covid, no other raffles were held in 2020.
  • IDS Advocacy Services had a significant increase in Deaf Awareness Training and Advocacy supports in 2021 showing an increase in income of €15,270. This mainly occurred in the 2nd half of 2021.
  • IDS Education department continued with online learning for both Deaf Adult Classes and Irish Sign Language Classes. Due to the increased visual awareness of ISL Interpreters on our screens every day since the Pandemic began and Government announcements, this had only increased our demand for ISL classes. This is evident when we look at the ISL class income showing an increase of 60% on 2020
  • Another bonus for IDS in 2021 was the increase in Translation services. Again as a result of visual awareness and Government responsibility to ensure the Deaf community have equal access to information, this resulted in an increase in Translation income of nearly €50k on 2020
  • There was one large bequest totaling €100k received in 2021 and other bequests bringing the total bequests to €102,521.

Additional points to note and other variances between 2021 and 2020 in our accounts:

  • Payroll Costs saw an increase in 2021 due to the employment of 5 new people in our FET, Advocacy and Fundraising departments
  • As we will have seen increases in our Income this will also result in an increase in corresponding expenditure i.e. increase in Raffle income will lead to an increase in Raffle expenditure as a result of holding 2 raffles in 2021, increase in ISL income will see an increase in Teachers fees
  • IDS ran a Christmas giving campaign which saw the investment in Christmas Cards for resale. While it may not have been as successful as we hoped, we intend to sell the remaining stock in 2022 and 2023
  • Key fundraising events included Raymond Grehan’s campaign to grow his hair for 12 months, posting updates each month and then cutting it all off at the end of the year, raising €7500. Also Sharon Osborne cycled along the Wild Atlantic Way for 12 days and 1500km raising over €1700.
  • We had significant investment in security and health and safety equipment in our Charity shops
  • IDS invested in additional IT supports to enable us to continue to work in a pandemic environment
  • There was an increase in usage of Interpreters due to an increase in business activities and operations
  • IDS invested in an online e-learning system in conjunction with providing scheduled zoom classes. This new system enables IDS to enhance the teaching and learning experience that it delivers.

The work to improve how the IDS managed its finances continued in 2021 and this is evident from the overall performance as seen in the Audited Financial Statements. Even so IDS continues to take a careful approach to its finances while ensuring the need for adequate resources and investment which will ultimately enhance the services provided by the IDS.

Download 2021 IDS Annual Report and Financial Statements (PDF)

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