February 2024

Community News: February 2024

Mental Health Working Group– Position paper 

The Mental Health Working Group is revising its position paper following the Advocacy Manager’s return from a conference in Holland. We’ve postponed action to arrange another meeting soon, incorporating feedback from the group and insights from the Manager’s trip. The Advocacy Manager and Administrator are preparing changes to the paper, which will be reviewed and discussed with the group upon completion.

Deaf Awareness Training 

Advocacy Manager provided Deaf Awareness training to new IDS staff, and the RISLI manager joined. It was an interesting workshop and the 3 attendees found it helpful. We are busy continuing to book workshops for the coming months. 

Information Office

The Information Office is getting busier. Many people are visiting the new office and are pleased to see the Irish Deaf Society (IDS) back in the Atrium. People are seeking various information, such as social welfare, revenue details, and Citizen Information. The Officer is sharing information through TV, IDS social media, and e-info newsletters, covering topics like office hours, applying for Interpreter vouchers online, family and care referendums, as well as distributing posters from other organisations.

Reach Deaf Services Funding Application

We have submitted a funding application to Reach Deaf Services for a new project titled ‘Deaf Awareness Training and Resource Development,’ with involvement from the FET team.

If successful, this funding will enable us to create resources for Deaf Awareness training, train additional presenters, and establish an online platform for ongoing training.

The project comprises three main components:

  1. Training for presenters: Currently, there is a shortage of presenters for Deaf Awareness training nationwide. Our goal is to train Deaf presenters from all over Ireland. We currently have 8 presenters and aim to recruit 10 more.
  2. Development of resources: We aim to develop an online Deaf Awareness Training platform and an English to Irish Sign Language (ISL) Dictionary. These resources will help hearing individuals understand Deaf Awareness, support literacy, and empower the Deaf community. Funding will cover equipment, administrative costs, ISL presenters, monitors, and interpreters.
  3. Free Deaf Awareness Workshops: We frequently receive inquiries from individuals interested in learning ISL, as well as from parents of Deaf children and other family members. These workshops provide an opportunity for them to attend and learn about Deaf Awareness.

Breaking Barriers workshop for Deaf people in Ashling Hotel  

The Information Officer attended the workshop. Researcher Dr Noel O’Connell hosted a workshop for Deaf people to discuss the new report Breaking Barriers Conference- Employment for Deaf People.  

In the workshop, he explained why Deaf people sometimes a difficult time have finding jobs or often face problems at work. He also discussed what could be done to fix these issues. The workshop included discussions and questions. The workshop was arranged to help Deaf people understand the report before it is officially launched at a conference on 10th April 2024. 

ISL Act Cross Community Group Meeting  

Ten out of thirteen organisations attended the meeting and discussed many issues on the agenda, such as international affairs, national advocacy updates, and key public consultations/government submissions. The hot topic of discussion was the suspension of funding for interpreter vouchers by the CIB  

 RISLI Meeting  

The Advocacy Manager had a meeting with RISLI Interim Manager Caroline Walker-Strong to discuss the challenges faced by Deaf individuals daily. The focus was on how we can work to improve or address these issues, and ideas were shared on increasing the number of interpreters in the future. 

HFS Student Work Experience  

A student from Holy Family School, aged 18, who will be doing her Leaving Cert Applied this summer, had a great time during her work experience at IDS. It was her first time in an office setting, so she really enjoyed working in the Information Office and meeting lots of Deaf people. She mentioned she felt honoured when the Information Officer introduced her to everyone. She had never felt so important or included before. She enjoyed most of her work experience in the Information Office. Also, she contributed to the creation of Deaf Awareness Training material that will be suitable for children, and her experience as a young person was a great contribution to the presentation. While working on media projects, she gained valuable understanding of translating from English to ISL. She was good at preparing for FET classes and workshops. She was confident and not afraid to ask questions. 

ENSPIRED (Enchanting Social Participation across Ireland for people with communication Disabilities and differences) 

UCC and Ulster University led the North-South Research Programme project (Strand 1). The research team leaders included TCD, NUI Galway, Ulster University, and the University of Limerick. They partnered with the Irish Heart Foundation, Stroke Association NI, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Alzheimer’s Society UK, Galway Travellers Movement, and the Irish Deaf Society. People with communication disability are at risk of being excluded from society, affecting relationships, and providing fewer opportunities to work, socialise, and participate in everyday activities. The project aims to tackle that. The Advocacy Manager attended the third steering committee group meeting where we discussed the project on communication access.  Also, ENSPIRED organised three PPI Focus Groups to invite Deaf grassroots individuals to share their vivid experiences with communication access.

Chime MDT Webinar Series

Chime’s new Deaf specialist Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) is open to referrals for children and young people up to 25 years old since last summer. Chime invited IDS to collaborate with them as part of a Webinar Series. They have committed to the HSE to host a webinar series for health and social care professionals working in Primary Care services and Children’s Disability Network Teams nationwide. The aim of the webinar series is to provide opportunities for clinicians to learn about various topics relevant to working with Deaf children and young people. The audience includes Speech and Language Therapists, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Social Workers, Public Health Nurses, and Managers. The Advocacy Manager presented “Irish Sign Language and Deaf Culture” as part of the Chime webinar. The presentation lasted 45 minutes, including a question-and-answer session. Over 150 people registered for the webinar, and the questions received were very positive. There was a strong belief among participants that ISL should be available from a young age and integrated into the school curriculum.

DCU Students on Tour  

Assistant Professor Senan Dunne from DCU School of Inclusive and Special Education brought two teaching students who are currently undertaking a week-long block course on Deaf learners as part of their Graduate Diploma in Inclusion and Special Education. During their visit to IDS and other organisations based in DVI, the Information Officer introduced them to the IDS staff. 

News from Fundraising Department

Thank you to our volunteers Mark Doyle and Ray Whyte for collecting donations on behalf of The Irish Deaf Society in Newbridge. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here 

Your donation helps us continue representing the Deaf community’s interests and welfare.  

For more information on how you can help, contact Jennifer at jennifer@irishdeafsociety.ie or text 0874395455. 

IDS Charity Shops are seeking donations. 

Your donations make a big difference! Whether it’s clothing, household items, or anything else in good condition, your contributions directly support our IDS charity shops. 

We have locations in Ashbourne and Drogheda. You can drop off donations at the IDS office. For more information, visit our donation page on the website. 

Irish Deaf Society