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deafPLUS secures Big Lottery funding to expand and improve National Advice Service

deafPLUS, the National charity supporting deaf people and people living with a hearing loss, has announced that deafPLUS’ Advice Line has secured Big Lottery funding.

The funding will enable the charity to realise ambitious plans for national expansion and development, with its award-winning British Sign Language (BSL) Advice Line extending its reach to support deaf people in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Big Lottery funding will see a new and improved booking system, enabling clients to speak to an expanded deafPLUS Advice Line team using video call, or have a question answered by online text chat or email.  Funding will also allow deafPLUS to build a Digital Information Hub on the deafPLUS

website, recruiting a Digital Advice Manager who will to create deaf-friendly online content. This will empower deaf visitors to the website to access the advice resources they need – in BSL and in English.

Gary Williams, deafPLUS CEO, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive the fantastic news that our funding bid to Big Lottery Fund was so well received.  Our Advice Line for BSL users won a prestigious ‘Helplines Partnership’ award last year, so its fantastic to now be able to make the service even better still.  We look forward to old and new clients visiting the online Advice Hub when it opens in the spring 2019.  In the meantime, our BSL Advice Line remains open for business ahead of its expansion.”

deafPLUS, also known as Breakthough Deaf-Hearing Integration, launched in 1971 and was instrumental in the development of deaf use of telecommunication technology throughout the 70s and 80s.  It is currently recruiting for the expanded advice team – see https://bit.ly/2SeQNnq for full details.

Leading Deaf Charities to Join Forces

1st January 2016 will bring about change in the Deaf voluntary sector, as two long-established charities formally come together as one.  On that day, Deaf Access, the 21 year old charity which provides services to the deaf and hard of hearing communities of Bromley, London, will be formally transferring its staff, assets and contracts to deafPLUS, the national charity which will be celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2016.

The wider charity will continue to be known as deafPLUS, but its services in Bromley will continue to operate under the Deaf Access name for the next two years.

Gary Williams. Chief Executive of deafPLUS, said:

“We are delighted to be welcoming Deaf Access into the deafPLUS family.  Deaf Access provides a very similar range of services to our own, and so it makes good business sense for us to join forces in this way.  Together, we will be stronger.”

David Connolly, Company Secretary of Deaf Access, added:

“Deaf Access is a small charity and for economy of scale and to access the necessary expertise to take us forward, the board felt that the best way to maintain Deaf Access as a viable, strong service provider was to seek a merger. We therefore approached DeafPLUS and are pleased that the merger is now taking place.”

David Connolly is a founder of Deaf Access and will be joining the deafPLUS Board with immediate effect.

With Deaf Access added to the picture, deafPLUS will now deliver dedicated services across five London boroughs as well as Somerset, Bath, Hampshire, and Birmingham.  The charity also runs a national money advice BSL video helpline and, from 4th January, a Southern Counties Employment BSL video helpline.  BSL help-lines are accessed via www.deafplus.org . The charity also runs a pan-London project to support deaf people who are in work.