ALL over the county men, women and children feel isolated, left-out and alone through no fault of their own.Deafness can be one short step away from depression, isolation and mental illness especially when stuck in a small and quiet village miles away from a busy, thriving town centre.Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA) is looking to raise £5,000 to help deaf people beat isolation through providing a transport fund, available for those who urgently need it to attend meetings and events.GDA is the county’s only frontline charity supporting deaf, hard of hearing and dead-blind adults and children. It provides clubs, events and activities for members of the association to prevent isolation and loneliness.
Being deaf can mean missing out, whether it is not hearing the telephone ring, not hearing a neighbour knock at the door or even just struggling to listen to the radio.And members of GDA who come from small towns, such as Cirencester and the villages surrounding, struggle not just to hear but also to get out and about as many cannot drive and feel vulnerable walking or using public transport.“£5,000 would enable us to provide transport for a year for up to 60 adults and children who without this support would not be able to access GDA’s services.”Gloucestershire Deaf Association’s chief executive Jenny Hopkins Lisa Potter, from Cirencester, suffers from multiple disabilities as well as being profoundly deaf in both ears. The 44-year-old suffers from joint problems and cannot walk very far for too long a period without dislocating her joints.
Her multiple disabilities meant she had her driving license revoked and has since had to rely on family, friends and public transport to get her to where she needs to go. She has even had to move back to her parent’s house and feels her freedom has been taken away from her.”GDA organises events such as a quiz night or a trip to the theatre but often these events are in the evening and the buses would have stopped running by then. I just can’t get there,” Lisa said.”I’m quite confident walking out and about outside but often deaf people can feel very vulnerable. I have a badge which I wear to let people know I’m deaf but people could take advantage of that and use it against me.””When I can see a conversation taking place but I’m not part of it, it’s hard,” Lisa continued. “When I can’t join in and don’t even know the topic I feel stupid as I just cant keep up.”GDA is appealing for help to raise money to create a transport fund, to be put towards those who need door-to-door pick up to attend meetings, trips out and other events.
Jackie Gloyn runs a hard of hearing group for children in Cirencester and said how important it is for deaf people to be around those who they can relate to: “If people cannot get to our clubs then they start to feel isolated and alone. It’s a short downward spiral to depression,” she said.GDA’s chief executive Jenny Hopkins, said she could think of several adults and children who would benefit hugely from the appeal: “Having a pot of money that could pay the petrol cost for volunteer drivers, or a taxi service for the most vulnerable would allow them to get to our events easily and without worry.”I know two deaf-blind ladies who have no social contact outside of GDA and a young lad who thrives at our deaf youth club but has problems at home that often means transport is not available to get him to us.“£5,000 would enable us to provide transport for a year for up to 60 adults and children who without this support would not be able to access GDA’s services.”GDA is looking to raise £5,000 which would provide a grant of £100 per person for at least 50 people to access transport support across the year. This grant would help people attend one of the weekly GDA meetings which will not only help them manage their hearing loss but also help them socialise, make friends and not feel alone or trapped.To donate, visit justgiving.com/GDATransportAppeal or post to Gloucestershire Deaf Association, Transport Appeal, Colin Road, Barnwood, Gloucester, GL4 3JL.