Simon is a Volunteer Coordinator for Deaf Health Champions, based in Manchester. All our volunteers are deaf.
Deaf Heath Champions aims to improve the health of deaf people in Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cumbria. The project is a partnership of the UK Council on Deafness, SignHealth, Manchester Deaf Centre, Merseyside Society for Deaf People and Deaf Vision Cumbria. It’s funded by the Department of Health and we’re half way through our grant.
It’s 10am and I’m going to the Manchester Deaf Centre’s Over 50s group. The group attracts deaf people from all over Greater Manchester, including many of our volunteer Deaf Health Champions. It’s a good way to meet a lot of people at the same time.
One volunteer has a complaint about her treatment at a local hospital. She had an operation on her elbow and there was no interpreter available. It’s an opportunity to highlight the lack of access for deaf people, so I ask her to let me film her complaint.
We make a quick film to send off to a Director at Wigan Clinical Commissioning Group and the Chief Executive of Wigan Healthwatch who are collecting case studies on deaf patients.
I’m then off to a meeting with the Community Engagement Manager for Manchester Deaf Centre. We are discussing setting up gym sessions for deaf people and have found a deaf volunteer interested in helping people with exercise and managing their weight.
I then travel to support a Deaf Health Champion in Salford, who has become an Ambassador for his area, before heading off to Bolton Deaf Society where I ask the members for their feedback on the accessibility of local health services.
It’s a busy day but worth it when you see the difference our volunteers are making for deaf people. Hopefully we will see some positive changes!