Friday, 8 November 2013

Big Lottery Fund Joy for Norfolk Deaf Association

Celebrating at NDA HQ: Aliona Laker CEO NDA, Clayton Anderson, Tracy Mabbitt, Pam Spicer, John Marcus and Tony Innes Chairman NDA.

Trustees, staff and volunteers at Norfolk Deaf Association (NDA) are celebrating a £284,991 grant from the Big Lottery Fund Reaching Communities programme.

The grant secures the future of the charity’s vital Hearing Support Service (HSS) for the next three years and includes the purchase of a new minibus for the Listen Here! mobile clinic, which visits towns and villages and sheltered housing throughout Norfolk. The HSS celebrated its 20th anniversary in April.

Thirty-six trained volunteers fulfilled 10,100 HSS appointments in 2012/13, up from 7162 in 2011/12. The volunteers help people affected by hearing loss, advising them on the use, cleaning and maintenance of hearing aids.  Home visits are offered for those with limited mobility, and there are 39 static clinics and 28 mobile clinics provided by the Listen Here! Bus. The mobile clinic also visits 25 sheltered housing complexes.

Aliona Laker, Chief Executive of the Norfolk Deaf Association said: “The grant from the Big Lottery Fund is wonderful news for our staff and volunteers and the people we support in the community. The funding means that we can look forward with confidence for the next three years, recruit and train more volunteers, maintain our programme of static and mobile clinics and quickly respond to the increasing demand for home visits. Our work plays a vital role in overcoming feelings of isolation for people in Norfolk with hearing loss. Knowing that someone can help you with the operation and maintenance of your hearing aid can really help improve your day to day quality of life.”

“If you think you would be interested in becoming a volunteer please contact us at the NDA office” added Tony Innes, Chairman of the NDA, “We will offer you training, a supervised introduction to the work we do and then regular training updates so you can maintain professional standards. Our volunteers find it very enjoyable and fulfilling.”

Dr John FitzGerald, Head of Audiology, Norfolk & Norwich NHS University Hospital said: “This is really great news for hearing aid users across Norfolk. The Listen Here! Bus, static clinics and home visits provide a vital link for many of our patients who struggle to get to the hospital for help with hearing aid maintenance. Knowing that the NDA will continue to provide this outstanding local service into the future will be of great re-assurance to these patients.”

Diana Gee, HSS volunteer said: “I went deaf in my twenties and am now in my seventies. I moved to Norfolk 20 years ago and the help I received from the HSS made a big difference. I have been a volunteer for 16 years now. The support from NDA means a great deal to people and gives them confidence. Volunteers normally operate generally within a five-mile radius from home. I enjoy meeting clients and have between two and four appointments a week.”

The HSS is NDA’s largest service and is supported by the Norfolk & Norwich NHS University Hospital, which provides supplies and training. The service also receives some funding from North Norfolk, Norwich and South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Groups as well as a number of Grant Making Trusts and individual donations.

Static Clinics include Blakeney, Coltishall, Fakenham, Gorleston, Holt, Ludham, Sheringham and Wells-next-the-Sea.

Mobile Clinics include Acle, Aylsham, Bunwell, Dereham, Diss, Harleston, Hingham, Hoveton, North Walsham, Reepham, Stalham, Swaffham, Taverham, Thetford, Watton and Wymondham.

NDA also runs an Assistive Listening Devices advice and support clinic on Thursday mornings between 10am and 1pm at the new NDA headquarters, 120 Thorpe Road, Norwich NR1 1RT.  This is ideal for anyone thinking of buying equipment to enhance hearing. A wide variety of equipment is on display including induction loops, wireless listeners, flashing and vibrating doorbells, vibrating alarm clocks, smoke alarms, telephone amplifiers and mobile phones.

For more information about HSS clinics or home visits or volunteering contact Pam Spicer, Hearing Support Service Co-ordinator on 01603 404440, email or visit the website at

Norfolk Deaf Association was founded in 1898, originally as a benevolent society. The charity aims to improve the lives of young people and adults with all degrees of hearing loss through information, support, awareness and communication. The key services are Hearing Support Service, Befriending Service, Tinnitus Support Group, Deaf Awareness Training and Hard of Hearing Club.