Bristol City Council is running a free support hotline to help isolated and worried residents across the city during the Coronavirus pandemic.
If you are staying at home for health reasons and need help with food supplies, medicine and other essential items, please contact the helpline on 0800 694 0184 for support.
Deaf BSL users can contact the phoneline through a BSL Interpreter using SignVideo. If for any reason you are unable to use the Signvideo relay service, please contact the Sensory Impairment Team via their video drop in service and they will be able to help arrange support for you.
MB, who is in his early fifties, started to lose his hearing a couple of years ago. He began working in construction at 18 and thinks that being in such a loud working environment, involved in demolition projects, may have had an impact on his hearing over the years. He explained there was less awareness about health and safety and the need for ear protection when he first started in the industry.
When he began to have a problem with his hearing, he went to his GP, who referred him to audiology. The audiologist confirmed that he was losing his hearing and that it had deteriorated very rapidly. MB was given hearing aids, which helped, but he was still finding it hard to hear the doorbell or the telephone ring. He also had trouble hearing people fully when he was in conversation with family, friends or work colleagues. He loves listening to music but couldn’t hear it unless it was on very loud and was having a similar problem watching television. He was reluctant to have the volume up too loud, as he didn’t want to disturb the rest of the family, and so was missing out on relaxing with music or watching his favourite programmes on TV.
MB’s wife then came across a leaflet about CfD’s work and he got in touch to ask about any support we could provide. We booked an appointment for our Equipment Officer Piers to visit MB at home. Piers talked to him about the difficulties he was having and explained the range of equipment that could help. Piers then went back on a second visit to install a Signolux alerting system, which rings very loudly and flashes when the phone goes or someone rings the doorbell. As MB explains “Before I couldn’t hear the doorbell or the telephone ring. Having this flashing and amplified alerter means I don’t have to rely on the family to let me know when there’s someone at the door or when the phone goes, so I feel independent again.”
Piers also provided a personal listener, which is a piece of equipment which amplifies sound and works particularly well with hearing aids on a loop setting. MB has been able to use this when talking to people and he now says “Before when I was listening to them it was as if they were far away but now with the equipment it’s like they’re close to me again and it’s especially nice to be able to hear my family and my young daughter properly.”
Another benefit of the personal listener is that MB is able to plug it into his phone, which he uses to listen to music. He can now listen to the music through the headset on the listener and can enjoy his favourite tracks without disturbing anyone.
Piers also installed a TV listener, which is a piece of equipment which allows MB to listen to the television through an individual receiver. He can control the volume on the receiver and can have it as loud as he needs as only he can hear it. The TV listener doesn’t interfere with the normal sound on the television so that the rest of the family can also watch television at the same time at a regular volume. MB is delighted with this piece of equipment and says “I can relax and watch television now without disturbing the family. I get peace and they get peace so everyone is happy!”
To find out more about our Equipment Service and the support we can provide, please see the Equipment page of our website or contact us in one of the following ways:
Phone: 0345 9007830
SMS text/WhatsApp: 07545 264840
Please note that we are not currently making home visits due to the Coronavirus but we are running our service remotely. This means we can still make assessments for equipment over the phone or by email or video call and we can then deliver any items to your doorstep.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are working from home but we are pleased to say that our Equipment Service is still running.
Our equipment team are available throughout the week and can still provide advice and support with listening aid equipment such as amplified and flashing doorbells, amplified telephones and TV listeners.
If you would like to discuss equipment or arrange an assessment, please contact us in one of the following ways:
Phone: 0345 9007830
SMS text/WhatsApp: 07545 264840
When we receive your enquiry, one of our Equipment Officers will contact you to make an assessment and discuss your needs.
If you want to communicate with our Equipment Officers in BSL, contact us to arrange an appointment time and one of our Officers can do a video call with you on WhatsApp, Skype or Zoom.
If you need new or replacement equipment, our Equipment Officer Steve will arrange to deliver it to your door in a safe and socially distanced way. The equipment will already be set up and working and all you will have to do is plug it in.
We are always here by phone, text, email or video call for any follow up support and please do contact us if there is anything you need.
If you know people who would benefit from our service and would like to share information with them, please click here to download a PDF of our Equipment Service leaflet.
This year Deaf Awareness Week is the week of 4th to 10th May. We are celebrating by offering two online information sessions to help raise awareness about all aspects of Deafness.
12 to 1pm Wednesday 6th May
In this session our CEO David Melling will run one of his popular Deaf Equality Training sessions online via Zoom. He will share information about different types of hearing loss, communication tips and best practice.
If you would like to sign up, please email David.
Places will be offered on a first come, first served basis, so do please get in touch soon if you’re interested.
12 to 1pm Thursday 7th May
In this session our CEO David who will answer your questions on everything related to access and equality for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.
Please email your questions to David and he will answer them during a live session on Zoom, which will also be recorded. Please click here to join the session on Zoom.
We are missing the CfD coffee mornings so we thought we would try to get together by Zoom for a coffee morning and chat online. You have to bring your own coffee and cake!
When? Every Tuesday morning at 10.30am.
You will need to have access to a smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer to join in. We will use an application called Zoom which is similar to Skype and lets us see each other as a group. If you have not downloaded Zoom before, then click here to download it and join the meeting.
There is a useful BSL video with information about how to use Zoom on Youtube – please click here to watch it.
If you have any problems connecting to Zoom or joining the meeting, please email David at email@example.com
Hope to see as many of you as possible.
Our biggest responsibility is to protect the health and safety of our community – both clients and staff. In order to reduce exposure to the Coronavirus we have made some changes to CfD services. We have adapted our way of working so that we can work effectively from home. We will continue to do this for the foreseeable future as the best way of keeping everyone safe.
Our office and equipment resource room will remain closed for the time being but we are all now working from home and we are still here for you. We can be contacted by phone, SMS text message, video call or email if needed – full details are on the Contact page of our website.
Due to the need for social distancing we are not able to make home visits at the moment. However, our equipment officers are still available to offer support and now offer assessments and advice remotely. This means they can talk about any equipment needs via phone and email or via video call on Skype or Zoom.
If you would like an assessment or need to discuss any problems with your equipment such as your phone, doorbell or TV listener, please contact us and we will arrange a remote appointment with one of our officers.
We now meet for an online coffee morning every week via the video platform Zoom. This is from 10.30am every Tuesday morning and please click here for further information about the meeting and how to join us on Zoom. Hoping to see many of you there!
With advice from the Charity Commission and the Government we have made the decision to postpose our AGM from April until September/October. Our accounts are now live and you can view them on the Charity Commission website.
We’ve put together this list of links to useful sources of information and support related to Coronavirus for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
We will keep in touch with any updates to CfD services, Local Authority support or advice on keeping safe. Please keep an eye on our website as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages for further information.
Stay safe and if you have any questions please contact us by phone on 0117 9398653, by SMS text or Facetime on 07749 313085 or by email.
Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People
We are supporting a campaign to ask the Prime Minister for equal access to communications regarding the Coronavirus.
The campaign was originally started by Lynn Stewart-Taylor on her Twitter handle @jerseysnail. She launched the #WhereIsTheInterpreter hashtag on social media asking the Prime Minister’s office to provide a BSL English Interpreter live at televised national addresses during the COVID-19 crisis. You can find an excellent interview with Lynn Stewart-Taylor about why she started the campaign on the Hear Me Out website.
There are more than 80,000 Deaf people in the UK for whom British Sign Language (BSL) is their first language, before English. It is essential that they have information in BSL so that they know what is going on at this time of national crisis and understand the actions everyone is being asked to take to stay safe.
Many Deaf organisations have taken up the cause and this has developed into a legal challenge to the government on behalf of AK, an 85-year Deaf BSL user. The legal team, Fry Law, are launching a Judicial Review application and there is now a Crowd Justice appeal to fund this vital legal work.
Please see this Crowd Justice page for full information about the fundraising appeal and how to donate. Please share with friends and family and support this campaign to remind the Government that everyone matters. One of the people that contributed to the case said “BSL is our first language. Please give us access to information, support us, protect us. We matter too.”
We’ve put together a list of links to useful sources of information and support related to Coronavirus for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
There is a lot of support out there and please know you’re not alone.
We’ll keep updating this list and if you know of any websites and resources that could be added, please send them to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coronavirus information videos in BSL.
NHS 111 for BSL users
Interpreter Now site for BSL users to contact NHS 111 if you have symptoms or any concerns about your health.
NHS website with information about Coronavirus and all the latest advice about looking after your health and how to stop the infection spreading. (English only, no BSL)
Government guidelines on Coronavirus
Government website with guidelines on Coronavirus and advice on a range of matters such as employment concerns and school closures.
(English only, no BSL)
Deaf UK Coronavirus website
A new website set up by Jen Dodds and other volunteers to make Coronavirus information more accessible for Deaf BSL users.
We Are Bristol Coronavirus hotline
A free telephone hotline run by Bristol City Council for anyone concerned about feeling isolated or needing help to get food, essential items or medicine. Deaf BSL users can contact the hotline via a BSL Interpreter using SignVideo. If you prefer to use a text relay service you can download the NGT lite app and ring the Council on the hotline number as normal and the app will convert your text to speech for the call handler.
Bristol City Council’s Sensory Impairment Team
Information on changes to their service during the Coronavirus outbreak and how to access support in BSL by video.
Adult Audiology in Bristol
Information on what is available through Adult Audiology’s reduced service and how to arrange appointments for any essential repairs to your hearing aids.
Age UK Coronavirus Support Hub
A support hub for older people in Bristol and their families. The hub provides a range of support for older people including practical support via a helpline, emotional support and virtual activities.
BSL Health Access
A free BSL interpreting service for health related situations such as GPs, dentists, pharmacies, opticians, NHS hospitals and any health-care related appointments. The service is available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Deaf translators/BSL interpreters Volunteer Responders Facebook group
A Facebook group set up by Lynn Stewart-Taylor and other volunteers where you can ask for interpreter assistance if you have any non-emergency communication needs, such as contacting your GP, school, or family via phone or help with checking emails and translating letters.
Deaf Stay At Home Facebook group
A Facebook group set up by Lynn Stewart-Taylor and other volunteers which is a supportive online community sharing information about Coronavirus in BSL so that Deaf people know what to do to keep themselves and other people safe.
A project encouraging new friendships in the UK BSL community. You can sign up and get matched with other Deaf people based on your hobbies and interests. Pals all use BSL and use video call to get to know each other.
The National Deaf Children’s Society
There is a range of very useful information for families with Deaf children on the NDCS website.
Home School Support for Deaf/BSL using parents Facebook group
A group to support BSL using parents with home schooling. Offering activity ideas and help with explaining and interpreting work your children have been asked to do by their school.
During this stressful time it’s important to take care of your mental health as well as your physical health. Here are links to some organisations who can provide support if you need it.
Contact the Samaritans to discuss anything you’re going through that’s causing distress. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Callers who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing can contact the Samaritans for support by email using email@example.com or by using the Next Generation Text (NGT) service. You can contact Samaritans using the NGT service on the number 0330 094 5717.
Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
Text SHOUT to 85258 in the UK to text with a trained Crisis Volunteer.
Deaf4Deaf runs a service offering sign language counselling.
Every Mind Matters
Useful tips to help if you’re worried about Coronavirus on the NHS’s Every Mind Matters website.
A national helpline dedicated to older people which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you’d like to help out during the Coronavirus outbreak, here are links to two places where you can sign up to volunteer.
To volunteer for the NHS
NHS Volunteer Responders has been set up to support the NHS and the care sector during the Coronavirus outbreak. You can sign up to help in a number of ways, such as collecting medicine for people who are self-isolating or helping with patient transport.
To volunteer in the local community
The Can Do website has information about how to sign up to volunteer in the local community. This support is being co-ordinated by Bristol City Council and Voscur.
Bristol Food Union
Bristol restaurants and food shops and suppliers have created a website with listings of where you can buy local food. It includes information about places which do deliveries.
Please be aware that Adult Audiology has stopped all face to face outpatient appointments due to the requirements for social distancing during the Coronavirus. The team will have a reduced service for urgent essential repairs to existing patient’s hearing aids.
If you need an urgent essential repair, please book an appointment by calling 0117 342 5854 (option 2 only) or email audiology.dept@UHBristol.nhs.uk
Please click on this link to go to a page on the audiology department website which has videos giving instructions on cleaning and inserting hearing aids.
There are also useful videos on the C2 hear website.
Bristol City Council’s Sensory Impairment Team provides support with:
• Translating letters from English to BSL
• Phoning and booking appointments
• Advice with paying bills or finding out more information from service providers
• Contacting any services you need to access
Due to Coronavirus, drop in sessions will no longer be available at the usual locations such as Bedminster library and Bristol Community Links South.
Instead the team will provide live video support sessions during the following times:
Monday 10am to 12pm
Wednesday 10am to 12pm
Friday 1.30pm to 3.30pm
They will use Zoom video to allow two or three-way conversations. You will need a laptop with a webcam, tablet or smart-mobile with access to the internet. You will then need to accept the Zoom invitation to an online meeting. Zoom is a confidential and secure video call system.
To book an online appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and the team will arrange a suitable time for the online meeting to take place.
If you are unable to use email, you can text Trish on 07795 445836 or Iain on 07741 815708 to arrange for a video support session via Zoom.
Please click on this link to see this information in a BSL video.
If you need to contact the health services, NHS 111 have a BSL video relay service you can use: https://interpreternow.co.uk/nhs111
If you would like to know more about Coronavirus in BSL, please look at the Signhealth website: https://www.signhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/
If you still don’t understand Coronavirus and need further explanation in BSL, please contact us and we can arrange a video support session to help you to understand all the current information.
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