Deaf with dementia training day

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On Friday 29th July we welcomed Emma Ferguson-Coleman to the Vassall Centre for a training day on how to support communication with Deaf BSL users living with dementia.

Emma is a researcher based at the University of Manchester working on the Deaf with Dementia Life-Stories Project. Here in Bristol we have been working in collaboration with the Deaf Studies Trust to raise awareness of the impact of dementia in the Deaf community and were delighted that Emma could join us to provide the training. This was a full day workshop for BSL interpreters and social care professionals working with the Deaf community in the Bristol area. Based on real life examples, the workshop was an opportunity for participants to:

  • Understand more about what dementia is
  • Learn more about how to support communication with Deaf BSL users living with dementia and their families
  • Consider strategies that interpreters can employ in relation to communication and look at the process from initial consultations through to assessments, diagnosis and support.

During the workshop there was scope for lots of interaction and discussion and it is clear that there is much interest in this topic. Here are some examples of the great feedback received from those attending:

‘The videos were amazing and very poignant. An interesting and informative day.’

‘Interesting training with a mixture of Deaf professionals as well as interpreters – it made for very dynamic conversations!’

‘Helps you learn how others see things and what they need from you the interpreter. Learnt some new signs for terminology. Brilliant and well needed.’

‘An excellent day. Should be repeated regularly!’

A big thanks to Emma Ferguson-Coleman for sharing her knowledge and expertise with us and we’ll look forward to further collaborations in the future.

Talk on Deaf Dementia

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On Thursday 18th July we are delighted to welcome Emma Ferguson-Coleman of the University of Manchester to talk about her work for the Deaf with Dementia Life-Stories Project.

During her talk she will cover:

  • what dementia is
  • stories from the Deaf community about living with dementia everyday
  • communication with BSL-users with dementia and their families

After the talk, there will be a discussion chaired by Clark Denmark.

When: 6 to 8pm, Thursday 18th July

Where: The Vassall Centre, Gill Avenue, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 2QQ

BSL – English interpreters will be provided.

The event is free and all are welcome. No need to book – just turn up and we will look forward to seeing you on the evening.

This talk has been organised in collaboration with the Deaf Studies Trust.

To find out more, contact us by phone on 0117 9398653, by SMS text on 07749 313085 or email

Deaf Awareness Week 2019

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Next week (6 to 12 May) is Deaf Awareness Week, an annual event organised by the UK Council on Deafness.  

It is an opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of Deafness and hearing loss, which affect 1 in 6 people in the UK. This year the theme is ‘Celebrating Role Models’.

Here at the Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People we are taking part in the week with a number of events in Bristol.

At our coffee morning on Tuesday 7 May we will be discussing the role models who have had an impact on our lives as Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. We always welcome newcomers at our coffee mornings and encourage anyone living with hearing loss to come and join us at the Bowl of Plenty café in the Colston Hall between 10.30 and 12.30 for a cuppa and a chat about your favourite role models in the Deaf community.

On Thursday 9 May we are delighted to be supporting the launch of a new social group for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in Bristol. Deaf Night Out is a chance for anyone affected by hearing loss to get together for a night on the town and the group will meet for the first time at 8pm at the Drawbridge Pub, 14 St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol BS1 4UT. The aim is to provide an opportunity for people with hearing loss to participate more in all the wonderful nightlife that Bristol has to offer and is open to all Deaf and Hard of Hearing people, BSL learners, interpreters, families and friends.

On Friday 10 May our CEO David Melling will be delivering a Deaf Equality Training session to staff at Burges Salmon, who have welcomed the opportunity to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week and learn more about improving communication and access for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.

David Melling says “We are delighted to be taking part in Deaf Awareness Week, which helps to spread the word about what life is like for people in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Our work here at CfD is all about breaking down the barriers to communication and encouraging inclusion so that people with hearing loss can play an active role in the life of the city.”

Please see the UK Council on Deafness website for more information about Deaf Awareness Week on a national level.

Launch of Deaf Night Out

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We’re delighted to be supporting the launch of a new social group for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in Bristol. The Deaf Night Out group will meet for the first time on 9 May.

Deaf Night Out is a chance for anyone affected by hearing loss to get together for a night on the town. The group will plan together what events they want to go to; it could a trip to the theatre or cinema, a concert, a meal out or other activities like ten pin bowling!

To celebrate Deaf Awareness Week, the first night out is planned for Thursday 9 May.  The group will meet at 8pm at the Drawbridge Pub, 14 St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol BS1 4UT.

Open to all Deaf and Hard of Hearing people, BSL learners, interpreters, families and friends.

The group’s organisers are hoping this will become a regular gathering and allow people with hearing loss to participate more in all the wonderful nightlife that Bristol has to offer.

Come along, bring your friends and make some new ones!

We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

If you’re on Facebook, check out the Deaf Night Out group which you can join to follow updates.

CfD Forum – we want your views!

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Please come to our forum event to give your feedback on our service and share ideas about what makes a Deaf friendly city.

When: The event is between 10.30am and 1pm on Monday 13th May.

Where: The office of Burges Salmon, One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX

The forum will be split into two sessions:

Session One:   

Equipment Service – feedback and views from our current and past clients (Deaf and Hard of Hearing) and ideas for improvements.

Session Two:   

Deaf Friendly City (for Deaf and Hard of Hearing residents and visitors) – what make a city Deaf Friendly?
What are the main barriers in Bristol for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people?

Tea, coffee and cake will be available and everyone attending will receive a £10 Love2shop voucher as a thank you for your time.

We hope you can join us. Your views will help us develop our service and support our work to build a Deaf friendly city.

Numbers are limited so please contact us to book a place.


Tel: 0117 9398653

SMS text: 07749 313085

BSL Interpreters and Speech to Text operators will be available on the day.

If you have any other access needs, please do let us know.

We are very grateful to solicitors Burges Salmon, who have kindly offered to host the forum at their office in central Bristol.

New timetable for the Sensory Impairment Team drop-in service

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The 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 or referring to an Equipment Officer for new equipment

The team is changing the locations for the service and there will be no more drop in sessions here at the Vassall Centre or at the old RNIB building in Bedminster.

The good news is there is now a drop in service in these new places and the new timetable is as follows:

Mondays 10am to 12 Noon at
Bristol Community Links South, Langhill Avenue, Avon, Bristol BS4 1TN

Wednesday 10am to 12 Noon at
Bristol Community Links North, Lanercost Road, Avon, Bristol BS10 6HZ

Friday 1:30pm to 3:30pm at
Bedminster Library, 4 Bedminster Parade, Bristol BS3 4AQ

Second Thursday of each month 10am to 12 Noon (same time as the Deaf Social Club) at
Hillside Court, Batten Rd, Bristol BS5 8NL

The team can offer home visits on any other days.

They will work with the Sensory Support Service to ensure that BSL users in Bristol have a drop-in session every day from Monday to Friday.

The Sensory Impairment Team would like to find out more about what people want from the service. To share your thoughts, please take a few minutes to answer some questions in this online survey:

For any more information, please contact the team on:

SMS text: 07775 646671
Telephone: 0117 9036648
Minicom: 0117 9224590
Fax: 0117 9224530

Affected by tinnitus? You’re not alone

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What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the experience of hearing sounds in the ear, which have no external source. These can be a range of different sounds such as ringing, whooshing, humming or buzzing. For some people the sounds can be continuous and for others they may come and go.

According to the British Tinnitus Association, 30% of people experience tinnitus at some point in their lives and the number of people who live with persistent tinnitus is approximately 10%.

What causes tinnitus?

The causes of tinnitus are not yet fully understood but two-thirds of people who have the condition also have a hearing loss and so this may be a factor. When there is hearing loss, the amount of signals sent to the brain change and it is thought that the hearing part of the brain then tries hard to gather more information from the ear. This extra information may create sounds, which are what we experience as tinnitus.

However, not everyone with tinnitus has hearing loss and it can also be triggered by stress, exposure to loud noises and problems such as an ear infection or wax blocking the ear.

Tinnitus Week

This week is Tinnitus Week and this year the British Tinnitus Association are highlighting the isolation that tinnitus can cause. A recent survey by the organisation revealed more that 60% of people with tinnitus feel isolated. If you are affected by the condition, please know that you are not alone and there is help and support out there.

Getting support

Start off by talking to your GP if you think you may have tinnitus. They will check your ears and refer you to a specialist for tests and support if required.

You may like to talk to other people with the condition and in Bristol there is the Bristol Tinnitus Support Group, which meets every two months in Bradley Stoke.

For more information and advice on managing tinnitus, take a look at the British Tinnitus Association website, which has a range of excellent resources available.

Workshop on hearing loss, older men and loneliness

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We are pleased to be supporting Dr Paul Willis of the University of Bristol in his research into how older men experience and combat loneliness in later life.

On 31st January we will be hosting a workshop led by Dr Willis, which will be an opportunity for older men who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing to come together with service providers to explore the issue of loneliness and social isolation.

This free workshop will be held here at the Vassall Centre between 9.45am and 1pm and lunch is provided.

BSL interpreters will be available throughout the event.

During the workshop participants will:

1. Receive an overview of emerging findings from the Older Men at the Margins Project at the University of Bristol: a 2-year research project exploring older men’s (65+ years) experiences of loneliness and social isolation from hard-to-reach or seldom heard groups (gay men who are single and living alone, men with hearing loss, men who are carers for significant others, men who are single and living alone in rural/ urban areas). The project team has completed over 100 interviews with men from these different groups living across South West and West England. The project is in collaboration with Age UK and funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research to 2019.

2. Hear from Age UK (national charity for older people) about some of their current initiatives to combat loneliness and social isolation amongst older people in England.

3. Have an opportunity to explore and identify together current gaps in service provision in helping to reduce loneliness and social isolation amongst men with hearing loss and what new initiatives may be needed.

If you would like to take part in the workshop and share your experiences, please sign up online by going to this Eventbrite page.

NB. If you are a man 65+ years of age, your travel expenses to this event can be reimbursed. Please contact Alex Vickery by email at or telephone 0117 954 6773.

Come and join us at our AGM

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We warmly invite you to join us at our Annual General Meeting, which is on Thursday 22 March between 6 and 8pm.

The AGM will be held at Room 14, Veale Wasbrough Vizards LLP, Narrow Quay House, Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA.

This year we are delighted to welcome Ben Willis and Murray Holmes as our guest speakers.

Ben Willis is a lawyer and a partner at Veale Wasbrough Vizards, where he is Head of the Healthcare team. Ben will speak about his experience of becoming hard of hearing as an adult and how he has adapted to living with hearing loss.

Murray Holmes, who is a former Vice President of the British Deaf Association, will talk about his work and about current issues in the Deaf community.

During the evening we will also attend to regular AGM business and we hope you will be able to join us as we reflect on our progress over the last year and discuss our plans for the future.

Many thanks to Veale Wasbrough Vizards for kindly allowing us to host this year’s AGM at their office in central Bristol.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Call out for coffee morning volunteers

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We will soon be running fortnightly coffee mornings for Deaf and hard of hearing people in the Bristol area. We’re looking forward to launching the coffee mornings very soon and we’re now looking for volunteers to help us run these sessions, which are all about providing an opportunity for the deaf and hard of hearing community to socialise and share experiences.

The coffee mornings will be on a weekday morning at a café in central Bristol and we’re looking for volunteers who can welcome people, provide practical support and help to create a friendly relaxed environment.

Ideally we would like someone with knowledge of British Sign Language but this is not essential. Training will be provided and we can cover expenses for travel and refreshments.

If you have some free time available to get involved, we’d love to hear from you!
To find out more or to apply, please contact us by phone on 0117 9398653, by SMS text on 07749 313085 or by email at

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