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Helping deaf and blind improve lives.

Byline: By Amanda Crook

A project which aims to make the voices of deaf and deafblind people heard has won a major lottery grant.

The pounds 169,000 grant will boost initiatives to help deaf and blind people in Newcastle reach employment, education, health, leisure and social opportunities.

The money has been awarded to a team from Newcastle City Council, Newcastle Healthy City Project and Newcastle Deaflink

It will help deaf and blind people try to resolve the communication problems they face daily.

They want to have information available in GPs' surgeries, hospitals and on public transport. The money will provide one full-time worker, administration support and general running costs for more than three years.

Ian Graham, of Heaton, acting chairman for Newcastle Deaflink, the forum for deaf, deaf and blind, and hard-of-hearing people in Newcastle, welcomed the fund- ing.

He said: "We've waited a long time; now we can plan for the future and hopefully see an improvement in the lives of deaf, deafblind and hard-of-hearing people.

"We look forward to greater access to services in the city and to the future development of our own deaf centre.

"Our thanks to the Community Fund for the money and to the council, who have sustained our project for the last two years.

"This is great news, the best Christmas present any group can receive."

Members of Deaflink will work with support workers to try to push through reforms they want and generally raise awareness about the problems faced by the deaf and deafblind.

Cabinet member for health and social care Coun John O'Shea said the money would bolster a much-needed service in the city.

"It's very important that all our citizens have access to opportunities in our city. People who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing need special consideration as they can sometimes find it difficult to access all the services that are available to them.

"I'm delighted that by working together with our partners we are able to support people even more."
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Health
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 26, 2003
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