Plea for volunteers to support charity on Parkside

  • Date

    Tue 14 May 19

Children learning sign language

After moving to the Parkside Office Village The Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) is hoping their close proximity to the University will bring them many benefits – including new volunteers.

One of the leading charities working with deaf people in the UK, RAD promotes equality through the provision of accessible services that meet the needs and aspirations of deaf people, including events and practical support for children and teenagers through to career guidance and training for those seeking employment or wanting to progress their careers.

Communication is one of the biggest barriers and causes of social isolation for deaf people, meaning access to services or leisure attractions can be a real challenge. To address this RAD also supports mainstream service providers and organisations to become more accessible through Deaf Awareness Training, translation services and a Deaf Aware Quality Assurance Scheme.

The majority of RAD’s clients are profoundly deaf people for whom British Sign Language (BSL) is their first, or preferred language. Many of the charity’s 100+ staff are also deaf and all of them are expected to learn the basics of BSL within a few years of joining the organisation.

The charity, which has been in existence for nearly 180 years, moved its headquarters from London to Colchester about 20 years ago. Since moving to Parkside, earlier this year, the priorities have been developing the fund-raising team and attracting more volunteers.

Lesley Frearson, Director of Finance and Administration and Joint Chief Executive Officer, explained: “One of the big advantages of moving to this site is the potential for joint working with the University. Our Business Support Manager has been very busy establishing links and looking for opportunities for working together. We have already had some interest from students interested in volunteering for us, but we are always looking for more.

“We also want to see what support services we can offer to deaf students, and potentially we could run BSL courses for staff and students, perhaps through the Languages for All programme.”

Staff, as well as students, are being encouraged to volunteer, with opportunities ranging from fund-raising and admin roles through to working alongside the charity’s staff delivering services, such as advice sessions or a befriending event. Registrar, Bryn Morris, said: “We are pleased to welcome the RAD to Parkside and it is great to see so many connections being made between the charity and the University.”

Anyone wanting to volunteer should contact the Business Support Manager, Nikki Rogers: