Our group was established by parents who have children with a hearing impairment over 25 years ago. It is still run by volunteer parents today. We organise fun events, provide a great network of families, hold fund raisers and offer information and support to deaf and hearing impaired children and their families in the Swindon & North Wiltshire area through our free membership scheme. We also work closely with audiology and other professional organisations involved in the day to day care of our children. We advise and provide feedback on the services they offer and have professional members on our committee to ensure we are providing a full all-round offering and support for hearing impaired children and their families.
Our group has supported many families since it's creation in 1993 . Some of the children join us in adulthood to volunteer - We welcome all our supporters.
GRANTS TO SUPPORT DEAF CHILD MEMBERS
We hold regular events for all ages and always welcome your ideas and suggestions of what you would like to see. For our upcoming events, visit the EVENTS page.
Make a donation to Swindon and North Wilts
Deaf Children's Society through JustGiving
we continuE with our support and focus on COMMUNICATION.
Vocabulary and communication skills are important, regardless of a child’s hearing status or communication mode, and learning a sign language has many benefits in terms of supporting communication with a child with hearing loss.
Using sign language alongside spoken language can reduce frustration and improve self esteem, may be beneficial to the development of verbal skills and could also help to improve literacy. It can also help with understanding speech and can be particularly useful at times when a deaf child is not using hearing aids or cochlear implants. It also gives the ability to communicate with other Deaf children and adults whose first language is BSL.
In previous years the DCS has offered the opportunity for members to undertake an online introductory BSL course, which covered Fingerspelling, Numbers, Colours, Deaf Awareness, Introductions, Family, Descriptions, Hobbies and Leisure, Time, Money, Days, Months and Seasons, Food and Drink, and Conversation.
Members have also taken advantage of funded places on a Signalong course, a key word sign-supported communication system based on BSL that is used in some early years settings in the Swindon area. In 2021 we will be continuing to support our members to undergo training in Signalong and BSL.
If you would like to know more about what we are currently offering to our members, then please feel free to contact us.
Annual General Meeting held Wednesday 19th May 2021
The 2021/22 committee is as follows:
- Chairperson: Millie Green- Millie's daughter, Tabitha, is now 11 years old and has a bi-lateral sensori-neural loss – She has really enjoyed taking part in the events. She has met some great new friends and she loves that she does not feel alone with her deafness. Millie is really proud of our achievements over the past 7½ years and how we have all bonded together as a team and really established our roles and responsibilities with every committee member having unique skills to bring to the charity. We breathed the life back into the DCS, increased our membership and set up a successful, professional and active charity – It has been an amazing journey with a high in 2019-20 when we were amazingly supported by Swindon’s Mayor and smashed all fundraising records. Millie has previously held the roles of Chairperson, Secretary and most recently Treasurer. This last year, she is proud to have introduced the new ‘member grant’ to offer individual support to our deaf members, which is even more critical with the global pandemic we are facing and the struggles each and every one of us has had to endure through 2020 and into 2021. She has once again stepped into role of Chair to ensure the charity’s future and stability and ensure we have a strong DCS in place to support our families in both the short and long term led by a strong and united committee.
- Secretary: Emily Beardshall- Emily has two children, James and Katie. Katie is 4 years old and has sensorineural deafness in her right ear, she has also had glue ear in both ears. Swindon and North Wilts DCS were great when Katie was born and failed her newborn hearing screen offering her advice and support and she has been involved with the charity over the last two years as a volunteer and commitee member. Emily has helped run events and supported the Mayor’s fundraising committee. In the last year she has supported more of the administrative side of the charity. She also works in the health service and believes that ensuring deaf children get the best access and services possible is so important for them and their families. Emily has BSL Level 2 and hopes to learn more sign language in the future. She is really interested in finding out what our members all want from the group going forwards.
- Treasurer: Natasha Gallagher - Natasha has been a part of the DCS committee for over 7 years, 3 of these as secretary. Natasha has a background in banking, so the role of Treasurer is a good fit for her skills. She has really enjoyed being a part of shaping the DCS to what it is today and is very proud of everything the current committee and previous committees have achieved. Collectively the committee has a vision for the future of the DCS that she fully supports. Natasha would like to be a part of a strong leadership team and committee, that will work together to ensure that the DCS remains viable and relevant to our members.Her son Lucian is aged 9, he is deaf with bilateral cochlear implants. He attends a mainstream school, who provide great support in addition to all of the professionals involved with his care and education, such as his Teacher of the Deaf and the Southampton Auditory Implant Service. The one thing he doesn’t have much access to through school is regular contact with other deaf children like himself. This is why she is so passionate about the DCS, to provide these opportunities for him to be able to socialise and engage with his peers, and to ensure that other families have access to this also.
- Safeguarding Officer: Salim Suleman- Salim is the Head of Audiology Services and Newborn Hearing Screening Programme Team Leader based at the GWH and work closely with hearing impaired children. He has been part of a committee that has developed such a great approach and vision on what they want to provide for the deaf children in Swindon and North Wiltshire. Salim believes a local DCS is vitally important to support deaf children and their families in the area and give children the chance to meet socially outside of school. He wants to continue to contribute in ensuring strong links between Audiology and the local DCS. Salim has agreed to become the DCS's Safeguarding Officer.
- Committee Member: Sarah-Jane Fletcher- Sarah-Jane has been on the committee since April 2017. She works at the Link Centre, Swindon and enjoys all types of leisure activities. She would love to continue to help organise activities for the children to do. Since being on the committee, she won the ‘Big Thank You’ award in 2019 from the NDCS for my contribution to volunteering for the DCS and was recognized for her ability to always be enthusiastic and positive and her offers to get ‘stuck in’ and take on lots of tasks for our charity. She has successfully launched our annual ice-skating event, which has the biggest turnout of our events every year. She has also organised the Swindon Wildcats ice hockey team outings we have had in the past. The DCS has helped her grow in confidence and she even threw herself out of an aeroplane from 10,000 feet to help fundraise for us in 2019! She has loved every minute of being a part of the committee.
- Committee Member - Louis Butcher - Louis has a best friend who's daughter wears hearing aids and he has learnt so much about children with hearing loss through this connection. Louis has been involved as a volunteer for some of the events the DCS has hosted in the past and has been an amazing help with organising them. Louis has joined the committee once again to continue to support with event running and organisation.
Meeting minutes are available on request- Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with 'AGM 2021 Meeting Minutes' as the subject.
With the Mayor’s fundraising last year and considerable funds being donated and fundraised for our charity, we are very excited to announce our new Individual Grant to support our deaf child members and to support/advance their educational outcomes.
The grant will be open to our current family members only to support a deaf child member.
The committee will be responsible for giving full consideration to each and every application and the decision will be made according to the guidelines of the charity and by committee vote. We cannot guarantee every application will be approved, but we really hope to be able to make a real difference to all our deaf child members.
The types of requests the Committee will consider:
- Assistance with the purchase of specialist hearing equipment which will benefit an individual member
- The provision of funding for special courses that will support the advancement of the child’s education
- Support for professional assessments
To find out more, please visit our Member Support section to download the Grant Application Form and guidelines.
THERE ARE OVER 100 LOCAL GROUPS AFFILIATED TO THE NDCS, ACROSS THE UK, USUALLY RUN BY PARENTS AND CARERS OF DEAF CHILDREN.
introducing your dcs committee
GRANTS TO SUPPORT DEAF CHILD MEMBERS
mission & vision
Our vision is of a world without barriers for every deaf child. We provide information and support for families with deaf children through our free membership scheme.