Our aim is to create a community cafe/drop-in centre for Deaf British Sign Language users within Plymouth and the surrounding areas.

Project aim

Our aim is to create a community cafe/drop-in centre for Deaf British Sign Language users within Plymouth and the surrounding areas.

About the project

Blake Lodge Centre (Plymouth Deaf Association) has been running since 1897.  The centre currently provides a range of social activities for members, including regular bingo evenings, a club for older people, and an annual Christmas and Summer Fair. Other groups also use our building and work in partnership with Blake Lodge to provide activities for Deaf people, including the Deaf Church offering worship in BSL. The current aim is to make Blake Lodge Centre a place that Deaf British Sign Language users can attend and trust, where they can access advice and support from people who understand their culture, language and specific needs.

With the austerity cuts that the Government has been actioning, this has resulted in significant cuts in budgets and has led to there now being no sensory services for the Deaf community in Plymouth. With this in mind, Blake Lodge Centre is in the process of creating a drop-in service for the Deaf community in Plymouth. The drop-in service will provide support in areas such as employment advice, support for the elderly and general advice and support for the Deaf community. The rationale behind setting this up is based on research indicating that there is a lack of advice and support for people who are profoundly Deaf and for those who use British Sign Language as their first language, e.g. how to access interpreters for hospital visits, how to get support for job interviews, confusion over benefits and many other issues that affect the Deaf population. English is usually a second language for this community and this can be a barrier for accessing information (e.g. form filling).

Blake Lodge Centre is in need of a renovation to match the needs of the service and the community. With this in mind, we would like to create a Cafe/drop-in Centre, where people can meet to socialise as well as access advice. We are applying for the grant to develop our centre so that we are able to create a friendly environment where we can work to break down barriers for Deaf people within Plymouth. Your support will help us make a huge difference towards your local Deaf Community.

Please also visit our website to learn more about the services we offer: www.blakelodge.co.uk

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