We caught up with the Diocese of Guildford’s Sensory Inclusion Adviser, Tracey Wade, to find out how a Diocese-run project is helping the social inclusion of the hearing impaired. A video on the work of hearing champions is viewable below.
Hearing champions are volunteers from parishes who have been trained in basic hearing aid maintenance, offered to those in need through drop in, café style, hearing aid clinics. These clinics are social events for hearing aid users and provide a much needed local service to the community, which otherwise may not be available.
The hearing champions scheme was launched in the Diocese of Guildford in March 2013 as a practical response of the hear here project. The scheme currently runs in 44 parishes who host hearing aid clinics and has trained over 200 people in hearing aid maintenance.
Tracey Wade, sensory inclusion adviser for the diocese of Guildford, who founded the initiative said: “It was an honour to host 70 hearing champions to have their amazing work celebrated, they help hundreds of people across the diocese and it’s important to recognise their work.”
“Through hearing aid clinics, hearing champions offer a vital service to the community. Without the clinics people would have to venture much further to receive simple maintenance on the NHS, which for many isn’t possible and takes up valuable time and resources.”
“The vision which I had for the hearing aid clinics was that in addition to helping hearing aid users socialise, it would also give the church the opportunity to reach and meet people that wouldn’t normally come through the door.”
More information about hearing champions is available here.