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19 December 2011 (VOL 9 WEEK 51)

Access policy for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deafened, Deafblind
Over the past number of years, our service has been campaigning for improved access to Government Depts, Public Bodies and to services funded by the Government. Over the years, we have seen organisations such as the Institute of Technology excel and offer a best practice model for access for our clients. On the other hand, we have seen other agencies fail and refuse to provide any form of access. With the current economic climate, the issue of access is still high on the agenda for organisations such as the ITT but other agencies are further alienating and discriminating our client group. This is a clear breach of their obligations under The Equal Status Acts and The Disability Act.

During the past two years, we have been working with the HSE nationally to develop an access policy. This is slowly going through the various stages of the HSE and we hope to see a national policy introduced in time. The national Sign Language Interpreting Service has convened a working group to look at the HSE draft policy, which we co-authored.

In the meantime, we have produced a draft generic policy, which may be of use to Government Depts, Public Bodies and service providers. It could also be of use to those in the Deaf, hard of hearing, deafened and deafblind community. You may be working with service providers that could benefit from a policy being introduced and implemented. For those on our email lists, the policy is attached. For those who read our notes in local media, please contact us and we will send you a copy. The policy is written in a way that it can be easily amended to suit your needs or the needs of an organisation. If you want further clarification on it, please contact us. If you use the policy in any way, we would appreciate it if you could make reference to our service in some way.

Please download 'Sign Language Interpreting and Communication Support Access Policy (KDRC)' in Word Document Download (size 102KB).

Supporter of the year awards
Last week, we shared with you some feedback we got from this years award winners. This week, in an email to us, Cork Deaf Association said the following: "It will mean a lot to staff - they work so very hard. It means even more because the CDA has huge respect for the KDRC. That's not lip service -you are known for getting things done and for your genuine commitment to Deaf and hard of hearing issues. It really is an honour to be honoured by the KDRC! Thank you again and here's to another year of 'getting things done".

On their facebook page, CDA went on to say, "The Kerry Deaf Resource Centre (KDRC) has honoured the Cork Deaf Association with an Outstanding Contribution Award for services to Deaf people in Kerry. This means the world to us and we can't thank you all enough. The dedication and incredibly hard work of KDRC Manager Willie White and all of the staff continue to inspire us as an agency. Thank you!!"

On behalf of KDRC, we would like to thank everyone for their kind words- it means alot to us too.

Christmas eve mass with sign language interpreter
Veronica White from the National Chaplaincy for Deaf People will be interpreting a vigil mass in the Dominican's Church in Tralee at 7.30pm. As this will be a busy mass, it is advisable to get in early. A seat towards near the altar is advisable for sign language users.

Thank you to staff/volunteers
We are closing up for Christmas holidays at 5pm on the 22nd and will reopen on the 4th of January. We would like to thank our staff and volunteers for their commitment and hard work this year.

With funding cuts and increased demands for services, this has been a challenging year for our service. The dedication and work ethic of our current staff has been outstanding. We appreciate all your hard work.

Have a lovely Christmas and best wishes for 2012. Looking forward to working with you all again in the New Year.

Lastly, to all our clients and service users, we would like to thank you also. A special word of thanks to all those who have given us chocolates, biscuits, cookies, gifts, donations and cards- it is greatly appreciated.
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12 December 2011 (VOL 9 WEEK 50)

Supporter of the Year Awards
We wanted to share some feedback we received from two of our Supporter of the Year Award winners.

Ciara Sheehan on Facebook said, "I would like to thank the Kerry Deaf Resource Centre for the award I received for Supporter of the Year Award. I'm honoured and privileged. I absolutely adore sign language. I use it all day and all night. I think it’s very important to have it to communicate with the Deaf community. I love meeting people that are Deaf and signing with them. Signing is very rewarding. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people that work in the Kerry Deaf Resource Centre so so much for all the hard and fantastic work they do. They should be recognised more often and I would also like to thank them for all the help they gave me, helping me with my sign language. Thank ye ever so much again."

Fr. Stephen Monaghan (Ethiopia/Ireland Deaf project) on Facebook said, "This project is built on team spirit and common vision, it's great that so many people feel drawn to supporting the project. Its great that all of them have been recognised in this way, I will pass on this good news to the Board of VLM" (Vincentian Lay Missionaries).

Subtitling, sign language and audio description on Irish TV
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) on the 6th of December launched a public consultation on proposed new rules to govern the level of subtitling, sign language and audio description that Irish television broadcasters must offer to the public. The new rules will update the current Access Rules in place since 2005.

Further information on the full details of the consultation and how you can provide input to the process can be found at www.bai.ie.

Changes to hearing aid grant
This week Minister Joan Burton announced in her 2012 Budget speech changes to the Treatment Benefit Grant (PRSI Grant) for hearing aids. The Treatment Benefit Scheme is available to workers and retired people who have made the required number of PRSI contributions.

The frequency of the grant for hearing aids will change from 2 years to 4 years. The maximum grant available for one hearing aid will change from €760 to €500 and from €1,520 to €1,000 for two hearing aids.

These changes will come into place in January 2012. Your hearing aid Audiologist can explain your grant entitlements to you and if you act fast you may still be able to take advantage of the current scheme before it changes in the New Year.

IDS Better Together Award
A crowd of over 250 packed out the Liffey Hall at the Convention Centre Dublin on the 1st of December to witness the announcement of the winners of the 2011 Better Together Awards.

The Irish Deaf Society won the category for "Organisation with staff with a turnover less than €500,000" and scooped a prize of €3,000. The IDS came up with a very clever video as part of the nomination process and its shows many well-known people in Ireland doing the sign language alphabet. To view their video, go to www.bettertogether.ie/content/irish-deaf-society-better-together.

Congratulations and best wishes to the IDS for their award.

Closing up for christmas holidays
Our service will close up on Wednesday the 21st of December at 5 pm and will re-open on the 4th of January.

If you require a Sign Language Interpreter for emergency purposes during the Christmas period, interpreters from Kerry will be call via the SLIS Emergency number at 087 6725179.
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5 December 2011 (VOL 9 WEEK 49)

Christmas Party
Our Christmas party was held on Sunday in Stokers Lodge in Tralee. A huge thank you to everyone who showed up on the day. We had a great time. Our sincere thanks to the staff of Stokers Lodge who treated us so well. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was very festive and cheerful.

Our thanks to all our staff for organising the event and for securing spot prizes. Everyone in attendance went home with spot prizes, which was great. We also celebrated two special birthday's for Noelle Reidy and Nicola Walsh.

Our thanks too to Fr. Placid Nolan and Veronica White for organising our monthly mass just before the Christmas celebrations began.

Deaf Supporter of the Year Awards
MARY FELL was acknowledged for supporting Deaf people in Co. Kerry. She is a frequent visitor to Deaf clients who are in residential care and accompanies Deaf clients on trips to Dublin and other parts of Ireland. She was recognised for her commitment to making sure Deaf people are not left out and not isolated.

MARK O'BRIEN was recognised for his personal achievements over the past few years. He was also recognized for his ongoing commitment to participating in events with our service. These include art & craft classes, monthly masses, participating in trips to Cork and elsewhere for Deaf related events etc. Everyone appreciates his good humour and friendly approach.

Outstanding Contribution Award
CORK DEAF ASSOCIATION were recognised for including Deaf people from Kerry in a range of events and activities- Santa visit to Fota, Eurodisney, events for elderly Deaf, monthly mass etc. They were also recognised for facilitating the MSAA/RAGS equipment application process. KDRC greatly appreciates all their support.

NATIONAL CHAPLAINCY FOR DEAF PEOPLE were recognised for funding the Lay Chaplaincy position for Co. Kerry. The work of the NCDP has greatly benefited the local community and has enabled Deaf people to access Chaplaincy and religious events. The outreach service has also been of benefit to Deaf people who are in residential care settings, hospital or convalescing at home.

IRELAND/ETHIOPIA DEAF PROJECT is being honoured for its dedication to building a Deaf Centre in Ethiopia. In particular, we want to recognise the vision and commitment of Fr. Stephen Monaghan- without his vision, this would not be a reality. The award also recognises the work of the Vincentian Lay Missionaries in Ireland and in Ambo, Ethiopia. It also reflects the work of those who have travelled to Ambo and to those who have provided workshops and carried out a needs assessment. It also recognised all those who have financially contributed to the work. This project is clearly built on team spirit and a common vision. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported this worthwhile venture.

Hearing Supporter of the Year Awards
JACK O'LEARY RACE NIGHT- the family, friends and supporters of the Jack O’Leary Race night were given this award for organising a fantastic fundraiser for our Centre. This event raised significant funds for our service. This enabled our service to upgrade our fire and burglar alarm system, purchase a laptop for use in sign language classes with clients and families. It also allowed us to purchase whiteboards, plant boxes, first aid supplies and a range of office supplies. We are very grateful to everyone who supported this event.

LAURA MERRIGAN was recognised for her extended work experience with our service. Laura worked with a number of our clients and arranged activities for them in our Centre. This included literacy support, computer tuition and arts & crafts. She has been a great asset to our clients and staff and is well liked by everyone.

CIARA SHEEHAN was recognised for her commitment to learning and using sign language. Ciara uses sign language at every opportunity she has with Deaf friends and when she meets people from the Deaf community. She is a strong supporter of the Deaf community and always has a friendly smile and warm attitude. Keep up the good work, Ciara.

EUD Surveys
The European Union of the Deaf has just established two important surveys on their website. It is important that Deaf people from all EUD member countries have opportunity to fill in the surveys.

The one survey is about Active Ageing and the Deaf community. The EUD would like to have more information about how Deaf people live in each EUD member countries. They will use this information in their work, and at the workshop and seminar which will be held in Copenhagen next year. This is an important survey as 2012 is the European Year of Active Ageing. To view the survey, go to: www.eud.eu/Active_Ageing_&_the_Deaf_Community_Surve-i-347.html.

The other survey is on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The EUD would like to have more information about how each EUD member countries works with the UNCRPD and parallel report. To view the survey, go to www.eud.eu/Implementation_of_UNCRPD_survey-i-350.html.

The deadline for both surveys is the 11th of December 2011.

Hands On - Feedback Wanted
Hands On, which is shown on Sundays on RTE One, is almost half way through their 16th series. Hands On would like to know what you think of it so far? Are there any Hands On items that you particularly liked? Any items you felt has made an impact? Or any improvement that needs to be made?

Hands on want your feedback, as it’s your programme, your say.! Your feedback is so important to them and will help them to make Hands On even better!

If you have any comments, even just a few sentences, send it by email to camilla@mindthegapfilms.com.
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