IM this article to a friend!

March 6, 2006

Train to be the friend of a young deaf person

From: ic Wales, United Kingdom - Mar 6, 2006

Madeleine Brindley, Western Mail

THE trauma of being deaf or hard of hearing will be eased for children across Wales with help from a pioneering scheme to encourage volunteering.

The Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) has been given a £7,000 Millennium Volunteers grant towards its Peer Befrienders project, which trains young people to provide counselling and befriending for children with hearing difficulties.

The RNID is one of 13 organisations across Wales to be awarded grants totalling £75,875 from the Millennium Volunteers programme, which helps 16-to- 24-year- olds make a difference in their communities while improving their own experiences and skills.

One-in-seven people experiences deafness or hearing difficulties at some point in their lives - about 430,000 people in Wales.

Liz Thomas, RNID Wales fundraising manager, said, "Sadly, many of these people will at times be left feeling frightened, isolated, discriminated against and disempowered because of their hearing difficulties.

"It's also well-documented that there's a high correlation between deafness and mental health problems, and 40% to 50% of young deaf children experience emotional, behavioural and adjustment problems, compared to 25% of children in the hearing population.

"Our befrienders scheme gives the young person someone with whom they can discuss their problems in a less formal way, improves social skills and self confidence and provides a positive role model for both the deaf young person and their family, showing that deafness need not be a barrier to participation and an active, fulfilling life."

© Trinity Mirror Plc 2006
icWalesTM is a trade mark of Trinity Mirror Plc.