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October 30, 2008

North Wales countryside walks boost for the deaf

From: Evening Leader - Wrexham,Wales,UK - Oct 30, 2008

By Tui Benjamin

DEAF people are to take part in walks across Wrexham and Flintshire, accompanied by guides fluent in sign language.

For the first time deaf people of all ages will be able to take part in British Sign Language (BSL) walks across North Wales.

Groundwork Wrexham and Flintshire established the project as part of its Mentro Allan access scheme after discovering that while many local deaf people want to explore the countryside and walk socially, they feared the isolation that joining a group who could not communicate with them could bring.

Now in its second year, the Mentro Allan project has organised a wide range of outdoor activities including cycling, canoeing, orienteering, tai chi and gardening for people with all sorts of physical and mental learning disabilities, involving 587 participants overall.

The project has recently been supported by a grant of £250,000 from the Big Lottery Fund and an extra £20,000 from the Countryside Council for Wales.

Sarah Massey, Mentro Allan project co-ordinator, said: "We are looking for volunteers able to sign in BSL who would be interested in training as volunteer walk leaders on a one-day free training course, and then set up walks locally at different times throughout the week."

There will be two open evening events on Wednesday, November 12, at AVOW in Wrexham from 7pm to 9pm, and on Thursday, November 13, at Flint Pavilion from 7-9pm, for people interested in finding out further information. BSL interpreters will be attending both meetings and refreshments will be available.

For further information email Sarah

©2008 North Wales Newspapers Ltd