Mark Baggley, one of our Strengthening DPULOs Programme Ambassadors, recently visited Rotherham Deaf Futures. They have recently been awarded a Facilitation Fund grant of £13,400 to develop their organisation through a number of areas, including developing a business plan, capacity training, book keeping and accountancy support, admin resource and for the production of a DVD for promoting their self-advocacy support.
The aim of Rotherham Deaf Futures is to develop as an organisation of deaf people to support each other, to ensure local services meet their needs and to develop new services as a disabled person’s user-led organisation (DPULO).
The organisation is being supported by RotherFed, a support agency for the voluntary sector. They helped the group put their bid together and continue to support them with book keeping, booking meeting rooms, etc.
One particular barrier that some deaf people and their groups can face is the lack of provision for sign language interpreters, palantypists, etc. This was recognised in Rotherham Deaf Futures’ Facilitation Fund bid and the funding awarded helps meet these access costs.
As a DPULOs Ambassador, I attended one of their group meetings and delivered a presentation (with assistance of a sign language interpreter). The group’s passion for improving services for their needs was evident. Questions were raised about how they can develop services from such small beginnings, how to develop a dialogue with service providers as well as more local issues about the use of video relay service that is making it difficult for members to access local services.
The project is a good example of how a voluntary sector organisation such as RotherFed can support what was initially a small enthusiastic group of disabled people and help develop it into a DPULO. The respect and understanding between RotherFed staff and Rotherham Deaf Futures was clearly noticeable and shows good promise for a successful future.
For more information, visit RotherFed’s website.