Last year, we awarded a £8,000 grant to Deaf-SELF, a charity that focuses on enhancing the independence of deaf or profoundly hearing-impaired children and young people aged six to 25 in South East London. Our grant supports their holiday Playscheme, which offers recreational and social activities for those who may face barriers accessing mainstream services.

Without this provision, many of these children would not have access to suitable holiday schemes, especially those who prefer to communicate using British Sign Language (BSL). Beneficiaries of Deaf-SELF come from a diverse demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, with many of them living in the much more deprived areas of London.

The charity recently provided us with an update on the impact of their work, following a survey they conducted with parents of the Playscheme beneficiaries. The scheme is proven to be very successful, with 93 per cent of parents agreeing that their children are happier at the playscheme. Other results include:

  • 100 per cent of the parents believe their child benefits from spending time with Deaf role models at the Playscheme
  • 83 per cent of parents believe their child’s social life has improved since joining the playscheme
  • The Playscheme service received a 4.9 satisfaction rate out of five, as did the staff rating for being ‘friendly and helpful’
  • The activities provided received an average rating of 4.72 for being interesting and suitable for the children
  • The average rating of the children’s confidence increased from 3.52 before joining the scheme, to 4.59 afterwards

The survey also included touching testimonials from family members who have also benefitted from the service, thanks to the positive changes they’ve observed in their children.

My child started Playscheme when he was eight years old. He is now 12, he couldn’t speak or sign and only had two deaf friends. He now has a community of friends, adults, and experience and signs and his language has grown from strength to strength.

My daughter has been attending Deaf-SELF for many years now and I can honestly say it has been a godsend. The staff are amazing. She is the only deaf child in the family so having such support and being with her deaf peers during the holidays is great. I honestly don’t know what my family would do without it. Thank you so much. You’ve changed our lives.

Last month, we were fortunate enough to welcome Steven and Scott from Deaf-SELF to our office for a session on hearing impairments as part of our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiative. During this session, Steven presented and shared valuable tips on deaf awareness, while Scott provided interpretation, allowing our staff to learn more about the Playscheme and its benefits through BSL.


Steven, Deaf-SELF Coordinator presenting to MCF staff

As our funding for this scheme reaches its half way point, we look forward to another successful year, which will see more children with hearing impairments thriving in their communication and social skills, thanks to the work of Deaf-SELF.

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