The City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, has awarded a grant of £180,000 to the Jewish Deaf Association (JDA). The grant will support the running of its Ageing Well Together day centre and towards their services for isolated, older Deaf or Deafblind British Sign Language (BSL) users.
Around 200 people are supported by the charity every year. The JDA was set up in 1951 to help older BSL users in the Jewish community, who often do not lip-read and have limited literacy- excluding them from mainstream services and wider society.
Today, services at the JDA include specialist hearing aid support and maintenance; a technology information centre; lip-reading classes; BSL training; and social activities including discussion groups and a book club. Services for parents of babies or children newly diagnosed as Deaf are also offered, while Deaf Awareness Training is delivered in schools and day centres.
Stress, anxiety and depression are particularly prevalent among the Deaf/Deafblind community and the Ageing Well Together day centre carefully match clients with volunteers to help spot problems and avert crises, minimising the likelihood of users suffering from these issues.
Alison Gowman, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:
“JDA is offering much-needed service to older BSL users, who often struggle to engage with mainstream welfare services. The charity provides a vital resource that reduces isolation and exclusion, improves physical and mental health and is often a lifeline for older deaf and deaf-blind people.
“City Bridge Trust is committed to supporting Londoners to make the city a fairer place to work and live. We are thrilled to have helped so many projects through the fund that are opening up incredible opportunities and enhancing lives.”
Brenda Sterne, a service user at the Jewish Deaf Association, added:
“Everyone at JDA is thrilled to have received this award from City Bridge Trust which will go towards providing the day centre and support services.
“Whilst JDA is here for everyone with hearing loss – of all ages, faiths and at all stages of life – this grant will benefit our most vulnerable clients. Many of them are severely and additionally disadvantaged by restricted mobility or learning difficulties, with some suffering from dementia. Without JDA’s help, they would lead lonely, isolated lives, remaining marginalised and unable to access vital information, advice, services and support.
“Thanks to this grant, JDA can continue to make sure that our older Deaf and Deafblind clients remain happy, healthy and active – safe and secure in the knowledge that they will be loved and cared for right until the end of their lives.”
City Bridge Trust is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.
Between September 1995 and March 2016, City Bridge Trust awarded 67 grants for a total amount of £2,506,375 to organisations based in Barnet.
It helps achieve the Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.