It’s Deaf Awareness Week and today (8 May) is National Day for Staff Networks, a day to celebrate all networks but in particular the Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing Network. Without hard work and the amazing and inspiring contribution of dedicated members none of our networks would exist so thank you to everyone for your continuing support and involvement.
The Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing Network was started in 2017 as a sub network to the Civil Service Disability Network and has gone from strength to strength. We now have our own internet page , Twitter account @CSDeafHHearing and regular quarterly meetings for members and friends to come together from across the UK for support and to find out what other departments are doing to support the deaf and hard of hearing.
Deaf Awareness Week is a reminder to us all of the challenges the deaf and those who suffer from hearing loss face day in day out. It is not 9 - 5. These challenges are faced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in many cases for life.
I have been privileged to meet many of the members of the Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing Network. They are all lovely, amazing and inspiring people from different departments and different grades whose passion is to make life for other civil servants with deafness or hearing loss a little easier and more inclusive when at work.
Having myself suffered from hearing loss and visual impairment for most of my life I am only too aware of some of the challenges to be met. It is truly breath-taking the way the people I meet through the network have not let their deafness or hearing loss define them. They have gone on to achieve great things, some in prominent roles and at a senior level within the Civil Service - examples to us all that being deaf or having a hearing loss does not stop you from following and fulfilling your dreams.
Over the last year the network has presented at several events, often with the invaluable assistance and support of CS Local. One of these was a session in London when people learnt to sign their own name. To celebrate Deaf Awareness Week have a go at signing your (or a colleagues) name, using Fingerspelling Alphabet Card.