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https://civilservicelocal.blog.gov.uk/2020/05/03/happy-deaf-awareness-week-and-celebrating-our-networks/

Happy Deaf Awareness Week and Celebrating our networks

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Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing network

It’s Deaf Awareness Week and on 13 May it 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.

Picture of Network chair Simon Skerritt
Chair Simon Skerritt

Civil Service Local hear from chair Simon Skerritt for Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing network, who shares his story and explains why, during the coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever that we champion our diversity.

According to Action on Hearing Loss, one in six people in the UK have hearing loss. Therefore, Deaf Awareness Week during this week of May offers us all an opportunity to celebrate with and be inspired by our colleagues of all grades across the Civil Service with deafness and hearing loss, whom will simply not let their deafness or lack of hearing stop them from having the career they want to have in the Civil Service.

Simon's personal journey:

I have been hard of hearing for most of my life. I have worn teetubes, gromits and hearing aids for most of my life and have so many times gone home upset at the end of a day of work, because of being able to feel stupid or at the butt of jokes about my lack of hearing.

In 2017, I felt I wanted to change all that, not just for me but for others too. So, I formed the Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing Network.

One of the benefits of forming the Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing Network has been the opportunity to meet amazing and inspirational Civil Servants from across the UK in different departments and grades whom are deaf or hard of hearing, whom I would not normally have met. I have met Civil Servants whom have passed the Civil Service Fast Stream, Civil Servants whom regular present sessions on deaf awareness, Civil Servants whom themselves have created departmental networks and Civil Servants whom have reached Senior Civil Service level. All inspirational people whom will not let their deafness or hearing loss define them as people.

However, the Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing Network is not just about meeting like minded people, it is also about developing a network and a community of people committed to creating a culture in the Civil Service that is more inclusive for Civil Servants whom are deaf or hard of hearing.

Pleased to announce our network champion and how we operate:

To help us in our quest for inclusion, Debbie Alder, Director General Human Resources  of the Department of Work and Pensions has kindly agreed to be our Champion and help us to create a culture at all levels in the Civil Service that strives to give all Civil Servants whom are deaf or hard of hearing the opportunity to be who they want to be.

We have a quarterly meeting, which offers our network members from across the UK an opportunity to share the challenges they face but also the great initiatives going on in their departments and the opportunities that they have been able to undertake to inspire others to do the same.

Currently, the Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing Network is a proud sub network of the Civil Service Disability Network, has over 300 members from over 30 government departments and a Twitter following of in excess of 800 followers.

Our objectives are:

  • To increase awareness of deafness and hearing loss issues across the Civil Service.
  • To offer a forum to raise and address specific concerns related to deafness and hearing loss.
  • To link with the Civil Service Disability Network and establish a pool of role models to promote the challenges of deafness and hearing loss across the Civil Service.
  • To engage proactively with policy development, the Civil Service Disability Network, Civil Service Workplace Adjustment Team and other departmental networks as appropriate, to ensure consideration is given to deafness and hearing loss requirements at an early stage.
  • To support the Civil Service Disability Network (CSDN) as requested, including raising issues concerning deafness and hearing loss to the CSDN and working with it to implement and support policy changes.
  • Establish links with Diversity and Inclusion staff across the Civil Service, sharing best practice and providing mutual support where deafness and hearing loss issues arise.

Our network is not just about having Civil Servants whom are deaf or hard of hearing in it, we want everyone in the Civil Service to join us and our community so that together we can make a difference.

So, why not help the Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing network celebrate Deaf Awareness Week by joining our community and meeting some great new colleagues across the Civil Service.

Simply, email csdeafhardofhearing@gmail.com or follow the network on Twitter @CSDeafHHearing.

Being part of our network, does not necessarily mean you have to get involved in doing lots of things, even if you can only mention to one other colleague, that is enough and makes a big difference.

Thank you and Happy Deaf Awareness Week everyone

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2 comments

  1. Comment by June posted on

    During this period of uncertainly it has been good to be able to chat with a colleague each week using 'Teams' Video calling. We have laughed at my husband's need to try out some Jamie Oliver creations and also chatted about work. Hopefully it has helped her and I have certainly improved my sign language skills. Is there any plan to do a luchtime workshop to help the hearing communicate?

  2. Comment by Simon Skerritt posted on

    Hi June, thank you for your message. The network will look to undertake some awareness sessions in the future. You are more than welcome in the meantime to join the network to keep up to date with what we are doing. If you are interested, please email us at csdeafhardofhearing@gmail.com