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Trust helps deaf people overcome barriers with new photography group

A new photography group for deaf people has been set up by The Southern Health and Social Care Trust in partnership with Arts Care.

It is open to people living in the Newry and Mourne area.

There are 300,000 people in Northern Ireland who are deaf, have a hearing loss or tinnitus. deaf photo

And this photography group aims to offer people with hearing loss to develop an interest, while reducing social isolation and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.

Pat McAteer, Specialist Services Manager for the Trust, explained: “Having a hearing impairment can be a huge barrier for people, making it much more difficult to do things that many of us  would take for granted, like pursuing an education, working or even just enjoying leisure activities.

“Our Community Access Service aims to help people with hearing loss to avail of a wide range of activities to fulfil their interests or ambitions, whether they be in terms of training, their career or socially.

“The Community Access Officer is an advocate for clients, working with other statutory and community organisations to promote equality and help ensure that they can get the most out of life.”

Paul Davison, who is an aspiring photographer, has joined the group.

He said: “I love photography and I was keen to learn more about it but I wasn’t sure where I could go to learn or how I would be supported. This photography group has given me great support and an opportunity to develop my skills.”

Gwen Stevenson, Arts Care, artist in residence for the Trust and photography class tutor, added: “I have been working as an artist in residence with the Trust for a few years and I have worked with people with a range of disabilities but this is the first time I have had the opportunity to work exclusively with deaf people in a group setting and I am overwhelmed by their skill and enthusiasm.”

The Community Access Service is working with a wide range of clients from across Armagh, Dungannon, Craigavon, Banbridge and Newry and Mourne, to help them overcome their hearing difficulties to access activities and services.

The photography class takes place on Thursday mornings 10.30 – 12.30 in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre Newry. For more information contact: Eilish Kilgallon, Community Access Officer for Deaf People, email: eilish.kilgallon@southerntrust.hscni.net Tel: 07841102251

Picture: Members and organisers of the new Photography Group for Deaf people in the Newry and Mourne area Hugh McCartan,  Angela Mallon, Paul Davidson, John Leneghan and Sandra McCartan with Eilish Kilgallon Community Access Officer and Gwen Stevenson  Arts Care Artist in Residence.

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