DEAFvibe hosted the annual Hart Awards at the May DEAFvibe cafe on 13th May 2017.

The annual event, sponsored by DEAFvibe chair Julie HART recognises the commitment and dedication of DEAFvibe’s volunteers. Not only that, those people and organisations who have supported DEAFvibe in their mission to achieve accessibility for Deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing people and their families in Staffordshire and beyond are recognised.

The promotion of equality and awareness in society cannot be achieved by outside agencies alone and DEAFvibe is proud to see that its volunteers work with other public and private organisations in order to find solutions to the blocks to accessibility that those with hearing loss experience.

This year’s finalists in the Hart awards represent both

volunteers from with DEAFvibe and staff from partner agencies who have supported equality and accessibility.

DEAFvibe would like to express heartfelt thanks to all of the people who volunteer their time on a regular basis as they are the core of a supportive network and the driving force behind raising the standards of equality, access and fairness for Deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people locally and nationally.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Winner: Paul Burton – for attending many events and focus groups on behalf of DEAFvibe. Paul said he was grateful and surprised by the award and pledges to continue his support.

Runner Up: Ronnie Bobb-Bryan – for her long-term support of DEAFvibe. Ronnie states she feels its a privilege to volunteer with DEAFvibe and loves the new friends she made as a result.

Outstanding Contribution to DEAFvibe

Winner: Kay Challinor – for setting up and running the VIBE group. Kay was in shock to be presented with this award, but family and friends were proud to see her work recognised.

Joint Winner: Andrew Dawson – for his tireless dedication to DEAFvibe and his hard work. Andrew pledges to continue to work hard to support DEAFvibe as it makes such a difference to people.

DEAFvibe Rising Star

Winner: Lily Burgess – 11 year old Lily helped raise funds for DEAFvibe by using her new found signing skills to join in with raising funds with Visual Frequencies sign singing group.

Student of the Year

Winner: Keele University medical students – Celia, Charles, Sandesh and William – for their passion and commitment to learning about deafness while on placement with DEAFvibe.

DEAFvibe Chair’s Special Recognition Awards

ASSIST – their award was collected by Mandy Tucker in recognition of the interpreting agency’s long term support of people with deafness and other disabilities in Staffordshire and also to recognise their developing of the OCN Level 3 Deafblind assessors course.

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust (NSCHT) – for their hard work in improving mental health services in North Staffordshire for deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people. The NSCHT signed up to the deaf charter and are working hard to make a difference.

Melanie Leece – Melanie is a popular BSL interpreter and long-term supporter of the Deaf community in Staffordshire. Melanie’s dedication to translating Christmas and summer songs in to BSL and teaching Visual Frequencies to sign them meant that the Christmas sign singing in 2016 saw the largest ever numbers in the Visual Frequencies choir and raised the largest amount of funds for DEAFvibe yet. Melanie wanted to acknowledge the dedication of the rest of the choir.