We have helped other charities grow their provision by funding new or refurbishing existing spaces where deaf children and young people live and learn.
We have supported two important projects at Doncaster Deaf Trust and the Communication Specialist College Doncaster. Through the College, the Trust helps young people, aged 16-25, to gain vocational qualifications alongside developing their personal independence. Some of this support is delivered within Darley Lodge, a residential building where young people learn life skills such as cookery and how to budget and shop for essentials. In recent years, the Lodge had become tired and dated. Initially, the Trust had planned a rebuild, but changed their focus in response to the pandemic.
‘Plans shifted to fully refurbish the Lodge and create separate bubbles within the property,’ said the Trust’s fundraiser Ian Proudler. ‘This meant the entire Lodge would not have to isolate when Covid arrived, which it did. This has worked so well in protecting our students, their wellbeing and education, that we have remained open throughout the pandemic.’
The refurbishment has included a new roof and windows, and also carpets and soft furnishings that the young people and staff chose together. The improvements are welcome: ‘Feels like at home,’ said one young person.
We have also supported the College’s new barista café. Barista work is popular with the students, and the College community worked together to convert an old building into a vibrant café.
We have funded a new Family Centre at Linden Lodge Charitable Trust, a school for children with physical and sensory disabilities. The room is for the use of deaf and deaf blind children, many with multiple and complex needs, and their families. It has been named in honour of our friend and supporter Lawrence Baker.
We have had a long relationship with The Elizabeth Foundation, a national charity for deaf babies and toddlers. Over recent years, we have contributed significantly to the Hampshire-based organisation by funding a new play area, memorial garden, solar panels, and a minibus with carport. We also helped to fund The Elizabeth Foundation’s new hearing test centre which has been named Ovingdean Building in tribute to the staff, students and supporters of Ovingdean Hall School. The development includes a purpose-built Family Chat Zone, facilities for their Home Learning Programme and a space for events. ‘We are enormously grateful for the support OHF has given us. Quite simply we cannot thank you enough.’
Since 2012, we have provided a house for the use of Further Education students at Hamilton Lodge School and College in Brighton. ‘Ovingdean House has provided us with a home that gives students more independence,’ the Head of Development told us. ‘They gain greater confidence as they become adults thanks to this lovely house.’
In 2015, we funded equipment in the school’s new Information Technology suite.
We have funded a sensory room in Bradbury House at Seashell Trust in Stockport, Greater Manchester. The Trust works with children and young people who have profound and multiple learning disabilities. The sensory room is fitted with a number of features which allow young people to relax and explore, including waterbeds, colourful padded floors, bubble tubes, light projectors and music. The room helps communicate and motor skills, recognise colours and track movement.
We have funded a number of rooms at St. John’s Catholic School for the Deaf in Boston Spa, Yorkshire including two new sensory rooms and the refurbishment of the school library and music technology suite. The sensory rooms are small informal spaces where children can relax in ball pools and interact with sound and light systems.
The new music technology suite includes rooms for teaching and performing, a recording booth and computers where students can digitally remix their work.
The library is now a modern, colourful and airy space which encourages reading for pleasure, and individual and group school work. ‘It’s a cosy place to curl up with a book,’ said Hannah, Year 12.
During 2020, we funded the resurfacing of the school’s outdoor sports court. ‘Please pass on our sincere thanks for the grant to resurface our outdoor area. It has been an absolute godsend,’ said Head Teacher Ann Bradbury. ‘Our students can use it for breaks, but also for PE as a large nonslip area.’