Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Launch of new service for deaf people in East London

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Launch of new service for deaf people in East London

16th December 2015
A new service for deaf people has been launched at St Mark’s Community Centre in Beckton, run by Caritas Anchor House.

Friends Deaf Club occurs on the third Friday of each month, and is the first of its kind in the local area. The club will act as a community centre for deaf people, and will offer advice from the London Deaf Information Service, as well as presentations on various topics such as crime prevention, employment, health and safety and travel. Games such as darts, snooker and table football will also be on offer at the club, and special events will be held throughout the year.

The club offers an opportunity for deaf and hearing people who sign to socialise together, and the first session in November was attended by over 40 people from the local community.

Barbara Yearsley, Centre Operations Manager at St Mark’s Community Centre, recognised the need for a deaf club when a number of those accessing services at the Centre could only communicate by writing. Inspired to help the deaf community, Barbara took a course in British Sign Language (BSL) and established the Friends Deaf Club.

“I had really enjoyed the BSL course, and was keen to put my knowledge into practice by volunteering at a local deaf club – however, when I couldn’t find any locally I decided to set up our own at St Marks. The first meeting was a success and I’m very much looking forward to future events.”

Keith Fernett, Chief Executive of Caritas Anchor House said: “St Mark’s Community Centre’s purpose is to serve the needs of those locally, so when Barbara came to me with the idea of a deaf club I was eager to form one. The amount of people who turned up to the first event shows that this is a much needed service in the borough.”

The Friends Deaf Club is one of several community services offered at St Mark’s Community Centre. Other services offered include a health watchdog, domestic violence forum, services for disabled people and sporting activities. The next Friends Deaf Club is taking place on Friday 18th December. For further information, please contact Barbara on 020 7474 1687 or barbara@stmarkscentre.org.

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