Scouting supports Deaf Awareness Week

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Scouts will be joining millions around the country to support Deaf Awareness Week. Taking place from 7-13 May, the theme this year is Look At Me, which will focus on the different kinds of communication used by people who are hard of hearing. 

The Scout Association is just one of over 100 charities that supports the initiative and is committed to helping all young people access opportunities and adventure by providing support to leaders in this area.

Deaf Awareness Week

Deaf Awareness Week involves a number of national and local events around the UK aiming to improve understanding of the many different types of hearing loss. Organisations representing the hard of hearing are also calling on healthcare authorities to improve their access and interpretation services.

Overcoming barriers

David Berry is a Beaver Scout Leader with 1st Heaton Norris Scout Group. 'I got involved in Scouting when I was six. Despite my deafness, I did all the activities, achieved my Gold Arrow Award and became Senior Sixer. I then joined Scouts and achieved the highest award at that time.'

While he was welcomed by the other Scouts and leaders, his experience still posed some challenges. 'The difficulties I had were coping with the noise and sometimes with my peers. I missed conversations so did not understand all the jokes, which was very frustrating.'

Volunteer support

After training to become a gardener at agricultural college, David rejoined the adventure as an Assistant Beaver Scout Leader, then Beaver Scout Leader. He also gained the prestigious Wood Badge, Scouting's leadership qualification. 'I had great help from the County Training team who addressed my deafness and made sure I understood what people were saying.'

Scouting ambitions

David's condition, however, is not without its benefits. 'When I take my hearing aids out I hear nothing, which on camp is a blessing in disguise. The other leaders have to do the night or early morning calls as I am fast asleep.'

Having helped out at the World Scout Jamboree and preparing for a trip to Switzerland, David has achieved almost all his Scouting ambitions. 'I hope my story can inspire others who live with this condition. I want people to know how much Scouting helped me as a child and now as an adult.'

Join the adventure

Scouting helps young people from all backgrounds grow in confidence, develop new skills and build friendships. Find out how to join the adventure or volunteer on a flexible basis.

Download the Deaf Friendly Scouting booklet

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