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October 11, 2023

Grant amount: £2,500

deaf awareness NE

  • Grant programme: Active Lives
  • Region: North East

Towards the cost of accessible Badminton coaching sessions for deaf and hard of hearing people

About the organisation

We are a local deaf awareness charity offering opportunities to deaf and hard of hearing people across the themes of sports and health, arts and creativity, training and learning, and social outings.

We deliver a regularly programme of sessions and activities in the North Tyneside area that promote deaf people and their lives in a positive way.

Organisation’s objectives:

We strive to bring the worlds of deaf people and hearing people closer together, so that deaf people can contribute, engage, learn, and share in a comparative way to their hearing peers.

We seek the active participation of deaf and hard of hearing people, rather than deaf and hard of hearing people being the passive recipients of services, and as such we acknowledge the value of communication support systems to enable such active participation.

About the project

Inclusion Training and Events Programme

PHF supported a series of accessible Badminton coaching sessions that helped deaf and hard of hearing people access badminton on a weekly basis so that deaf players could improve skills, enhance techniques and learn about formations and placement on court. This accessibility was achieved in part by having BSL/English Interpretation at all sessions and by working closely with our hearing badminton coach on the anticipated differences of having deaf people, rather than hearing people, on court.

Impact of PHF’s support

We remain midway through the delivery of our badminton coaching sessions and have so far attracted 11 deaf and hard of hearing people and 5 hearing people to the sessions. Training is being supplied via a local Level 2 Badminton coach and this, along with the presence of a BSL Interpreter at each session, is giving detailed access to skills and techniques that deaf people do not always receive, given that the majority of badminton coaching sessions are ordinarily designed around the needs of hearing players.

Having regular access to badminton coaching has given confidence to a couple of our deaf players to independently join other local ‘no-strings’ badminton sessions to increase their scope of people to play against. This has led to other hearing coaches adapting to the needs of having deaf people on court and at looking at ways to better include deaf people. For example learning BSL number systems to help keep score and increasing pointing and physical gestures on court.

The culmination of the attendance at ‘no-strings’ badminton sessions was for our two deaf players to enter a local open badminton tournament and become the first deaf badminton players to be included in such a tournament locally. The tournament organisers, after seeking advice from our organisation, purchased scoreboards (rather than relying on calling out scores) to be used on the day of the tournament and they also agreed to share the cost of a BSL Interpreter for the day, so that the deaf players could be part of the prize giving ceremony and any other basic announcements throughout the day.

Although our deaf players did not progress beyond the first stage of the tournament this was a key moment in their learning and it identified a baseline from which their coach could work with them in future.

How does your organisation exemplify PHF’s values?

With the correct communication structures in place that enable deaf people compartive access to information, skills, techniques, and training methods, our organisation sees no reason why deaf and hard of hearing people cannot thrive and attain similar standards of excellence as those achieved by their hearing counterparts.

The issue of comparative access takes effort and can only be built to last if achieved in consideration with partners and other pertinent organisations. We liaise regularly with all of our partners around the differences in access between deaf and hearing people and have, in the case of badminton coaching, found some excellent hearing people who are open to the discussion on such access issues and who are willing to look at plausible adjustments and alterations and, in some cases, to help with these financially (for example in the booking of BSL Interpreters).

To enhance deaf presence away from the court we now have deaf representation on our local Badminton Partnership Panel, we have supported a deaf player to become a Level One Deaf Badminton coach, we have increased our ties with Tyneside Badminton Centre in order to share badminton developments locally, and we have developed contacts with UK Deaf sports, who are seeking to connect us with deaf badminton players in other parts of the country.

We are confident of sustaining our badminton skills coaching sessions in the near and distance future and in increasing the opportunities for more deaf players to enter open tournaments along with their hearing counterparts.