Giving deaf youngsters the same opportunities as they grow up

Wakefield Deaf Society have opened a youth club in the city centre for deaf children.'Pictured L/R:Aiden Shields, Matthew Mulhern, Stephen Wood, Jacob Holdsworth, Val Pratt, Delma Mulhern.
Wakefield Deaf Society have opened a youth club in the city centre for deaf children.'Pictured L/R:Aiden Shields, Matthew Mulhern, Stephen Wood, Jacob Holdsworth, Val Pratt, Delma Mulhern.
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Young deaf people now have somewhere to go to meet new friends, play games and get advice for the first time in about 15 years.

Wakefield City and District Society for Deaf People’s youth club, on South Parade, allows the youngsters to meet new people, play video games and take part in cooking sessions.

The city centre club, which opened a few weeks ago, will also host skating and bowling trips for members.

The society’s project co-ordinator Valerie Pratt said it had been about 15 years since the city had a youth club for deaf people.

She said: “A lot of the parents are unable to communicate with their children using sign language, so it can make them feel very isolated, especially in the school holidays.

“We are trying to establish something so that they can get the usual support that they would at any other youth club.”

Mrs Pratt said deaf youth workers would be able to offer the youngsters counselling and information on a range of topics including sexual health.

She added: “It’s important that these young people can make new friends outside of school, and can get the kinds of information which other people really take for granted.

“Since the club has opened the members have really enjoyed it, and they have told us that they think it’s in an ideal place.

“The club allows them to just relax and chat with each other.”

The club was started with the help of Wakefield Council’s Youth Development and Support Services (YDSS).

It runs on Tuesday evenings from 6.45pm, and includes cinema nights, pamper sessions, five-a-side football, pool competitions, cooking, indoor games nights, painting and graffiti, bowling, team games, walking and other outdoor trips.

The society is hoping that new members will join the club.

And they also accept donations, to help them pay for the support services they provide, hearing equipment, the upkeep of their building on South Parade and social club activities.

To contact the society, call 01924 375958.