05:15PM, Thursday 05 December 2019
A deaf club could soon be set up at a Maidenhead pub in order to ‘break social exclusion’.
James Sweeney, an ambulance technician for the London Ambulance Service, has seen first-hand the difficulties patients with hearing problems face when medics do not understand them.
He wants to provide a ‘sanctuary’ at The Foresters, in Cox Green, where people with hearing difficulties can meet and educate people of other hearing abilities.
James, 34, from Maidenhead, wants British Sign Language (BSL) to be taught in schools like any other language would, and has identified the Cox Green Lane venue as a potential destination.
He is trying to establish a weekly or bi-weekly gathering of the deaf community to help educate the public.
James, who has deaf relatives, said: “My aim is to try and bring the deaf community together to raise awareness, and to act as a social integration as well.
“I have spoken to the venue [The Foresters] who are willing to put on sandwiches and things like that.
“The landlord and landlady have said they are up for that.”
He added: “I now work for the ambulance service, and the amount of times I have gone out to patients whose primary source of communication is sign language [is a lot].
“The deaf community are massively socially excluded.
“Luckily I know a little bit [of sign language], but I am extremely rusty. So this club will be a fantastic opportunity.
“I have got family up in Yorkshire, and I spent half an hour teaching my niece the basics and the next minute, she was reiterating it back to me.
“If she can do it, then adults can as well.”
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