Meet our deaf together advisory group!
We can’t make change happen alone. That’s why we set up the advisory group of 18 deaf people from across the UK to come together to help plan what deaf together will do. The lived experiences, perspectives and ideas from each person on the group makes sure deaf together is led by our community.
My name is Alison Hendry, this is my sign name. I live in Edinburgh, Scotland but my hometown is Glasgow where I grew up. I have a Hearing Dog called Gerry, he is a black Labrador and very cheeky! But he is just loving and my wee baby! I work at the University of Edinburgh as a Student Adviser, which I have started quite recently and I am excited to get started properly with the role!
I wanted to be involved with the advisory group because I am passionate about ensuring that Deaf and Deafblind are more included within society, and have the ability to attend health appointments, hospitals, GPs etc. with no issues or barriers. Also, in Scotland we have the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 which means there is a legal requirements for services to be more accessible for those who use BSL.
So, I would be happy to share experiences and contribute what has been done thus far. I am also excited to meet other people from different regions and compare experiences, share good practice and learn about other processes. So I’m pleased to be involved with the advisory group and excited to work with everyone! Bye!
Hello, my name is Anthony Ackroyd. This is my sign name. At the moment, I am not in employment as I was diagnosed with Usher’s which affects my ability to work. So now, I am a stay at home husband! I also do crafts and woodworking.
Why did I join the advisory group? I used to work for a residential care home supporting people with their mental health. I worked with people who were vulnerable and needed support. I’ve also faced barriers as a deaf person with Usher’s at the hospital, with the GP, with dentists, with social workers. This frustrates me, and affects my mental health. Looking back at my job in the residential care home, I completely empathise with the people I worked with, because I have that lived experience. Now, I’m pushing forward with spreading deaf awareness, explaining the barriers deaf people face, and my own lived experiences. Thank you for watching.
Hello, my name is Catherine Drew, and this is my sign name. I am a native Deaf BSL user and London based.
I am the Deputy Headteacher at Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children and I love my job! Working in education over the years, I have seen challenges faced by deaf children and families. Not just in education, but my own personal experience, growing up in a deaf family and working with deaf colleagues, the inequalities in health and social care between different groups of people need to be addressed.
Deaf people from birth to vulnerable adults in all groups from race to gender to LGBTQ+ need to be heard. I am excited about being part of the advisory group and look forward to contributing to the group in taking steps to enact change for all Deaf people.
Hello, my name is Davina, this is my sign name. One fact about me: I cannot live without painting, because I love it so much.
Now, what am I currently doing? I am studying at a university in America.
So, why am I joining this advisory group? Because I believe that our collective opinions are valuable and should be heard by them, especially in ensuring that the campaign serves us in the best and most inclusive way possible.
Thank you for watching! Bye, take care, all of you.
Hi everyone, my name is Faye. I don’t have a sign name yet, so I will fingerspell my name for now. I was born profoundly deaf, but grew up oral and not knowing BSL.
I grew up wearing hearing aids. I had to grow up with no access to BSL, which was hard. I am sure you will understand that. I started learning BSL two years ago, and hopefully will begin the Level 3 course in September! I can communicate orally, but I prefer sign. My receptive skills are much better than productive, so please bear with me as I can be rather slow.
I’m from Manchester, and I work for a national charity called LGBT Foundation where I’m the fundraising manager. I have about 6 years’ experience working in charitable fundraising sector, as well as this, I’m also training to become a qualified counsellor.
I’ve joined the advisory group because as I’m sure you’re all aware, the deaf community experiences disproportionate health inequalities, whilst also experiencing barriers to access. At the first advisory meeting, we talked about linking up with a range of different organisations and community groups.
I agree wholeheartedly with this, but I think it’s also important that we link in with decision-makers, like funders, MPs, local councils, statutory bodies like the Department of Health, and the NHS. I believe that linking in with these stakeholders is really important, because they have resources.
If we want change to happen, we ultimately need resource which those decision-makers have. And so, I want to be able to offer my experience working in the voluntary and fundraising sector, to help the campaign reach community, and those people in positions of power and influence.
Hello, my name is Hamza (two different sign names). I am a self-employed language support tutor to Deaf clients with English/BSL translation. When I am not doing that, I work at British Deaf Association as a Board of Trustee
As part of my role, I work hard with the team to ensure equality, access and freedom of choice.
At the same time, I have joined SignHealth in their campaign advisory group and why do I want to be involved in this group? Because I have witnessed many people in the Deaf community suffering for a long time with the barriers everywhere.
I want to make sure campaigns get through the government to encourage them to recognise us all in the Deaf community, and recognise the barriers we face that need to be removed. I want this to be the breakthrough for us all. It will mean that the quality of our lives will improve to the high standard as hearing society.
Jackie Wan Brown
Hi, my name is Jackie Wan Brown. I’m really pleased to join the advisory group. I joined because of my personal and professional experience. I grew up attending mainstream school and the sign for mainstream school as “isolated not integrated” is very true.
I was isolated, struggled with communication and was very passive. In the end, I attended a deaf school and was delighted to learn from deaf peers – deaf children my age, vitally – they were my role models.
I became empowered and learned communication strategies. I now work as a mental health nurse, and have 17 years experience. There is a vast inequity in mental health service access for deaf people, and access is very difficult. So, I’m happy to be involved with, and supporting SignHealth. Thank you. Bye.
I live in Kirklees and work as a youth worker in Calderdale. I have just finished my BA in SEND and inclusion. My passion is advocating and campaigning with young people with SEND for their rights. I previously worked with the Calderdale deaf youth Hub. A group formed to support the transitioning of deaf young people into adults and adult services.
My hopes for the group are that we become well recognised as a campaigning group that makes a difference by identifying inequalities and make change. The things I took from the first session are that we are a diverse group with lots of different skills and backgrounds that we could bring together to learn from one another.
Hello! My name is Kirstie Stage. I am a deaf researcher who is passionate about Deaf history and Disability history. I enjoy finding stories in the archives and talking to people about their lived experiences. These perspectives are also important in activism, policy-making and decision-making. Having grown up in hearing environments, and now exploring my Deaf identity as an adult, I love the depth and breadth of our individual and shared experiences, talents and identities. Collaboration is important to me, and I am excited to work with others to make a positive impact with the campaign.
My name is Luke Christian, I am 30 years old and I am based in Leeds, U.K.
I often travel up and down the country for my job which is called DEAF IDENTITY and is an online fashion brand raising deaf awareness through clothing and accessories! Most of my time is spent working on my business but I also do content creation and use my social media platforms to speak out on deaf awareness related issues and to also share in depth my experiences on what it is like to be a deaf, gay man.
I am very proud to be a part of SignHealth’s Advisory Group as I am passionate in showing that being deaf sits on a spectrum and that there is no right or wrong way to be deaf. I want to empower other deaf people out there to feel strong within their own deaf identities and to also lead the way in the business field by empowering other deaf people to run their own businesses and to not let what society sees as a ‘negative’ hold them back.
I hope that by using my own lived experiences I am able to channel this into positive change and help SignHealth implement these within their own campaigns moving forward.
Oluwatofunmi Peace Adeosun
Hello, my name is Oluwatofunmi Peace Adeosun, but you can call me Peace, as it’s my middle name. I recently completed my BA (Hons) degree in Photography at the University of Plymouth.
I’m flexible about creative projects and currently exploring photography jobs from home.
The reason I joined this advisory group is to gain valuable learning experiences, engage in discussions from different perspectives, and explore various options.
Additionally, I am keen to discuss ways to improve wellbeing and provide accessibility. I have been involved in training workshop projects focusing which aim to educate Black students and individuals about Black culture. I believe that involving them in discussions on diverse ways of life, culture, and identity will enrich my own learning experiences.
Hello! I hope you are well? My name is Peter Kendall. I am a native deaf BSL user from birth. Ah! I forgot to add, I recently joined SignVideo. My role is in IT, I support interpreters, customers, and I also support staff internally aswell. I love my job!
So now, I will tell you a bit about me and my background. When I was younger, I worked as a qualified chef, an outreach worker, centre manager at Sunderland Deaf Centre. Along with this, I have various work experience. I also did voluntary work with local Derby deaf groups. I supported with various things, including health and the local council. I was also a governor and became Vice Chair at a deaf school in Derby, one responsibility was to ensure safeguarding in the school.
I was also the joint chair at Action Deafness, based in Leicester. During my volunteering time, I wasn’t in work. I was raising my children with my wife. Later on in life, I became a mature student at University.
All my life, I’d had an interest in IT. I graduated with a First Class degree from Sheffield Hallam. I believe I am the first deaf student to get a First Class. I am not sure, I could be wrong. If I am, let me know! Looking back, it was challenging that I got my degree, whilst looking after 5 children with my wife. Don’t ask me how I did it! Haha! So, you can tell, working in IT and being involved with the community, are two passions of mine.
I love to give back. I love engaging with people from all backgrounds, because my vision is a barrier free world. That’s one of the reasons I got involved with IT and the community. Which I value so much. I hope that my experiences can bring ideas to the advisory group. A few weeks ago (July 11 2023), we had our first meeting. We’re all in the same boat and hold the same passion. We all want barriers to be removed for deaf people in all areas of life. I look forward to continuing to work with the group, sharing our issues along the journey with the deaf together campaign.
Hi, my name is Rebecca.
I work as a physiotherapist and live in London.
I started my current job in February this year. Initially it was very difficult because I didn’t have interpreters and I rely on lipreading and BSL. I was struggling until June when I finally got ATW funding and used this for booking interpreters.
Since then, things have improved at work. Support from interpreters does overcome most communication barriers but not all. I still face challenges every day and feel there is still work to be done.
Tackling these barriers alone is very difficult, I need some support. I’d like to improve the accessibility of our (NHS) health services for all deaf workers and service users and see joining the campaign as an opportunity to make my voice heard and to help drive change with people who share similar interests as mine.
My name is Sarah Petherbridge. I am a disability awareness trainer helping businesses become more disability confident, blogger and public speaker on disability, inclusion and mental health. I draw on my lived experiences of working and living with my profound deafness. I previously worked for a large corporate where I set up a disability network for over 500 members working with disabilities in the UK and have won several awards for that work.
I am also a disability advocate and I am passionate about raising deaf awareness and challenging misperceptions about Deaf/deaf people. It’s part of my DNA to educate people on what it is like to work and live with deafness and therefore make positive changes in people’s attitudes towards the deaf community and create a more inclusive and accessible world.
As that advocate, I joined the advisory group to work with everyone to shape the campaign for addressing inequalities for Deaf/deaf people and make positive changes by sharing our lived experiences, thoughts and perspectives.
Hello, my name is Simon, and this is my sign name. I am based in Nottingham. I was born deaf and have used BSL all my life. I work different roles at Nottinghamshire Deaf Society, but my main role is a BSL teacher, teaching BSL, which is a beautiful language.
I also deliver deaf awareness training workshops. I also have small projects, for example, supporting hearing parents with a deaf newborn/child by introducing sign language or setting up groups to get parents together. I also host events every two weeks on Fridays for men’s wellbeing.
I also work at a Children’s care home, where I support individuals with challenging behaviour or mental health conditions, as well as educating them. Why have I decided to join the campaign?
I want to support our deaf community and to change deaf people’s access to healthcare for the better, which needs to improve. I want to push forward discussions on mental health, especially for men, as it is hard to get men involved to talk about it and we need to get them talking about their mental health. Thank you for watching.
Hello! My name is Tasnia, and I am from Manchester. I joined the advisory group because I’ve grown up with mental health rarely being discussed.
Having personally experienced challenges with mental health, getting involved with this campaign is important to me. I am Muslim and Asian, there is stigma around mental health. So that’s mainly why I want to get involved. By joining this group, I aim to provide support to our community and create a significant impact towards a better future.
My name is Toyosi Alexis. I am an advocate who focuses on inspiring young girls and women to become more self-aware and resilient in all that they do. I was diagnosed with severe hearing loss at the age of 4 and have worn hearing aids in both ears since then. Due to my experience growing up with bullying and the negative stigma attached to my hearing loss, I’ve taken to social media countless times to share inspiring contents both on self-love and my experiences living with my disability. So far, my experience has led to brand campaigns in which I’ve been able to touch on the topic of self-love and owning my story through being a guest speaker at various events surrounding the topic of embracing your authentic self.
When I’m not doing that, I work in technology at a global luxury brand. I am also the co-founder of Keïta Lagos, a brand focused on bringing Africa to the fore, and founded my NGO, the Amigo Charity in 2015 with the aim of changing the lives of people who are at a disadvantage.
I joined the advisory board because I want to live in a world where deaf people do not have to struggle to be heard. A world in which deaf people confidently tell their stories. A world in which deaf people are on the cutting edge of a brighter future. A world in which we can tell our stories freely.
Hello, my name is Tracey Baillie. I work as a Deaf communication specialist for Deaf and Hearing Support Services to support deaf children and young people aged 0-25 under Hertfordshire County Council. The reason I want to join the advisory campaign group is because of my personal experience.