There is a vital need for informal pastoral care in a world where people who are deaf and hard of hearing often experience isolation and loneliness because of their communication difficulties.
Our team of highly valued volunteers work across the Diocese to offer support and friendship to those who are deaf or hard of hearing, whatever their age or level of hearing loss. Our volunteers are wonderful assets and offer a diverse range of skills and experience, from communicating clearly with hard of hearing deaf-blind or deafened people, to being fluent BSL Signers.
Who do we visit?
We are often contacted directly by those who are deaf or hard of hearing who may feel lonely, and have no one to talk to or sign with. Alternatively, social services may inform ODCD of a deaf person who they feel is in need of a friendly visit. Within the Diocese, churches sometimes get in touch informing ODCD about a deaf person in their parish with whom they unable to able to communicate effectively.
Those we offer support to are often housebound, have few visitors and have few people who can really communicate with them and understand their needs, and span a wide age range, from 18 to 80 and beyond! They sometimes have additional disabilities, such as cerebral palsy or are deaf-blind.
Our volunteers are sometimes required to visit a deaf person in hospital, especially if there is no family close by. Their visits make such a difference, bringing hope and encouragement in a time of difficulty and allaying fears. At the same time they are often able to liaise with the ward staff and help sort out any problems.
What does an ODCD volunteer do?
Our volunteers primarily provide friendship and support for the deaf or hard of hearing person they visit. They may sit, listen and have a friendly chat, or they may go out for coffee or a walk. Sometimes of our younger deaf people request sporting activities.
Some volunteers visit fortnightly, but more commonly visits take place once a month or every six weeks. No doubt the deaf person would wish to see their volunteer as often as possible, and looks forward to their visits! However it must be a period of time the volunteer is comfortable with and able to control and maintain; it should not be a burden.
Things to consider
It is always best to be clear at the outset how often you will be visiting, and be happy with it yourself. Arranging the date and time of the next visit before leaving is helpful for everyone. Obviously, if the deaf person has to go to hospital, visiting patterns will change.
We want our volunteers to enjoy their time of volunteering with us. We run a well attended Volunteer Training Day annually, organise various social events during the year and reimburse travel expenses. We also offer plenty of support and help to ensure that your time as an ODCD volunteer is fulfilling and interesting for you. We have a range of written policies and guidelines about volunteering with us that help set out your duties and responsibilities. Some of these can be found as downloadable links to the right of this page.
All volunteers are required to have a DBS check. This involves completing a form online that will ask for information about your address and identity. We do this to ensure that the deaf and hard of hearing people our volunteers visit are kept safe. If you are unable to complete the DBS check, we may not be able to allow you to visit, but please talk to us about this as there may be other ways in which you could assist ODCD.
Other ways of helping
Most importantly, please pray for us.
If you would like to support the work of ODCD but don't feel able to commit to a regular visiting arrangement, or have other skills you wish to offer we always welcome enquiries from those who might be able to offer other support in the form of general administrative work. If you might be able to help in this way, please do get in touch.
As a registered charity, we rely very heavily on the support of churches and individuals across the Diocese who donate money via church collections or privately. If you are able to help in this way, perhaps by organising a church collection on our behalf, we would be immensely grateful.