Jo Swinson MP recently visited Deafblind Scotland’s headquarters in Lenzie to meet with the charity’s new Chief Executive, Isabella Goldie.
The centre, which has been open since 2017, provides support to Scotland’s deafblind community through various social events and skills development courses, as well as training Guide/Communicators.
Jo met with service users as well as members of the staff, discussing the challenges facing the deafblind community across Scotland. The charity offers welfare advice to those struggling with claims for PIP and other benefits, and training on the BSL contactSCOTLAND service.
Speaking after her visit, Jo said:
“It was great to meet Isabella and visit Deafblind Scotland’s fabulous new centre, which we’re fortunate to have right here in East Dunbartonshire. I remember listening to Drena O’Malley’s vision for this centre when it was no more than an unfunded idea. Years later, it is so good to see how the ‘Field of Dreams’ has come to fruition.
“During my visit, I met John, a key member of the Deafblind Scotland team who trains Guide/Communicatiors, and experienced for myself some of challenges limited vision creates. That’s why the centre is so important. Service users can develop the skills to live more independently but can also enjoy socialising within a safe and welcoming environment.”
Deafblind Scotland Chief Executive, Isabella Goldie, said:
“There are so many daily tasks and opportunities that we as sighted and hearing people take for granted. Having one sensory impairment can leave people being unfairly excluded from many aspects of life but for people who experience both deafness and blindness life can be incredibly lonely and many people become trapped in their homes on a daily basis.
“Deafblind Scotland provides a guide communicator service where a staff member can help an individual to take up the opportunities that life has to offer. We are only able to offer this service to as many people as we do because of the generosity of the public. It takes a special person to take up this role of guide communicator and we often struggle to find those individuals.
“We were delighted to show Jo around our new premises and to gain her support for the work we do and for the changes we are determined to make to ensure that becoming Deafblind does not mean that a person will not be able to still have a full and meaningful life.”
More information about Deafblind Scotland is available at https://dbscotland.org.uk/.