Deaf Life12th October 2013

Gloucester Deaf Centre

Exciting things are happening at Gloucester Deaf Club

by Kim Fletcher

Kim Fletcher is a key person in Gloucester’s local Deaf Community. She is Chairperson of Gloucester Deaf Sports and Social Club (GDSSC for short), which currently has around 60 active members. It is a club on the up. Kim also works as a volunteer for Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA), which owns and shares the building where GDSSC meets, and she is Play Leader / Secretary for GDA’s Deaf children’s club in Cirencester. As Kim says: “i'm keeping myself busy and I love it!"

‚ÄčHere Kim talks about the history of the Community Centre building that GDA and GDSSC share in Barnwood, Gloucester. 

Let me tell you a bit of history about GDSSC. Just under 100 years ago there was the Deaf Centre run by the Gloucester Diocesan Association for the Deaf (GDAD) in the middle of Gloucester. One of GDSSC’s oldest members told me recently how Deaf People used to go out and knock on people’s doors or visit pubs to collect donations. For many years GDAD ran a charity for the Deaf Community from a building at St. Mary Square, quite close to Gloucester Cathedral. I remember first visiting St. Mary Square myself when I was 17 years old and joining the Youth Club for the Deaf, before later becoming a Youth Leader for 6 years.

In 1992, GDAD evolved into the registered charity we know today as Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA for short), and continues to provide services for Deaf and hard of hearing people. It is a great community facility.

In 1993, GDA and GDSSC sold St Mary’s Square and moved into what used to be Barnwood Primary School in a nice residential area on the edge of the city centre. The building is large enough to ensure everything we need can take place under one roof. We have GDSSC, Luncheon Club for over 55’s, a Deaf youth club for 9 to 25 year olds, a Deaf Children’s Club for deaf children from birth up to 8 years of age, and hearing children of the same age with a deaf parent,  Hard of Hearing Clubs, Lip reading Classes, and a Church Group. Earlier this year, the charity raised funds to create a brand new Education Centre, complete with 9 laptop computers and a projector. I strongly believe we are very lucky to have everything under one roof.

One of the highlights for me, since taking over as Chair of GDSSC, was organising a Halloween Party, with parents and children all arriving in fancy dress to enjoy a beautiful Pumpkin Carvery!  Another popular event was a Pampered Chef evening (a bit like Ready Steady Cook). The group was split into two teams to create a recipe from cards, and interestingly, both teams overdid the amount of rum, which meant we all got rather tipsy!!

Regular events are just as important of course, and GDSSC members seem to enjoy Scrabble and Whist Drives in particular, with a  lovely two-course hot meal afterwards!

Looking ahead, we are planning a John Smith Comedy Show, Halloween Party, Quiz Night, Scrabble and Dominoes/Uno match, Christmas Whist drive, Grand Christmas Bingo and new Year’s Eve Party with a 1960’s Theme.

GDSSC wouldn’t be the growing success it is today without a strong team. I would like to say thank you to my husband Richard who is Treasurer of GDSSC and to all my lovely committee and members who have been supporting me since I took over as Chairperson for GDSSC.

If you wish to hear more information on our events, please feel free to e-mail me on kim.fletcher66@yahoo.com or check us out on Facebook at GDSSC to watch this space! Kim Fletcher GDSSC Chairperson.

Article by Kim Fletcher

posted in Community / Deaf Life

12th October 2013