News4th August 2014

Cardiff Deaf Sports & Social Club

Cardiff Deaf Centre has had its threats in recent years, but thankfully it has survived and now shows signs of flourishing.

by Sarah Lawrence

Like many Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clubs across the UK, Cardiff Deaf Sports & Social Club seeks to do all it can to help and support deaf people, and to provide a sense of community to local deaf people. Cardiff Deaf Social Club recently started to hold coffee mornings in the hope it would encourage Deaf, deaf HoH and Deafblind members to use the club’s building as much as possible, to enhance the sense of community spirit and to help people network like they did in the old days, before technology took over our lives. At one time Cardiff Deaf club had at least 80 – 100 members visit every week but it would now be lucky to get 30 – 40 at any particular event.

The lack of people attending the club is due to a number of reasons including the advances in technology. Since the Minicom came out in the 80’s, many Deaf people decided to make plans to meet others outside Deaf Club because they could, then a fax machine came out around late 80’s where almost all members had 2 telephone lines at home. One was for the telephone and another for the fax machine. Thinking back, it must have been expensive, but as soon as mobile phones came out in the 90’s our lives changed completely.

They had a coffee morning on Saturday 2nd August and around 30 Deaf, deaf, HoH and deafblind were there socialising. It was the first time for some people so it was great that at least new people were getting involved. Loyal members, many of whom have kept the club going over many years, donated beautiful homemade cakes; sandwiches and breakfast rolls and drinks were on sale.

Chris Coles, Secretary of Cardiff Deaf Sports & Social club says, "It was great to see deaf people attending the coffee mornings in recent months to show their support towards our club and it was good to see them socialising, networking and working together to raise funds for the club."

Neil Roche, a committee member said, "It is the first time I have attended a coffee morning and it is amazing to see the number of members growing rapidly in recent months and I hope to see more events like that."

Fosia, a long standing member of Cardiff Deaf Club said, "It was good to see the numbers here today and to use the building whenever possible. It would be a shame to close the club if we don’t use it. It is important we have something on at the club to attract members, we have coffee mornings, crafts club on Tuesday evenings and a social evening on Fridays."

Jade Waters told me she thoroughly enjoys the crafts club and has started to learn how to sew. She never knew she could do it but she is now loving coming to the club on Tuesday evenings to do some sewing with other members. "It brings everyone together to share a common bond and learn from each other." Collectively, the sewing group have done a beautiful vintage style banner for the club's recent bake off event.

Jane Duffield, one of our most loyal members of Cardiff Deaf Club since 1974 said, ‘It is really good to see the community coming back together to make this happen and hopefully we’ll see more events like this’.

Andrea Taffurelli, a deafblind member of Cardiff Deaf Club said, "I am delighted to be here chatting with my friends. Sometimes, I’m bored at home on Saturday mornings and it is good to be here to catch up with friends old and new. I hope even more people will come along in the future."

David Halliwell, one of the oldest members of Cardiff Deaf Club at 84 years of age, said, "I am delighted to be here chatting with my old friends." Martin Griffiths, hard of hearing visitor said, "It was great to see old friends and new ones at Cardiff Deaf Centre on Saturday. Their coffee morning was fantastic."

It has been a real shame to learn about the closure of other Deaf Clubs across the UK in recent months and years. Deaf Club played an essential role throughout my youth, giving me a sense of identity that was denied me in all other aspects of my life. I met people there who have remained friends for 30 plus years, because they know me, they think like me and we support rather than judge each other. The new technology has opened up a whole new critical world to us all, but it would be unforgivable if that replaced the face to face meetings that Deaf Clubs have encouraged over many years. I hope we see the new technology as an add on bonus not a replacement.

Cardiff Deaf Centre has had its threats in recent years, but thankfully it has survived and now shows signs of flourishing. It is increasingly embracing change and reacting to the things it's members want so that it can maintain its status as a vital part of the deaf community. As with any successful project, success comes from a shared vision and people working to support each other. It is through working together and embracing new thinking and ideas that the long term future will be secured and we will have Deaf Clubs available to anyone who needs to tap into the knowledge, experience and friendship of its members.

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Community / News

4th August 2014