Hear to Help provides free support for 600 people across Angus in community venues such as libraries and during home visits. We believe that our service delivers the vision outlined in the Scottish Government’s Health and Social Care Delivery Plan (published in December 2016) of supporting people to self-manage their conditions in their communities.
Our volunteers, many of whom have hearing loss themselves, are trained by NHS audiology to clean ear moulds and replace tubing – locally delivered person-centred support which benefits especially many older people who are less mobile or housebound by enabling them to hear more clearly and live independently without the need to travel to hospital.
Hear to Help has been kept running in Angus through grants from small trusts and charitable donations. As Action on Hearing Loss Scotland has been asked to ‘take a break’ from applying to a charitable trust which has been very supportive in recent years, we have been painstakingly piecing together money every three months to keep the service going throughout 2017.
With our Hear to Help services elsewhere in Scotland being funded by local health and social care partnerships, we started our #SaveHearToHelp campaign after Angus Health and Social Care Partnership rejected our approach to identify funding to keep our service running.
We have been overwhelmed by the backing for our campaign from people who use Hear to Help, our volunteers as well as cross party Councillors, MSPs and MP. At First Minister’s Questions [watch on YouTube] on 28 September 2017, Liam Kerr MSP urged the First Minister to “please urgently step in and ask NHS Tayside to save local provision by giving the service the £17,000 that it requires”. In her response, Nicola Surgeon MSP acknowledged that “Projects such as (Hear to Help) are really important” and committed the Scottish Government to discuss our service with both Angus Council and the Integrated Joint Board for Angus Health and Social Care Partnership.
We are currently not aware of any positive development by the partnership in identifying funding to ensure people will continue to have their NHS hearing aids cleaned or re-tubed in all communities across Angus served by Hear to Help. In the hope that they will find funding for the new financial year of 2018/19, we have started a fundraising drive to secure the short-term future of the service across Tayside. We are very grateful for generous donations, so far, which are enabling us to continue running Hear to Help until the end of December 2017.
If you would like to make a donation towards keeping the service running, please search for ‘Save Tayside Hear to Help Service’ on www.justgiving.com or click https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/actiononhearingloss/saveheartohelptayside. Alternatively you can send a cheque payable to ‘Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’ and write ‘SaveH2H’ on the back. Cheques should be posted to: Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, The Old Mill, 23 Brown St, Dundee DD1 5EF.
Please contact your local councillors and MSPs to raise your concerns about the closure of Hear to Help and ask them to please make representations to Angus Health and Social Care Partnership on your behalf as a constituent.
Find your Councillor on the Angus Council website www.angus.gov.uk/councillors/ward
Find your MSP at www.parliament.scot/msps
For more information about our campaign, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are on Twitter, tweet your support for #SaveHearToHelp to @hearinglossSCO