Service users and volunteers will congregate outside a meeting of the full Angus Council to express how the closure on 30 September will impact on the everyday lives of more than 600 people in Angus who have hearing loss.
The volunteers, who have been trained by NHS audiology to clean ear moulds and replace tubing, provide local support in Arbroath, Brechin, Carnoustie, Forfar and Montrose as well as other communities across Angus which helps many older people who have mobility difficulties to hear more clearly and live independently, without the need to travel to hospital.
Hear to Help also offers a range of ‘added value’ information about assistive equipment such as amplified phones, TV listeners and vibrating/flashing alarms, which can make life easier for people with hearing loss.
Action on Hearing Loss Scotland has been piecing together funding to keep the service going on a quarterly basis during 2017 after needing to ‘take a break’ from applying to a charitable trust which has been very supportive in recent years.
£17,000 is needed to secure Hear to Help in Angus for a full year but the charity has found it impossible to tap into additional funding streams.
After Angus Health and Social Care Partnership rejected an approach for funding in March, Action on Hearing Loss Scotland submitted an additional 21 applications to charitable trust funding pots, but to no avail.
Two identical services – in Glasgow and Ayrshire & Arran – are both funded via money from local health and social care partnerships, and the charity believes Hear to Help delivers the vision outlined in the Scottish Government’s Health and Social Care Delivery Plan of supporting people to self-manage their conditions in their own communities.
Delia Henry, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “Delia Henry, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “We are deeply disappointed about Angus Health and Social Care Partnership’s decision not to invest in our service to save unnecessary extra expenditure. Independent cost benefit analysis shows that Hear to Help saves the public purse more that £70,000 across Tayside each year so our service is clearly good value for money.
“Our team of dedicated volunteers provide amazing personalised support, which can be genuinely life-changing for people who are struggling to use their NHS hearing aids.
“The closure of Hear to Help, which can often be the difference between someone persevering with their hearing aids or giving up and leaving them in a drawer, will be a devastating blow for many elderly people with hearing loss who depend on our friendly, accessible, locally delivered service in communities across Angus.
“We’ve been campaigning to save Hear to Help and, despite cross party support from Councillors and MSPs, we have been unable to persuade the Integrated Joint Board for Angus Health and Social Care Partnership to grant any funding. Our charity’s supporters are gathering to appeal to Councillors to make a last gasp attempt at identifying funding to keep our much-loved service running.”
For more information about the campaign to save Hear to Help in Angus, visit www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/Angus