Action on Hearing Loss Scotland welcomed more than 80 guests to the charity’s Deaf Awareness Week reception in the Scottish Parliament which was sponsored by Maurice Corry MSP.
MSPs – including Maureen Watt, the Minister responsible for the Scottish Government’s sensory loss strategy – attended to show their support for the charity’s inspirational volunteers and life-changing services.
The two main presenters were Elizabeth Mitchell, 93, who uses Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Hearing Forces service for older veterans with hearing loss and Eilish Barry, 21, who worked for the charity’s specialist Moving On transitions service.
Elizabeth said: “I was honoured to be invited to speak at the charity’s reception about my service for the Royal Signals and how, as someone with hearing loss, I’ve been supported to continue being very active in my ever-growing family’s social life and the veterans’ community.”
Eilish, who presented using British Sign Language (BSL), said: “It feels surreal that I presented in front of so many people, including MSPs, about my experiences going through school, college and then working as a Deaf person with visual impairment!
“With Action on Loss Scotland, I realised that I could do what I want to do – as long as I have the right support in place – and the importance of supporting Deaf people at work was something I was keen to emphasise to the politicians.”
Maurice Corry MSP said: “It was a pleasure to sponsor Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s reception, which provided a platform for Elizabeth and Eilish to raise vital issues very close to their hearts.
“Their inspirational speeches made it clear that, with just a little bit of deaf awareness and consideration about adjusting how we communicate, we can all make a huge difference to the everyday lives of people who are Deaf or have hearing loss.”
Teri Devine, Scotland Director, said: “Elizabeth and Eilish were the stars of the night and we’re delighted that Eilish is getting such positive feedback from several of the thousands of people who watched video clips of her presentation on Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s social media!”
31 MSPs also supported Maurice Corry MSP’s motion giving parliamentarians the opportunity to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week and appreciate the contribution of the charity’s volunteers.
Photos and video clips of the reception can be found on Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Facebook page.