Crafting up new skills at local deaf group

At the pottery classes are (l-r) Deivdas Kaunas; Leslia Doonan, Interpreter; Bill Hughes; Eilish Kilgallon, Community Access Officer; Collette Bigley, Sensory Disability Team Leader; Eddie Rafferty, Arts Care Artist in Residence.
At the pottery classes are (l-r) Deivdas Kaunas; Leslia Doonan, Interpreter; Bill Hughes; Eilish Kilgallon, Community Access Officer; Collette Bigley, Sensory Disability Team Leader; Eddie Rafferty, Arts Care Artist in Residence.

Local people with a hearing impairment have had the chance to craft up brand new skills.

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust worked with Arts Care Artist in residence, Eddie Rafferty, to establish a pottery group for deaf people and it proved a big success.

The classes ended recently after running for a six week period.

They offered participants the opportunity to bond and socialise as well as gain creative skills in art and pottery making.

Lessons were provided in clay preparation and proper wedging techniques and participants were able to take home their finished pieces at the end of the course.

Pat McAteer, Specialist Services Manager for the Southern Trust said:

“Having a hearing impairment can be a huge barrier for people, making it much more difficult to do things that many of us would take for granted, like pursuing an education, working or even enjoying leisure activities.

“Our Community Access Officer for Deaf People, Eilish Kilgallon, helps service users with a hearing loss to fulfil their ambitions by building on their skills and interests.

“The arts can bring huge benefits to people by reducing social isolation and promote positive mental health and wellbeing.”

Colette Bigley Sensory Disability Team Leader who has worked on the Arts Care Committee alongside artist in residence, Eddie Rafferty, for several years added:

“Many of our deaf service users are keen to develop their creative skills and would love to try the arts but feel they don’t have the same opportunity to learn new skills because of a communication barrier.

“This group has been particularly successful because it offered support in communication and gave people the opportunity to develop their skills and focus on their ability.”

For further information on the services and courses available for people with a hearing impairment please contact Eilish Kilgallon, Community Access Officer, on 028 3839 4088 or eilish.kilgallon@southerntrust.hscni.net.