A look at how Dolly Parton is helping Belfast children to love books. And the Dungiven-based charity, Hands That Talk, makes an appeal for more people to learn sign language.
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On today's Community Life, Miss Dolly Parton is helping young
children have a love of books here at Cliftonville Integrated Primary.
I am getting better at DIY,
but I think this is one job I will leave to the experts.
We'll be hearing from Women's Tec shortly.
But first, today's main appeal comes from a charity that is
helping to end the isolation of people with hearing problems.
Wendy Austin has been to the Sperrins to meet Hands That Talk.
Hi. Welcome to Hands That Talk,
It's a very special cross-community charity,
and I'm going to find out some more. Come on inside.
-Thanks very much for inviting me.
-How are you?
-I'm very well, thank you.
-You're very welcome. Have a seat.
So, tell me, Dorothy, what's the ethos of your organisation?
Well, Hands That Talk aspires to have a society where deaf people
have equal rights to hearing people in every aspect of life.
-So, do you think that deaf people are losing out, Dorothy?
Definitely, yes, they are losing out,
simply because hearing people... hearing people's lack of deaf
awareness, and their inability to communicate in sign language.
And this really needs to change.
How much of a benefit would it be
if more people were able to use sign language?
Oh, it would be a massive change for deaf people.
To feel included, to be integrating socially with hearing people,
to have access to information and services,
all of those things that they don't have now,
it would make a massive, massive difference to their lives.
And it has to happen.
Hands That Talk now have more than 250 people using their services,
and their very popular signing classes mean more deaf people
can communicate and connect with life around them.
So, hi, Pauline.
Nice to meet you.
You're the information officer here,
but you also teach sign language classes as well?
The hearing people in this community,
they would come into classes here.
We could have a five-week course, a ten-week course.
It depends on what their preference is.
I would organise the class,
and they really, really enjoy learning the sign language,
and we also try and teach a wee bit of deaf awareness and deaf community
within the classes.
In Northern Ireland,
there are around 300,000 people who are affected by hearing loss.
Of those, 20,000 are profoundly deaf.
Rumour has it there's a cup of tea here.
-Now, you're on a work placement here.
How much of a difference has that made to you?
Well, it has really helped me refresh my old work skills,
cos I hadn't worked in such a long time.
So, I've learnt more IT skills, computer skills,
and it's given me confidence to go on out and possibly find a job.
The charity has a holistic approach to helping the deaf
and hard of hearing.
Every summer, children from families affected by deafness have
great fun in the surf at Benone Beach.
Yes, they have fun. They get involved in different activities.
We would have surfing, we would go for beach walks,
we would collect shells, we would make, you know,
like, the board behind us, we have made this craft.
This is all part of the HTT Kids' Club work.
And it's all about communication and enjoying it
and reducing the isolation.
The hearing community, really, what I would like to see is them
getting more involved with the deaf community.
You know, learn deaf awareness, learn sign language.
Also, we would like them to help out volunteering for us, and probably
getting some donations through this appeal for the things that we need.
And our place here in Dungiven would be grateful for all of that.
Now, I'm going to nip across to the library,
where a really special choir is tuning up.
The road's so busy I'm taking the crossing.
# Just call on me, brother
# If you need a hand
# We all need somebody to lean on
# I just might have a problem that you'll understand
# We all need somebody to lean on... #
Well, obviously, you can hear, but your husband is deaf, is that right?
-So, is that why you got involved?
That's why I sign, to start with, but, yes, that's why I got involved
with Hands That Talk, because of Paddy, because of the children.
I wanted somewhere where we could belong, basically, you know,
because we are a deaf and a hearing family.
I love singing. I love being part of Hands That Talk.
And I've been in the choir now for seven years.
I just love it, like, because it's a part of my deaf culture,
you know, being able to be with other deaf people and just
expressing how you feel about yourself through the choir.
It's really nice.
# ..We all need somebody to lean on... #
Well, that was great, wasn't it?
Now, if you'd like to help Hands That Talk,
the charity would love to hear from you.
Thanks very much.
If you'd like to make a donation to Hands That Talk,
visit our appeals website and click on the donate button.
Find out more about the charity by visiting their website.
Now, she is better known for an amazing music career,
and Dolly is currently in the middle of a new tour,
otherwise I'm pretty sure she might have been here today to check up on
the Belfast children that she introduced
to the wonderful world of books.
The postman calls at Darragh O'Neill's home,
and this is one excited young man,
as he opens the latest book from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.
Dolly's initiative has sent more than 81 million books to
children around the world to help them improve their future
opportunities through reading.
No, no, no! That's a parrot!
The stories are just so enjoyable, and they've taken so well to it.
So much so, actually, that the parents are then keen to sign up
their little brothers and sisters.
Brenda, what do you think of the fact that Dolly,
this big country music star, has this type of scheme going anyway?
Well, nothing would surprise you about Dolly,
and we're just very thankful that she has considered literacy
to be something that she wants to support with her charitable work.
Parents and schools can find out more about the scheme by
visiting Dolly's website, and there's an interview on our
own website which will give you some more information.
From one classroom to another now,
and this is not your typical further education course.
This is one specifically designed for women by the charity
Remove the washer inside it to stop it leaking.
What we're going to do is take off the top lid...
'Women's Tec, and the Tec stands for training,
'enterprise and childcare,
'has been in existence for almost 25 years, and it's about enhancing
'employability and giving skills to women in the area of
'non-traditional trades and work.
'Our courses are available to women in plumbing, electrics,
'joinery, painting and decorating, horticulture,
'so areas that you wouldn't normally find women working.'
Well, here in the Women's Tec, it's very women centred
and women focused, so you are led to believe
that you are able to do anything that you want,
and I think when you have that behind you, you do believe it.
We're all interested in it,
especially the likes of painting and decorating.
I have a man in the house, and I swear I'm still waiting on him
hanging a picture, so this is one of the reasons I came here, you know?
-So, now you can show him?
I want women who think that they want to maybe undertake these
courses or participate to give us a call, to come in and try it.
We have sampling sessions where it's very easy for women to come in.
It's a very supportive, nurturing environment,
and I'm very pleased to say that last year we doubled.
We reached our employment target twice over.
Lynn, thank you very much.
Check out our website for more details on Women's Tec,
and find our community notice board for more opportunities over
the next few months.
Just a reminder as well that ideas for BBC Northern Ireland's
Playing Our Part Christmas appeal can be found there as well.
That's it from me and Community Life. I'll see you next time.
We find out how singer Dolly Parton is helping Belfast children to love books, and the Dungiven-based charity, Hands That Talk, makes an appeal for more people to learn sign language.