Happy New Year! I’m Jess Reeves, Campaigns Manager here at NDCS. With the new year now upon us, the campaigns team decided to set up a new blog about campaigning and as I am about to go on maternity leave, I jumped at the opportunity to compose the first post, a look back at our campaign successes in 2013.
2013 was a huge year for NDCS and the Stolen Futures campaign in particular. After achieving 51,000 signatures on our petition about preventing cuts to services for deaf children across England, MPs turned up to debate the issue on the floor of the House of Commons. This is the first time this has happened and something that would not have been possible without the support of NDCS members and campaigners.
Efforts to ensure that the Children and Families Bill works better for deaf children did not go unrewarded, including making sure that deaf young people over the age of 19 will be able to access Education Health and Care Plans.
In Scotland, we worked with the National Services Division and others towards setting up a specialist mental health service for deaf children and young people. Another first for deaf children and young people.
We also did a lot to promote positive transitions from school to further education or training among deaf young people through the publication the Template for Success and Quality Standards in Transitions in Audiology. Both designed to support professionals to understand the rights and needs of deaf young people.
In Wales, the highlight of 2013 was presenting a video petition by deaf young people to the National Assembly’s Petitions Committee outlining our Close the Gap campaign. The Petitions Committee is still discussing our petition, so watch this space!
There was also success at a local level, driven by parents, local deaf children’s societies and campaigners. The local authority in Tameside was persuaded to recruit a Teacher of the Deaf. In Birmingham, following responses from parents, the local authority pledged to protect services for deaf children in the next round of budget cuts.
The next year is going to be tough as cuts continue and we all get to grips with new legislation, but I’m sure that with your support we will rise to these challenges, continuing to break down barriers for deaf children.
This new blog is also an opportunity for you to share your stories about standing up for deaf children, we are really keen to have guest contributors from the front line, be they parents, professionals or deaf young people themselves.
If you have an idea for a future blog posting, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
As I will be away coping with new challenges of my own for the majority of 2014, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce Liz Partridge who will be taking over as Campaigns Manager while I’m away. Some of you will already know Liz who has been with the campaigns team for a couple of years now, and I’m sure you’ll agree that I’m leaving you in good hands.