‘Deafness is an invisible disability’ - School hosting Christmas festival with a difference

Ellie Parfitt, 22, from Wymondham, who is Royal Association for Deaf (RAD) people events fundraiser.

Ellie Parfitt, 22, from Wymondham, who is Royal Association for Deaf (RAD) people events fundraiser. The charity is holding a Christmas festival at Hellesdon High School, Norwich, on December 14. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Royal Association for Deaf people

A Christmas festival aimed at people with an invisible disability is coming to a high school for the first time.

The event is taking place at Norwich's Hellesdon High School on Saturday, December 14, in aid of the Royal Association for Deaf (RAD) people.

It will feature 40 stalls, selling gifts and offering tombola and raffle prizes.

Children will be able to enjoy a Santa's Grotto which will be using British Sign Language (BSL) and lipreading.

And the festival will also feature live performances from the Norwich Singing Hands and Lowestoft Signing Choir, clear signs and deaf awareness posters.

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RAD events fundraiser Ellie Parfitt, 22, from Wymondham, who has been profoundly deaf since birth, said: "Deafness is challenging on a daily basis but with deaf awareness and understanding, it allows us to be independent and live our lives as any person would.

"A little deaf awareness goes a long way. Deafness is an invisible disability, one of the most common but one of the least understood."

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She added that the biggest problem facing deaf people at events like Christmas fairs was communication.

"This is why we will work closely with the stallholders providing some deaf awareness tips to ensure they are best prepared on the day.

"Communication is a two-way process and we have to work together to meet in the middle, as the emphasis is not just on the deaf person to make themselves understood.

"Events like this help to increase other people's understanding of deafness, to show that events can be easily made accessible and inclusive to bring everyone together.

"It's a great opportunity for us to show the services that RAD have to offer and how the funds raised can be beneficial to deaf people's lives and their independence," Miss Parfitt said.

The festival takes place on Middletons Lane, on the edge of Norwich, from 11am-4pm.

The school venue is wheelchair accessible and assistance dogs are welcome.

Parking is free and adults will need to pay £1 per adult. Admission is free for children.

All funds raised from the day will go towards the RAD.

For more information visit www.royaldeaf.org.uk

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