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Charity’s income ‘hit hard’ by crisis as it continues to provide support to deaf

PUBLISHED: 19:07 20 May 2020 | UPDATED: 19:07 20 May 2020

The West Norfolk Deaf Association (WNDA), based in King’s Lynn, has said the pandemic has created “huge difficulties” for the charity. Picture: Google

The West Norfolk Deaf Association (WNDA), based in King’s Lynn, has said the pandemic has created “huge difficulties” for the charity. Picture: Google

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A Norfolk charity providing help and support to the deaf and hard of hearing is continuing its services throughout the coronavirus crisis, despite its income being “hit very hard”.

The West Norfolk Deaf Association has been holding Zoom meetings to keep in touch with service users during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: West Norfolk Deaf AssociationThe West Norfolk Deaf Association has been holding Zoom meetings to keep in touch with service users during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: West Norfolk Deaf Association

The West Norfolk Deaf Association (WNDA), based in King’s Lynn, has said the pandemic has created “huge difficulties” for the charity and its users, who rely on them for hearing support in their homes and centres.

The association’s No8 The Old Bookshop in Downham Market was closed in line with government guidelines, volunteers were stood down and staff members were furloughed in a bid to save money.

Philip Koopowitz, chairman of the charity’s trustees, said: “Like many other charities, our main sources of income have been hit very hard by the current situation.

“We rely on our shop and room hires to provide a regular income which we can use to maintain the fantastic level of service we offer.

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“We have also lost the wonderful volunteers at the moment and they are vital to the work we do in the community.

“It’s a difficult time for everyone and safety has to be the priority, but for charities that work day-to-day, the long-term effects of this cannot be underestimated.”
Despite this, members of the charity have been using technology to stay in touch with their users and have been taking model-making kits and colouring books to self-isolating members of the community.

Trish Morton, hearing services manager and advocate, has been running virtual sign language meetings on Zoom to keep in touch with many of the hundreds of people who rely on the charity for help, advice, hearing aid repairs and batteries.

Daily welfare checks are also being carried out and the charity’s LILY service, which provides support to combat loneliness, is still running.

Mr Koopowitz said: “We are doing all we can to maintain contact with our community and keep them supplied with batteries, but you cannot replace the personal contact.”

The WNDA Deaf Centre is closed to visitors, but you can get advice via the phone or email and hearing aid batteries can be posted to service users.

For more information on donating to WNDA’s work, visit www.wnda.org.uk


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