Deaf people to feel the beat at summer deaf festival in Norwich

Ellie Parfitt, who is profoundly deaf, is committee member of the Norfolk Summer Deaf Festival. Pict

Ellie Parfitt, who is profoundly deaf, is committee member of the Norfolk Summer Deaf Festival. Picture: Ellie Parfitt - Credit: Ellie Parfitt

For people living with deafness, the world can be a lonely place shrouded by silence.

It is something blogger Ellie Parfitt, 22, from Wreningham, knows all too well and is campaigning tirelessly to change.

She and a team of people have organised the Norfolk Summer Deaf Festival (NSDF) in Norwich which aims to bring people together to share stories, make friends and learn more about deaf culture.

Miss Parfitt was born profoundly deaf which leaves her unable to do simple things, such as making a phone call or watching a film at the cinema for lack of subtitles.

But despite her daily struggles, she refuses to let her deafness define her. She said: "Living with a hearing loss can be quite isolating, deaf people are faced with daily challenges, from communication to lack of accessibility.

"I strive to find a way around these barriers and raise awareness so this doesn't happen to the next generation."

Around 183,500 people are deaf or hard of hearing in Norfolk, which is around one in five people in the county.

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Technology has helped those in the deaf community to communicate with each other with a lot more ease, with video calling and text helping to make life easier for those who are unable to speak.

As well as more deaf bloggers using social media platforms to reach a wider audience, there are a number of events taking place across the county to help campaigners share stories, including the NSDF.

Events at the festival, which will take place at the Forum on Friday, May 24, and Saturday, May 25, includes sign choirs performed by a number of schools, British Sign Language taster sessions and poetry and art workshops.

Miss Parfitt said: "The NSDF is a fantastic event bringing deaf, deafblind and hearing people together to celebrate deaf culture and raise deaf awareness.

"These events are so important as they help deaf people to become more confident, but encourages them to meet new people and make new friends, and to see what's on in their community."

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