Vision & Hearing Support celebrates after receiving £340,635 in National Lottery funding

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Vision & Hearing Support in partnership with Bliss=Ability and Your Voice Counts is celebrating today after being awarded £340,635 in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

Launch of Vision and Hearing Support, with Mayor of Gateshead Cllr Dot Burnett and Mayor of South Tyneside Cllr Pat Hay.

Launch of Vision and Hearing Support, with Mayor of Gateshead Cllr Dot Burnett and Mayor of South Tyneside Cllr Pat Hay.

Vision & Hearing Support will use their funding to deliver a new, collaborative project – named Community Voice – across South Tyneside and Gateshead. The innovative project is designed to raise the confidence, knowledge and self-esteem of people who have learning disabilities, autism and people who are at risk of exclusion due to disability, sight loss or who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

The Mayor of Gateshead, Councillor Burnett, and The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay, jointly launched the new National Lottery funding which will fund a team of experts through experience to support community-based networks to design and develop accessible and inclusive activities.

Sarah French, Chief Executive at Vision & Hearing Support, said:

“Thanks to National Lottery players, this grant means that we can develop a collaborative approach to increasing access to community activities. By removing barriers, we aim to raise the voice of people who are Deaf, hard of Hearing, vision impaired, and those who are autistic, have a learning disability or are limited by a long-term condition. Working together, we hope to learn from each other to improve our services in the future. This will make a big difference to people’s lives.”

The project will start this summer and will support individuals to access services or establish new ones to meet specific needs. The network will be supported by Community Voice Project Officers who will gather local information and help facilitate a network of volunteers and individuals. Working together the partnership aims to remove barriers to improve access to services for people who have mental or physical disabilities or sensory loss.

The Mayor of Gateshead, Councillor Dot Burnett, said

“I’m delighted that funding has been given to this fantastic project as it will make such a difference to people’s lives. In Gateshead we want everyone to thrive and initiatives such as this are crucial in enabling people to access the support they need and be given new opportunities without facing barriers."

South Tyneside Councillor Anne Hetherington, Lead Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, said:

“We want everyone to live the life they want to. Having sensory loss or a disability shouldn’t be a barrier to this. This project will help people do all the activities they enjoy doing and will support us as a local authority to deliver on our priority of supporting older and more vulnerable communities.”

National Lottery players raise over £30 million a week for good causes across the UK. The National Lottery Community Fund distributes a share of this to projects to support people and communities to prosper and thrive.

During the pandemic, in 2020 alone, The National Lottery Community Fund distributed almost £1 billion to charities and community organisations across the UK.

To find out more visit The National Lottery Community Fund website.


About The National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF)

We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we support people and communities to prosper and thrive.

We’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with Government to distribute vital grants and funding from key Government programmes and initiatives.

Our funding has a positive impact and makes a difference to people’s lives. We support projects focussed on things that matter, including economic prosperity, employment, young people, mental health, loneliness and helping the UK reach NET Zero by 2050.

Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £43 billion has been raised for good causes. National Lottery funding has been used to support over 635,000 projects – 255 projects per postcode area.

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About Vision & Hearing Support Gateshead & South Tyneside

We are a local Charity working with people who are blind, partially sighted, Deaf or hard of hearing on their journey to independence. We make sure people have choice and control over their lives and help others better understand the impact of sensory loss.

In South Tyneside and Gateshead over 11,700 people live with sight loss and over 1,800 are registered blind. Over 65,500 adults in this area are Deaf or hard of hearing.

We deliver early intervention, crisis prevention and integrated social activities to reduce preventable sensory loss, maintain independence and mental wellbeing and reduce social isolation. Our interventions ensure that people;

  • Can live more independently
  • Are less socially isolated
  • Are more confident and empowered
  • Experience improved wellbeing

Our unique integrated Pathway to Independence makes sure we provide the right support at the right time for individuals. Our interventions include specialist Counselling, Enablement Assessments, Rehabilitation, Social and Peer support, Employment, Welfare and Advocacy and Digital support.

About BLISS=Ability

BLISS=Ability is a fully inclusive, user–led disability organisation which evolved from a need identified by a group of people with disabilities over 20 years ago. They wanted to be able to access ‘from one place’ information, advice and guidance on disability issues and the support services available in their community to enable them to maintain their independence. BLISS=Ability remains the only community based, specialist provider of accessible information, care act advocacy and other services for people with disabilities in South Tyneside.

About Your Voice Counts

Your Voice Counts was established 30 years ago by a small group of family carers with the aim of enabling people with learning disabilities in Gateshead to have a voice. Over the years we’ve used our expertise in delivering independent advocacy to help other vulnerable groups to have a voice. We now deliver advocacy services in Newcastle, South Tyneside and Middlesbrough that help people with learning disabilities, those with mental health issues and those assessed as lacking capacity, to have a voice. We also deliver a range of community-based services that support people to address barriers, work towards the outcomes they identify and to build networks of support. YVC is founded on the belief that people with lived experience of services are best placed to design the solutions that meet their needs. We create leadership opportunities for people with lived experience and support them to affect change for the communities they represent.

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