DEAFBLIND Northern Ireland on Thursday will launch its ‘Connections NI’ project.

Project Manager Norman McCudden explains a little more.

“This Thursday will mark an event that has been a long time in the making and one that I am extremely proud to be a part of. Deafblind NI is going to be focusing on a project called Connections NI, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund as part of its Reaching Out: Connecting Older People programme.

“The Connections NI project will deliver support services in Northern Ireland for people over the age of 70 with varying degrees of combined sight and hearing loss.

“To give you an idea of the task ahead, statistics from the Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) estimate that there are currently around 8,700 older people across Northern Ireland who are deafblind or have a dual sensory loss; with the vast majority of this figure losing sight and hearing with age.

“As the population ages, this number will inevitably rise too, and here is where our project becomes so important.

“We want to ensure that older people are included in today’s digitally and socially driven world.

“Dual sensory loss can cause isolation and loneliness, amplified by the general isolation that older people can feel. Connections NI will endeavour to reduce this isolation and help people to build their confidence and ultimately their independence.

“This, we believe, will improve quality of life to an extraordinary degree.

“Our project places particular emphasis on building upon our work in such a way to ensure that the services, through a team of trained, committed volunteers, continue to function beyond the existing funding.

“This Thursday, September 19, we will be at Belfast City Hall to officially launch these services and the project will become a reality. On the day we are expecting to hear from specialist speakers that will explain our work further, in addition to underlining the relationship between Deafblind NI and Deafblind UK.

“The event will be starting at 2.30pm.”


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