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Zebra Access' accessible mask project
The mandatory wearing of face coverings as part of the Covid-19 restrictions has created communication issues for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who rely on seeing facial expressions and lip patterns. Accessible masks are made with clear windows around the lip area of the face that enable Deaf and Hard of Hearing people’s companions to communicate with Deaf and Hard of Hearing people whilst wearing them.
Funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, has helped us to develop the Accessible Mask project, which will enable us to recruit between 5-8 volunteers from the Deaf, Deaf Blind and Hard of Hearing communities to make 500+ Accessible Masks.
The masks will be distributed to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people at no cost, enabling them to communicate with companions more easily than with face coverings that obscure the mouth area.
It is hoped that the masks will also reduce isolation and anxiety amongst Deaf and Hard of Hearing users who are going out, by removing some of the communication barriers that have been created by the use of mandatory face coverings. It is also hoped that the wearing of accessible masks will create awareness amongst the wider community about the communication needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.
The volunteers will work from their homes and will communicate with each other via regular Zoom sessions to ensure they all have the required support to maintain quality control. This regular contact will promote social interaction between Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who are keen to develop new skills. This will offer a similar type of environment and support as a 'Craft club' would. The volunteers and staff will be involved in distributing the masks upon request. Feedback will be then sought from people who have benefited from them to see how they could be improved going forward.
Zebra Access would like to thank the UK Government for making this possible. Please do not hesitate to contact Sean Noone, our Community Development Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07858132447 (Text or FaceTime), if you would like to get involved in making masks or would like to receive a mask. The accessible masks are free of charge, although donations would be gratefully received at https://www.goldengiving.com/wall/zebra-access
Zebra Access CIO provides services and support to Deaf, Deaf Blind and Hard of Hearing people with thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund. Services includes Employment Services, English/Maths tutorials, Advocacy, Community Development, BSL/Deaf Awareness, drop-in sessions dealing with a range of queries, complaints, form filling, and many more. Zebra Access staff and volunteers have the right to work in a safe and abuse free environment. The organisation will not tolerate any kind of abuse against its staff, volunteers or property.find out More