Disability Experts CIC provide opportunities for people with disabilities or mental health conditions to live as independently as possible.

They were awarded £20,000 for ‘Hear Me Out’, a project designed to support people who are deaf or hard of hearing into employment. This can include making phone calls on behalf of beneficiaries when a job advert only has a phone number, to assisting with job applications if British Sign Language (BSL) is their first language, as often the sentence structure can be different. The project will also support people to make access to work claims so they can get BSL interpreters to support them through job interviews and once they are employed, making it easier for both employer and the employee.

The idea for Hear Me Out came to fruition when during works in a previous project, it became apparent that there were no services in Swindon or Wiltshire specifically to support deaf people. Disability Experts ran a pilot project with a small sample group of deaf people in Swindon which achieved extremely successful results: 25% of people going into paid employment within 8 weeks, 11% taking up voluntary roles and 33% looking to start their own projects and undertaking training courses to meet their objectives.

Demographic analysis indicated there were approximately 460 people in the Swindon and Wiltshire region with hearing loss who were unemployed, and would therefore benefit from the project. Disability Experts also became aware that reasonable adjustments made for people with hearing loss were few and far between in Swindon and Wiltshire. Therefore ‘Hear Me Out’ is working towards increasing awareness and making service providers more conscious of making provisions to become more inclusive members of the Deaf community.