Early History: 1919-1992
Gloucestershire Deaf Association's roots can be traced back to 1919 when the Diocesan Association for the Deaf was formed, led by the then Bishop of Gloucester. DAD was founded as a welfare association with the aims of providing information and support to those who were profoundly deaf, for whom relevant services did not exist. This remains a core mission of the charity.
Over the decades the organisation has developed services in response to needs of the day and adapted as the state health and social care environment and the financial position of the Association has changed.
The Formation of Gloucestershire Deaf Association: 1992
The Diocesan Association for the Deaf became Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA) in 1992, and with the new name it also became a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. This was a turning point in the charity's history. When the original Association closed, it also sold its residential care home for deaf people in Alexandra Road, Gloucester, and purchased the old Barnwood Primary School building in Colin Road, Barnwood, Gloucester. This was a strategic move with the aim of developing a community centre for deaf people and a base from which to offer a wider range of services for the future. The focus of the organisation thereafter has included hard of hearing people as well as the profoundly deaf, who are British Sign Language (BSL) users.
Today Gloucestershire Deaf Association is a vibrant and forward-thinking organisation. It recognises and is responding to the growing number of elderly people, whose age-related hearing problems, such as isolation and sometimes catastrophic loss of confidence, cannot be ignored. Likewise it looks to how cochlear implants have changed but not resolved the communication barriers for deaf young people and children. Most important of all, GDA is prepared to invest its resources in ensuring D/deaf and hard of hearing people in Gloucestershire benefit from the latest advances in new technology and equipment, such as online video interpreting.
Outside the statutory sector, there are a number of deaf or hard of hearing social clubs in Gloucestershire, but GDA is the only organisation offering a wide range of support services as well as social activities.
Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA) is a user-led organisation and managed by a Council of Management whose members must be either deaf, hard of hearing, or have a recognised interest in hearing matters. The Council of Management comprises up to fifteen trustees who are also the company directors. It has overall responsibility for all aspects of the charity's financial affairs and operations.
The strategic drive and day to day operations of the charity are run from the office in Colin Road by the Chief Executive, Jenny Hopkins. There are currently eight full- and part-time members of staff, with various responsibilities.