Whats On
From 'wash-up' to trainee photographer

GDA launches breakthrough project 'Mutton Jeffrey'

A young Deaf sign language user at the start of a new career as a freelance photographer proved a big hit when he was given a ’Freebie Friday’ spot on the ground floor of the Eagle Tower in Cheltenham last week. More than 55 business people visited Garrie Martin and colleagues at the ‘Mutton Jeffrey’ stand, and 15 had a head and shoulders photograph taken for free as part of the special promotion.

Garrie Martin is just one of several Deaf sign language users being assisted by local charity Gloucestershire Deaf Association under its breakthrough ‘Mutton Jeffrey’ project. The aim is to provide opportunities for everyone to benefit from the talents and skills that Deaf people can offer, by providing communication support from the charity both for Deaf entrepreneurs and also their customers.

Says GDA Chief Executive, Jenny Hopkins, ‘We recognise that for Deaf entrepreneurs to shine, we need to do more than simply get on our soapbox about equality. We need to address very directly the reservation a Deaf sign language user feels having to communicate with a hearing non-sign language user, and vice versa. We do this by GDA providing a communications bridge for both sides, making phone calls, using new technology to communicate in sign language with the Deaf entrepreneur on behalf of the customer, and handling promptly and positively any issues that might arise during the work. We are enormously proud of what we are achieving around Deaf employment in Gloucestershire and, with Mutton Jeffrey, we believe we are launching a scheme that could be duplicated by other deaf charities for Deaf sign language users elsewhere around the country.  Deaf people want to succeed. We have found a way to make that happen.” 

Garrie Martin, like all GDA’s Mutton Jeffrey entrepreneurs, has been helped to create a business folder that explains what he does, his prices, and sets out his skills and tips for customers on how best to communicate with him either directly or through GDA. He took his first step on the road to success last week at Eagle Tower, Cheltenham. He and GDA are hoping other doors will open as a result.

To find out more about GDA’s Mutton Jeffrey project and what other Deaf entrepreneurs are offering in Gloucestershire, please contact GDA on 01452 372999 or email: mutton.jeffrey@glosdeaf.org.uk 
GDA is grateful to the Dept of Work and Pensions for a DPULO Facilitation Fund grant, awarded in 2013 for the charity to undertake a two-year Deaf employment project. It has enabled us to help a number of Gloucestershire Deaf job-seekers into successful employment, to support others already in employment, and to help four Deaf entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses within a GDA communications supported environment.
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