Whats On
GDA's new club speaks to BBC Radio Glos

BBC Radio Gloucestershire's interview with GDA's new club for children with hearing loss and or speech and language delay, 'The Friday Club'

On Friday 26 September, GDA volunteer, Gina Davis spoke to BBC Radio Gloucestershire's Chris Baxter about The Friday Club, a new club for local children with hearing loss and or speech and language delay.

Chris Baxter (CB): A new pre-school club in Bourton-on-the-Water is bringing children together that wouldn’t usually be able to communicate with each other, The Friday Club at Jubilee Lodge in Meadow Way encourages children to express themselves through sign language and other methods and the mornings allow children of all abilities to communicate without disability being a barrier. They meet every Friday morning, it’s £2 per family.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Liam Hadley met Gina Davis whose daughter attends The Friday Club…

Gina Davis (GD): I am a volunteer for Gloucestershire Deaf Association because my little girl is hard of hearing. In our case Arabella understands everything but cannot, for some reason, verbalise. When she gets to school age it would be really beneficial if children in her class were taught how to communicate with her with simple signs so they can go out and play or what they need in the class or that they know that she needs to go to the toilet.

I think children should be taught basic sign language so I decided to set up a playgroup in Bourton-on-the-Water for children who are hard of hearing and or speech and language delay, but all children are welcome. It’s a playgroup for birth to five year olds called The Friday Club and it runs from 10am to 12 noon every Friday morning including school holidays. Its not just for children who are hard of hearing or speech and language delayed – its for everybody. Gloucestershire Deaf Association is a charity who is really forward thinking. They believe in integration; all children growing up together and interacting and also educating children who are not hard of hearing about those who are.

Liam Hadley (LH): We’re surrounded by loads of musical instruments, things that make lots of loud noises; it looks a very fun environment to be in.

GD: It certainly is, we’re all about fun and friendly. We do have music, I think music is really important for hard of hearing and speech and language delayed children, for all children in fact but it really stimulates the senses in those with additional needs.

LH: It’s all about integration isn’t it?

GD: It is yes, and it is also about giving them confidence. When children have additional needs they can feel quite isolated, especially if they’re hard of hearing because they miss certain cues and by the time they’ve heard what everyone else is saying or lip-read, the conversation has already moved on. Quite often they appear to be ‘slow on the uptake’ which in fact they’re not, they’re just interpreting. If more people were able to sign that would be a great thing.

LH: What sort of activities do you have on offer here?

GD: We have a mixture, we do song time from 10.15am and it is sing and sign so we do all the popular nursery rhymes but we also sign Makaton along with it. We have snacks and then we have arts and crafts that everyone can take part in. We also have everyday toys that all children can play with along with sensory toys that others need for stimulation and development of speech and hearing

LH: So what you guys are teaching here is life skills?

GD: Yes we do, we are all about spoken language, sign language and language books so they can all communicate together and they can grow up together. It gives hard of hearing and speech and language delayed children the confidence to interact in society as they grow up with friends who don’t have those things.

LH: Is the group family fun?

GD: It is yes, it’s myself, my mum and our very good friends. This is our third week – the uptake is fine at the moment but obviously we always want more children to come. We’ll do lots of charity events locally; we have a craft fair coming up to raise awareness of this playgroup. We’ve distributed lots of posters here and there and posts on social media so we’re hoping more and more children will come with parents as we get established.

LH: Can you tell me about what’s happening tomorrow (Saturday 27th September)?

GD: We have a charity fundraiser which is a craft fair going on between 10am and 2pm at Bourton Baptist Church on Station Road, Bourton-on-the-Water. It is to raise funds for The Friday Club so we can keep going and keep enjoying the activities we do because I think it’s really important. We’ll have crafts from local people, all of them, or the majority, live within five miles of Bourton-on-the-Water. Most of them are involved with the club or who have children who are hard of hearing or speech and language delayed so it’s all local mums getting together trying to raise some money.

LH: If there’s a family listening to this now looking for something to do on a Friday morning, how can they get involved?

Listen to the full interview by clicking here

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