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Sensory awareness training for Yorkshire Bank employees


Yorkshire Bank teams up with Leeds Grand Theatre and Leeds Society for Deaf & Blind People to offer its staff Sensory Awareness Training

Yorkshire Bank has teamed up with the Leeds Society for Deaf & Blind People to give 10 of its employees the opportunity to attend a sensory awareness training day. The course, taking place today (Thursday September 4th), will provide the employees with a personal insight into sensory loss and the challenges facing a deaf and/or blind person, helping them to further assist customers, colleagues and the broader community. 

The course will provide a greater awareness of the day-to-day challenges facing sensory impaired people, as well as offer a basic level of communication skills for anyone who comes into contact with a sensory impaired person.  Attendees will learn the terminology used to describe people with a sensory loss, the tactics needed to communicate efficiency and the ways in which we can aid deaf and blind people.

Following the training, the Yorkshire Bank employees will go on to volunteer at the Leeds Grand Theatre, which is sponsored by Yorkshire Bank, to support accessible performances and backstage tours for sensory impaired people (touch tours and sign language interpreted) for the next year and beyond. The activity is part of Yorkshire Bank’s employee volunteering programme, which encourages staff to actively participate in the local community. The employees will also use the skills gained to further assist sensory impaired customers and bank colleagues.

Chrissie Nash, who is hard of hearing and a trustee of Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People, said: "This type of initiative will have a positive impact on my life. As a person with hearing loss, the training will go a long way in making people aware of our needs.  Sensory awareness courses like this means that I will come across fewer situations where I have to opt out, or feel like opting out. 

“When I meet people with raised awareness my life becomes less of a struggle and I feel included which lifts my self esteem.  It doesn’t take much to be deaf aware but the impact it has on the person trying to cope with a hearing loss is like experiencing freedom for the first time.  When I feel included like this I'm so grateful to these people who are making it happen.”
Helen Everett, Head of Sponsorship at Yorkshire Bank, said: “At Yorkshire Bank we are constantly looking for ways in which employees can be active in our local communities as well as seeking to strengthen our support for employees and customers.  This training works towards all three of these aims.  The employees taking part will learn critical skills to better understand the needs of sensory impaired colleagues and customers. They will also be able to provide direct assistance to Leeds Grand Theatre staff during accessible performances and backstage tours for people, helping bring the fantastic Theatre experience to as many people as possible.”

The sensory awareness training covers sensory loss from four different perspectives – hard of hearing, profoundly deaf, deafblind and visual loss. The tutors leading the training will have the same sensory loss in the area they teach – for example, a deafblind tutor for the deafblind awareness and so on. Students taking part in the course will be gaining a personal insight in sensory loss and the challenges facing a sensory impaired person.

Greg Felgate on 0113 394 4338, 07894 936190
Sarah McMurrough on 0113 394 4333, 07795 411663

Notes to editors

About the tutors

Sarah Eaton has been hard of hearing since birth and has two roles within the Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People; working three days a week in the Hearing Loss Support Services and one day a week as a Sensory Awareness Co-ordinator.

Mike Gerwat was born totally blind and lost his hearing completely when he was 40. He since had two cochlear implants fitted and is a trustee at the Society in addition to his voluntary work within the Society which includes teaching Deafblind awareness.

David Fowler is the Deaf Tutor and Training Co-ordinator at the Society and has vast experience in teaching Deaf Awareness and Sign language. David has recently been honoured with the prestigious Language Inspiration Award by Leeds City Council for his work in Sign Language Tuition.

Kimberley Addy was born with a visual loss and is Assistant Manager at Shire View Centre for Visually impaired people. She teaches the Visual Loss perspective.

Course training day content

Blind / Deafblind Awareness
You will acquire a deeper insight and knowledge on blind awareness from tutors, who have a sight loss themselves. Learn how to guide a blind person safely and to gain confidence in communicating with deafblind people.
Deaf / Hard of Hearing Awareness
You will acquire a deeper understanding and knowledge on deaf awareness from tutors, who have a hearing loss themselves. Learn basic sign language skills and gain confidence in communicating with deaf and hard of hearing people.

Communication Tactics with Deaf People
The aim of this is to provide a basic level of communication skills for those people who come into contact with deaf people, including for example how to get a deaf person’s attention if they have their back to you.

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