Deaf Awareness Week 2020 (4-10 May) provides us all within the Civil Service with an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the inspirational contribution of our colleagues who are, or care for those who are, deaf or hard of hearing.
Since becoming your Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing Network Champion in 2019, and in my capacity as Department for Work & Pensions Disability Champion, I have met some truly inspirational colleagues across the Civil Service who are deaf or hard of hearing.
As a result, I have been humbled by their stories and their incredible resilience: not allowing their deafness or lack of hearing to define them, or to stop them from having the career that they want to have.
I would also like to acknowledge and thank colleagues who lead the departmental networks. They specifically support their peers and play a valuable role in supporting those who have deaf or hard-of-hearing dependents, as well as helping us all through deaf awareness training.
And in this Year of Inclusion, I am excited at the upcoming launch of a new toolkit that helps to inform and support all our colleagues across the Civil Service to understand the challenges faced by our colleagues who are deaf or hard of hearing. I hope to share this toolkit with you all by the end of the year and thank everyone who’s working hard to make it happen.
I am keen that this network, a sub-network of the Civil Service Disability Network, is not just for civil servants who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is a warm, welcoming community of Civil Service colleagues coming together, whether they be line managers, senior leaders or peers.
Therefore, in this Deaf Awareness Week, I would like to encourage all colleagues to make a pledge to join or follow the Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing network to help build a more inclusive Civil Service for colleagues who are – or care for those who are – deaf or hard of hearing.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the Civil Service Deaf and Hard of Hearing network on Twitter @CSDeafHHearing.
Thank you, and Happy Deaf Awareness Week everyone.