Penny’s Blog – Summer Deaf Festival

I can’t believe it’s a whole year since the last Summer Deaf Festival. Here it is again on a gloriously sunny July day. For those of you that are superstitious we won’t mention the exact date…..

As you can see we are dressed for the occasion. Although how did Tom manage to get an ice cream!

photo of pennypic of ronniePic of Tom








We find our table and get set up. Ronnie has already gone gooey-eyed over the stand next to us. There are some adorable little Assistance dogs. They are being so good despite everyone’s attempts to distract them.

Hearing dogs at the deaf festival

hearing dogs imageHearing dogs for Deaf People train dogs to alert deaf people to sounds they would otherwise miss. Simple sounds that many people take for granted like the doorbell, your alarm clock or danger signals, like the fire alarm. They have been doing this since 1982, making a real difference to deaf people’s lives.


We are joined by Tom, who is one of our Trustees but is today wearing his “Tom” hat although this does not stop him chatting to visitors about Equal Lives and the work we do.

There is a steady stream of people, Professionals, other stall holders, members of the public and a range of ages from a few years old right up to “older” people – never good to guess someone’s age!

There are a range of interactive stalls including this one from the Cambridge Science Centre

Cambridge Science Centre at the deaf festival

penny at cambridge science centre stallCambridge Science Centre is open to school visits, offering a range of interactive shows or workshops with plenty of hands on exhibits as well.

They are passionate about explaining the science behind their exhibits and encouraging learning through play and exploration.


Toy Like Me at the deaf festival

Penny at toy like me stallThere was also Toy like Me – oh I love this one..

Rebecca is a great person, taking the time to discuss her work with everyone. To find ways to engage people of all ages and particularly young children. They are keen to look at the pictures of familiar toys like Barbie, Mr Potato head, Lego characters, Tinkerbell. All with either a hearing aid, walking stick, prosthetic limb, wheelchair, long cane etc.

Toy Like Me is an arts and play based not for profit organisation celebrating diff:ability in toys. Calling on the global toy industry to positively represent 150 million kids with disability and difference worldwide.

Get in touch via their website at

There were also colouring activities for young children, a tree house activity toy, and colourful postcards of all the toys Rebecca has included in her work, all day it was a hive of activity.

It was also great to be visited on our stand by current Members and catch up with our Member groups Norfolk Deaf Association ( and to meet the new contacts for the Epilepsy Action group in Norwich.

Epilepsy Action Norwich at the deaf festival

The Group meets on the 1st Monday of each month at Marzarno’s in Forum.

To find out more contact Maureen Roy at

Equal Lives at the deaf festival

We were asked about our Services, Volunteering, Disability Pride and the Peer Networking Event, the Disabled Parents Focus Group, UK Power Networks Priority Services Register (, our referral systems and made some good contacts for the future.

Our youngest visitor was about 4ish and was taken by the balloons on the Disability Pride flyer and the real balloons we had on the stand so a success all round. you can find out about disability pride here:

It would be great to make our stand more interactive though so get your thinking caps on.

Matt Talbot organiser and Ensign at the deaf festival

matt and pippaFinally we managed to grab Matt Talbot for a quick catch up on how he felt the day went.

An a member of the Organising team Matt was in demand all day and he is also compere for the event, everyone was chatting to him.

“It’s been a fantastic day, the event is growing year on year. It’s been even better this year, very open with lots of variety, Big D, Small D. A wide range of disabled people attending a long with parents and professionals”

Matt is also part of Ensign interpreting and they offer interpreters, training and mentoring, providing a professional and friendly service to the deaf community in Norfolk.

To find out more visit:

So it was an enjoyable and fun day and not a cake in sight and there was even a caramel latte or two…

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