Around 500,000 people in Wales are deaf or hard of hearing but, at the moment, there are very few qualified lip reading tutors in Wales.
The £202,000 joint funding announced on Wednesday April 4 by Minister for Health and Social services Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Finance Jane Hutt and Minister for Education Leighton Andrews will train 12 tutors from across Wales and support a programme of classes at low or no cost to those wishing to learn to lip read.
Lesley Griffiths said:
“Lipreading is a vital communication skill and can help people avoid social isolation and live life independently.
“We have been told by Action on Hearing Loss about the problems facing the 500,000 people in Wales who are deaf or hard of hearing, particularly those in the over 70 age group.”
Jane Hutt said:
“I accept that we need more lip reading tutors to work across Wales to train people with hearing loss and I am pleased to announce funding which will increase significantly the provision of courses in Wales.”
Leighton Andrews said:
“I’m pleased that the Welsh Government has been able provide this significant funding to train lip reading tutors in Wales. Lip reading is an extremely valuable skill and I’m sure that this announcement will benefit many of Wales’ deaf and hard of hearing learners.”
The funding is in line with the Welsh Government Framework for Action on Independent Living for Disabled People. It will fund a proposal to address lipreading provision put forward to the Welsh Government by a consortium of voluntary organisations working for and with deaf and hard of hearing people in Wales.
The consortium consists of Action on Hearing Loss Cymru, Wales Council for Deaf People, North Wales Deaf Association, National Deaf Children’s Society, British Deaf Association and Deaf Access Cymru.