Southland Deaf Club want to establish community hub

Lourdes Gerrard, 2, of Invercargill, clutches her balloon during a tour of Bill Richardson Transport World on Friday.

ROBYN EDIE/FAIRFAX NZ Lourdes Gerrard, 2, of Invercargill, clutches her balloon during a tour of Bill Richardson Transport World on Friday.

For Roger Strong, growing up deaf was a challenge because of the lack of support in Invercargill.

He was sent to a school for the deaf in Christchurch, and as a young boy, found the separation from his family and home hard.

Years later, and now back in Invercargill, Strong is president of the Southland Deaf Club.

He was one of a group of hearing impaired people who took part in a guided tour of Bill Richardson Transport World on Friday.

The tour was led by Bill Richardson’s Daughter Joc O’Donnell who was assisted by Sign language Interpreter Roxanne Frahm.

Strong said it was his hope for the future that there would be a deaf school in Invercargill so the younger generations did not need to leave home to get the services they needed.

“It’s about deaf rights. I want the future deaf children to be able to be connected to their community.”

The Southland Deaf Club has about 14 adult members and more than 80 children who are deaf and hard of hearing, Strong said.

The deaf club was aiming to buy a building in Invercargill which they could use as a community hub for those with hearing difficulties.

It was great to be able to get together at the museum and look at the old vehicles and remember times past, he said.

Deaf Aotearoa facilitator Rebecca Petre, who helped organise the guided tour, said it was something different for the Southland Deaf Club.

The tour was a precursor to New Zealand Sign Language Week which starts on Monday, she said.

“It’s a really exciting thing for these guys.”

 – Stuff

Southland Deaf Club want to establish community hub

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