Deafblind UK wins ScottishPower Foundation Education Award

The charity’s Education Project, which aims to give every child the best start in life, was honoured at the ScottishPower Foundation’s annual awards ceremony in Glasgow

Staff holding award

Deafblind UK’s Education Project has won the ScottishPower Foundation Education Award.

The project, which started earlier this year (2022), aims to give teachers the “confidence and knowledge to fully support students who have sight and hearing loss whilst giving students the reassurance that their needs are being met.”

It came about after the charity received feedback that more could be done to support deafblind students and to improve accessibility and awareness of deafblindness within schools.

Its overall aim is to ensure Deafblind children have the best possible start in life, both academically and socially.

Carolyn Greig, a former secondary school science teacher, who runs the project, said: “Children with deafblindness can be isolated from their peers and excluded from some activities because of their specific needs regarding communication.

“Our Education Project aims to remove some of these barriers for young people and raise awareness amongst their peers to improve the experiences that these students have throughout school.”

As part of the project, Greig works with a number of schools to create and trial resources for teachers.

She added: “All our young people have the right to high quality education that is tailored to their specific needs.

“There are some simple things that all educational establishments can do to make learning easier for some children, and we are keen to incorporate the views and insight of a variety of teachers when developing our advice.”

It is estimated that there are almost 400,000 people living with deafblindness in the UK. This number is expected to rise to 600,000 by 2030, making deafblindness the fastest growing disability in the UK.

Steve Conway, CEO of Deafblind UK, said: “It is an honour to be recognised by the ScottishPower Foundation for our work in the education sector. We truly believe that every single child should have an equal chance to learn and have a meaningful education, despite their sight and hearing loss.

“Winning this award means that we can support even more students and their parents to get the education they deserve.”

The ScottishPower Foundation was launched by the energy supplier in 2013, and seeks to support charitable causes throughout Great Britain. It partly funds Deafblind UK’s Education Project.

The annual awards ceremony was held in Glasgow on 1 November.

Melanie Hill, executive officer and trustee at the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “Deafblind UK’s work to tackle the stigma associated with being Deafblind and to ensure the people it supports have equal access to things many of us take for granted is truly inspiring.

“Their Education Project has the potential to be life enhancing for deafblind children. I’m looking forward to seeing Deafblind UK build on its legacy – and ours – for many years to come.”

Lead image: Gerry Reilly and Shirley Scotcher, of Deafblind UK, collect the charity's award, alongside Fernando García Sánchez, chairman of the Iberdrola Foundation Spain