Access Bedford and the D/deaf community together can make a huge difference!
Who is Access Bedford?
Access Bedford is run by a group of volunteers – 3 trustees and 3 committee members who coordinate a range of events and activities across Bedford Borough to improve access for the D/deaf community locally. There are no paid staff in Access Bedford – everything is done by fantastic and committed volunteers.
Priorities for this year 2018/19;
We are so pleased to see all the new groups and activity in Bedford and around for the Deaf Community. More social opportunities with Northampton Deaf Coffee, Luton BSL Pub, Milton Keynes pub, Deaf Walks, Big Deaf Summer Picnic, HearMeOut and Little Eagles. WOW. 4 years ago there was nothing – now look!
This means that Access Bedford will change the focus for this year. We will look at how to stay focused on changing services and improving the lives of all of the Deaf Community in Bedford Borough.
This means we will;
- Raise awareness of the Deaf Community
- Find out the needs of the community
- Create a strong network of Deaf Organisations so it is easy to understand who does what, where, why and when
- Share information and work together for a strong Deaf Community
How and when did Access Bedford start?
Sept 2013 – pilot of social events and information events in 2013 including a workshop on PiP
April 2014 – Access Bedford was started to bring together the D/deaf Community to socialise and work with services to be more D/deaf aware. Access Bedford was established by 4 Bedford Volunteers – Suzie Sampson, Catherine Wright, Alison Cook and Emma Sparrow.
In July 2014 we were awarded funding for our youth club project and by Autumn 2014 we had regular events, had met the MP who started to help us to put on our first Deaf Day in November 2014, had a constitution, bank account and were starting to be known!
In Feb 2015 funding from the Bedford Deaf Club and Bedford Borough Council to help with costs of events, the newsletter and to support our aims.
In Summer 2015 we became a registered charity which is amazing! Suzie, Catherine and Alison became our first registered trustees for Access Bedford, with Emma as a non voting member from July 2015.
From Autumn 2015 – Spring 2016 we ran many events including the Access Bedford Deaf Education Conference in Sept 2015, run our first Deaf Winter Ball in Nov 2015, held a further Emergency Services event in Feb 2016 and our second Deaf Information Day and our first AGM in May 2016. At the AGM we increased our committee to include 4 non voting members with our trustees. For 16/17 they were;
You can read more in our first Annual Report by clicking this link Annual Report 15-16
From April 16 – March 17, we continued to run eventswith the community and improve access to services. This included a conference on mental health and well-being, supporting access at the PCC hustings, delivering more social events including a children’s halloween party and Deaf Comedy Night with John Smith and more! You can read about our year by downloading our Annual Report – accessbedford17
In May 2017, we said goodbye to one of our founding members, Suzie Sampson, who stepped down as chair and goes on to pastures new. We would like to thank Suzie for everything she has done in creating Access Bedford with Catherine, Alison and Emma and wish her all the best for the future. Carla also stepped down as a committee members – but will carry on as a volunteer with Access Bedford running family fun workshops.
In January 2018, Michelle took a break from Access Bedford and decided to step down in March 2018. We’d like to thank Michelle for all of her support over the last 2 years with Access Bedford – you’ll be missed!
At the AGM in June 2018, we shared what were the highlights over the last 12 months. You can read all about what happened in 2017/18 in the Annual Report 1718. Sadly, Emma (a founding member) and Nathalie also stepped down which meant that new volunteers were welcomed into the committee. Ally and Shelly have joined the committee having been very involved in the Deaf Community locally – but we need more helpers!
We can help you get issues, opinions and ideas from the Deaf Community on new developments like Riverside North and services like the Hospital, Police and Social Care in Bedford Borough.
You can help us with our aims, coming to events and projects, letting people know about what we do and about new initiatives like the deafhelp emails (Police and Hosptial) and helping us by fundraising.
Download our summary flyer to share with friends and family! ab-info or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch