Who are we?
Milton Keynes Deaf Zone (MKDZ) formed in July 2015 and officially launched in January 2016. The aim of the group is to promote independence, health and well-being and encourage participation in the wider community. The group supports sign language users (including those who have cochlear implants) and welcomes anyone across the range of hearing loss as well as family members.
What do we do?
MK Deaf Zone is a volunteer-led group that offers a range of activities including badminton and a craft club. There is also a monthly afternoon session at John Lewis community room. Wednesday afternoon sessions are particularly important for older members who catch up on news and find out important information. The sessions are also a great way for older sign language users to continue Deaf Culture.
Deaf Culture focuses on community values and using British Sign Language (BSL) as the main method of communication. Many volunteers and group attendees are bi-lingual so use BSL and English. However most attendees use BSL to access information and are therefore native sign language users.
Around 15 volunteers run MKDZ to support the wider Deaf Community. Most of the group’s activities are aimed at adults, although there are family events during the summer such as the Deaf Picnic.
From time to time, the volunteers organise days out. To date, days out have included Ladies Day at Ascot, Kensington Palace to see Princess Diana’s dresses and more recently, a tour around Bletchley Park.
Group volunteers have also enjoyed educational activities such as a a First Aid course and a Diabetes presentation.
MK Deaf Zone volunteers encourage other sign language users (deaf or hearing) to get involved in activities. The volunteers are keen to see others become part of the local Deaf Community.