Charity is forced to disband

A group which supports deaf and hard-of-hearing people across the region is to disband just a month after having to leave its base in Galashiels.

The Borders Deaf and Hard of Hearing Network was one of several charitable organisations left homeless when The Hive in Low Buckholmside went into voluntary liquidation earlier this month.

At an extraordinary general meeting of the network, the decision to call it a day was confirmed.

A statement cited the loss of its premises and the “retention and recruitment of crucial volunteers and board members”.

The network, staffed entirely by volunteers, was founded in 2005 and began holding twice-weekly drop-in sessions in 2008.

In the same year it launched its free home trial service for a range of equipment, including vibrating alarm clocks, amplified cordless telephones, visual door bells and television listening aids.

As a result of referrals from the sensory services team and the audiology department at Borders General Hospital, the network’s volunteers undertook many home visits to clients aged from their early 20s to their late 90s.

The group, which moved to The Hive in 2013 and set up a resource centre, organised talks and demonstrations across the Borders and helped members who required the services of a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.

The network has also worked with NHS Borders to set up a pilot SMS texting service to assist deaf and hard-of-hearing people access hospital departments.

A spokesperson said the decision to disband had been made “with regret” and that a small sub-group would oversee the process.

“The network wishes to acknowledge the support we have received in the past from Scottish Borders Council, NHS Borders, Age Scotland, the Moffat Trust, the Big Lottery Fund, the Change Foundation and the Hayward Trust, along with other organisations and the many members of the public who have supported our fundraising activities,” added the spokesperson.