£35k needed to save Leeds hearing loss service

Cat Bradshaw
Cat Bradshaw
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a vital service for thousands of older people with hearing problems across Leeds is under threat because of a funding crisis.

The Hear to Help service, which provides free advice and assistance with hearing aids, needs £35,000 by the end of April to keep going.

National charity Action on Hearing Loss set up the service in 2010, with one paid member of staff and 14 volunteers working across the city, carrying out 2,500 consultations a year.

Community support officer Cat Bradshaw, who runs Hear to Help in Leeds, said: “People get so much out of it. If you lose your hearing, you are really isolated. This makes such a difference.”

Action on Hearing Loss, formerly the RNID, launched the service in 2010.

Cat and her volunteers run drop-in sessions in public buildings, at events and local groups, and in people’s own homes.

They provide practical help for those with hearing loss, working alongside the services provided by the NHS to offer help with simple maintenance of hearing aids.

“We have time to sit with people and go at their pace,” Cat said.

“Because we’re not in a medical setting, people are more relaxed. Because we are dealing with basic maintenance, it frees up the NHS audiology team for more serious issues. It’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

The service is totally reliant on donations and is struggling as the funding has dried up.

Now firms, organisations and supporters are being asked to contribute.

A public meeting was well-supported and six MPs are writing to Clinical Commissioning Groups in Leeds, which pay for healthcare, to call for backing for the service.

To donate, email ayesha.lalloo@hearingloss.org.uk or call 0207 2968390.

Lizzie Jones with fellow campaigners.

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