FOR DEAF young people, the world can be an isolating place.
But Prism Deaf Youth Club in Bradford is helping young deaf people find confidence, make new friends and improve their social and communication skills.
The club, which operates from a youth centre in Girlington, one of the most deprived wards of the city, has been nominated for this year’s Yorkshire Children of Courage group award.
Helen Lynch, lead youth worker at Prism, said: “The deaf young people who attend the sessions all live locally and the activities we run also helps to develop their social skills to enable them to become confident members of their community.
“Many of them have very little social interaction outside of school, so this increases their confidence and self esteem.”
The club is held once a week and includes sports activities like climbing and pool, cooking sessions and provides a place for simply “chilling out.” The group has been running for around 30 years and currently supports around 40 young people, who range from partially to profoundly deaf.
Mrs Lynch said it was both “a surprise and humbling” to be nominated for the award.
She added: “The work we do within our community and for the children and families we meet is reward enough, but, to be considered for this award and the awareness it will bring to our aims is a wonderful boost to our mission.”
Paul Maxwell, 31, attended the youth club in his teens and now volunteers at the group.
He said: “It’s really great coming back. Now I am helping the deaf young people who are attending the club to get the same experience as I did.”
In August, he will volunteer at the club’s annual residential weekend he got so much out of when he was a teenager. It is one of the key events in the club’s calendar.
Like the other two nominees in this year’s group award, Able2 Pontefract Special Olympics and Jessie’s Fund, Prism received a grant from the St James’s Place Foundation, organisers of YCCA.
For the first time, members of the public can vote for their winner from the shortlist.
The Yorkshire Post is the media partner for the awards, which are now in their fourth year.
They were set up to honour courageous youngsters while raising money to help disadvantaged and disabled young people. Nominations and voting can be made at www.yorkshirechildren.co.uk