Charity Awards 2024

Deafblind UK

Improving awareness and understanding of deafblindness in schools

Deafblindness is a dual sensory loss condition that affects around 450,000 people in the UK, but anecdotally, awareness of it among young people and school settings is low. This means that people with the condition may not get the support they need, and may feel isolated.

Deafblind UKDeafblind UK set out to rectify this gap, by creating “Lesson in a Box: Discovering Deafblindness” for teachers and their pupils aged seven to 16.

The project provides resources that were co-designed with members of the deafblind community so they could tell their stories and educate pupils and teachers about the condition. It also provides school staff with the tools to effectively teach deafblind students and promote inclusion in classrooms.

Video footage of people with deafblindness included in the free resource packs depicts people with the condition living full lives and achieving their goals, highlighting that deafblindness is not always disabling.

Mindful of how busy teachers are, Deafblind UK designed the resources to fit alongside relevant existing sections of the national curriculum, to maximise their impact.

So far, the charity has distributed its resources to 1,671 schools across England and reached 729,000 pupils.

Deafblind UK has received feedback that children’s heightened understanding of the condition has helped them to recognise deafblindness in older members of their families, making them indirect beneficiaries of the project.

The charity believes 3.3 million people have a better understanding of deafblindness as a result of the project, while 800,000 have directly benefitted from the work.

Charity Awards judge Anne Fox, CEO of Clinks, said this was “great work to help societal change and remove barriers for deafblind individuals”.

“It was very replicable and scalable so should benefit even more people, and I loved how they integrated the lesson plans into the curriculum to make it part of everyday learning.”

CC Reg no. 802976