The hand-tastic team is an all lady team, come and meet us!
I've always had an interest in British Sign Language (B.S.L), but a busy life and having a family, meant it took some years before I could take myself off to college. After the first lesson, I just knew sign language was for me.
At the beginning of 2012, I finished my NVQ Level 3 in Britsih Sign Language. I had been studying it for 5 years and didn't want it to stop. I was the secretary of Wrexham Deaf Club for about 4 years, this involved arranging day trips and activities, committee meetings, taking minutes at the meetings, writing letters, etc. One of the other things we had to do was to raise money for Wrexham Deaf Club, one of the ways we did this was by setting up a sign singing group, in 2010. What is a sign singing group? It is a group that uses British Sign Language to 'sing' the songs. I became the co-ordinator for Wrexham's Singing Hands, and still continue to do so, and still get enjoyment out of doing it. I translate the songs into B.S.L, for the group to use, (also some of the members are deaf, so they copy me and also get to enjoy the songs).
I have also worked as a volunteer in the local college as a Classroom Support Worker, this involved helping the students and the tutor (who was deaf), when there was a communication breakdown, making things easier for both parties.
Working as a secretary, (and before this a member of the Deaf Club), I got to realise the problems in every day life that the Deaf community have to face. Basic communication and Deaf Awarenss could be the key. This is where hand-tastic comes in, introducing Deaf Awareness, to not just children but adults too.
I began to study British sign language after it was discovered that my Godson is deaf. After doing level one and finding it fascinating I decided to carry on and do level 2. I did both level 1 and level 2 at Yale college in Wrexham and volunteered there as a communication support worker helping a deaf tutor to deliver a level 1 course. I then continued on to do the advanced level and level 3 at Llandrillo College in Colwyn bay.
During my learning I became active within the deaf community attending various deaf clubs and becoming a commitee member at Wrexham deaf club as well as being involved in their fund raising efforts. I am also a member of Wrexhams singing hands, this is a branch of Wrexham deaf club that uses sign singing to raise money for deaf club.
It was whilst being out and about within the community with my deaf friends that I experienced first hand some of the problems that they have doing day to day things that the rest of us take for granted such as ordering food in a cafe. It was then that I got together with Claire and decided to do something positive to address this and make the next generation more deaf aware.
Brenda is one of hand-tastic's volunteers. Brenda is a member of the local Deaf club and of Wrexham's Singing Hands. Brenda enjoys 'singing' along to the songs, her favourite being 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. Meeting the children is one of the things that Brenda enjoys the most and you will often see Brenda with a smile on her face. She likes it when they make her laugh with some of the question they ask or when the children are trying their best to get the signing right but not quite getting it. Brenda will be the first to help them and put them right, as she believes that all children should learn the British Sign Language fingerspelling alphabet and the basic signs. Brenda is happy for the children to ask her questions and learn from her. At the end of the session the children always come up to Brenda and tell her their name with the new signs they have just learnt, Brenda always has the time for them and enjoys seeing the children try.
"Photo coming soon"
Jenny joined hand-tastic mid 2012. She is an active member of Wrexham's Singing Hands, (a group that performs and raises money for Wrexham Deaf Club), and was delighted to be asked to join the hand-tastic team. Jenny enjoys sign singing and likes it when the children join in with us within the session. As all our team members, Jenny wants to get the message out to the children about Deaf Awareness.
Jenny is a member of the Deaf Club committee and has a busy life with her family but always finds the time to come and volunteer with hand-tastic.
"Photo coming soon"
Geri is the brand new volunteer member of hand-tastic. She joined hand-tastic towards the end of 2012 and is thoroughly enjoying it. Geri is doing the Deaf Studies Degree in Colwyn Bay at the moment and is busy with doing research needed for the course, but she will always find the time to volunteer with hand-tastic. Geri has a very different story to Brenda and Jenny, with a different outcome. She learnt sign language later in her life and is still learning but offers the children a different outlook on Deaf Awareness. She is a very happy member and tries to make her story interesting to the children. One thing she says is, "Make each session as though it's your first!", meaning - keep that enthusiasm there for the children to enjoy.
IN LOVING MEMORY
Malcolm was hand-tasic's first volunteer member. Malcolm loved helping hand-tastic to introduce the children to Deaf Awareness. Malcolm was chairperson of Wrexham Deaf club, when Claire and Joanne approached him with their idea of hand-tastic. Malcolm agreed to come along to the schools as he had a strong feelings about children learning about Deaf Awareness. As a deaf member and chairperson of the Wrexham Deaf club, Malcolm worked hard to promote the Deaf club and people's awareness of the Deaf.
Malcolm enjoyed interacting with the children and he loved the question time with the children and the questions they asked. The questions were/are meant to be deaf-related, but the children always asked Malcolm different questions and some were so funny and had Malcolm laughing for a long time. Malcolm was always honest and open with his answers to the children's questions, which opened the children's eyes to Malcolm's and other deaf people's lives. He spoke to him about how he coped with life and how new technology has helped him over the years.
He had had many jobs throughout his life and he was an out-going person, always ready to join in with any activity that was going on. Deafness never stopped Malcolm enjoying life to the full, but unfortunately Malcolm passed away in August 2012. He is and always will be missed within the hand-tastic team. He was not only a volunteer, but a good, dear friend who helped to get hand-tastic up and running.
He will be missed but will always be in the hearts and thoughts of the hand-tastic team.