A DREAM facility is a major step closer to reality thanks to more than six years of tireless work by a local charity and volunteers.
Deafblind Scotland has officially secured the site in Lenzie known as the ‘Field of Dreams’, where it aims to build a £1.3 million centre of excellence for people with sight and hearing problems.
It is another major milestone for the Lenzie-based charity, which recently secured a Heritage Lottery Fund award of £46,400.
Initiatives officer Drena O’Malley said: “The land officially becoming the property of Deafblind Scotland marks a new chapter in the history of deafblindness in Scotland.
“Now we can push ahead with our efforts to raise the £1.3million needed to build a centre of excellence for deafblind people, where they really can achieve their potential in surroundings conducive to the best possible use of any residual sight and hearing they may have.
“Lighting, soundproofing, background colours, roofing and technology will all be designed and used to best possible effect.
“Watch this space for fundraising activities to help us reach the total.”
Meanwhile, the Lottery funding will be used for a heritage project, based in Lenzie and involving deafblind people from all over Scotland.
The aim is to record deafblind people’s stories, particularly those of sign language users.
Drena explained: “The experiences of people now deafblind who grew up as blind only or deaf only are quite unique.
“Their experiences of education, working life and social life are quite different from other parts of the population and thus their adult lives are often impacted by these experiences.
“For example, deaf children often went to boarding school from a very young age, perhaps three, and only went home every second weekend, even though their families lived a few miles away. They would often be taught lip-reading during the day and use sign language in the playground.
“They didn’t get to know the children who lived in their neighbourhood and when they came home at weekends and holidays they couldn’t easily communicate with anyone around them.
“It is hoped this will become an academic resource, as well as an interesting record to read or watch.”
Jo Swinson, MP for East Dunbartonshire, has welcomed the Lottery boost.
She said: “Well done to Deafblind Scotland.
“The project will be a chance for deafblind volunteers to share their stories and engage with the community.
“This follows the good news that they now own land in order to build a new £1.3million training and resource centre.”
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