Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Smart Energy

Smart Energy. Deaf audience film from Flare/ Flare Studio on Vimeo.

There seem a few views on this including claims these meters can be hacked into and your bills altered and utility companies using or selling your data.  Mostly it is so that utility companies don't have to employ meter readers any more and saving energy is simply you seeing how much you use than switching off yourself to save energy usage.  Which presumably you can do without a meter anyway? 69% of people are refusing to have them installed despite very heavy blanket adverts sent weekly to our homes.  What part of no don't they understand?  for those using 'Token'  and card systems to pay for power, there is no point in a smart meter because if you do not top them up your power is cut off!  Such users are acutely aware already on power savings.

Deaf Society collapse: Home closed.

ONE of Blackburn's most prominent office developments has been sold off after the collapse of the East Lancashire Deaf Society. 

King's Court, in King Street, Blackburn, has been sold off following the demise of the East Lancs Deaf SocietyKing's Court was one of the was key assets held by the Heaton Street-based charity, which collapsed last June. Administrators have now confirmed that the offices, which latterly had 13 tenants, had been sold to Properties North West, on behalf of Last Seconds Manchester. "The sale completed for £925,000. 

The purchaser also paid interest totalling £1,258," said administrator Robert Colman. "The funds from the sale will be forwarded to the joint administrators shortly." Charity Bank, one of the deaf society's main creditors, is receiving £826,507 following the sale, it has been confirmed, though they may still be owed another £191,000 as a result of the deaf society's demise. And £564,000 is still owed to an East Lancashire couple who hold a fixed charge over King's Court. 

 Another £25,645 has been collected in rent for King's Court offices, conference bookings and car parking space rent over the period, says an update report. Rent debts of £6,669 have also been collected from past tenants. Other debts of £75,045 were owed to the society and £21,170 has been recouped. Administrators have also been attempting to recover paperwork from the DWP - the charity's principal reason for failure was the withdrawal of Access to Work scheme contracts with the agency. 

But Mr Colman said that despite a number of requests, the DWP had not delivered the necessary records. He says that the agency is arguing there is no money owed to the charity - and in fact they intend to make a "substantial claim" against the deaf society as part of the proceedings. Mr Colman also said that a number of investigations were still ongoing concerning transactions revealed in the deaf society's bank statements. An attempt has been made, for instance, to access a bank account held for one of the charity's associated entities, Deaf Children North West, which Santander has refused. 

An estimated £71,563 would be outstanding from unpaid employee wages and holiday pay, according to the administrators, though no claim has yet been made from the Redundancy Payments Office, and unpaid pension contributions could total £4,818.

£30,000 taxi bill to attend deaf school.

"This hugely excessive waste of taxpayers’ money is an outrage," say the Moreton family - who want to move. Southwark Council spends more than £30,000 a year just on taxis to get a profoundly deaf girl to school in St Albans because her family cannot get council housing there. 

Mum-of-two, Sophie, lives in council housing in Bermondsey with her partner and children, nine-year-old Daisy and two-year-old Frazer. All four are profoundly deaf. Since last February, taxpayers have been forking out nearly £3,000 a month in taxi fares for Daisy to go to school, despite the family’s many efforts to move closer to St Alban's. 

The bill could also increase if no solution is found as Frazer is due to attend the school later this year. Because his school day would be at different times to Daisy’s, he too could need a taxi to take him to school. Frazer would attend the school until he is sixteen. The fed-up Moreton family have attempted to move council housing to St Alban's and save Southwark taxpayers’ money but to no avail. 

Officials at Southwark town hall are now locked in discussions with their counterparts in St Albans in a bid to reduce the hefty bill. Daisy struggled in mainstream education but is now flourishing at the specialist school Daughter Daisy first attended mainstream school in Greenwich, but was unhappy and fell far behind her peers, said Sophie. “She struggled with English and Maths, she didn’t understand the teachers,” the BSL user told the News. “She had very few friends, she felt stressed and moody.” 

The family applied for the specialist school 40 miles away when Daisy fell behind in mainstream education, with a reading level of someone half her age. Southwark initially refused the application, but it was overturned at a tribunal, and Daisy has been attending the school since February. “Her education in under a year has improved beyond belief,” said Sophie. “She has good friends and has become a confident happy and well-adjusted child.” But taxpayers shelling out so much on taxis for the daily 80-mile round trip, because they cannot move closer, simply defies common sense, say the family. 

The council’s offices on Tooley Street “There have been countless reasons and excuses to not move us to Hertfordshire council housing,” said Sophie. “I feel this hugely excessive waste of taxpayers’ money to transport my child to school is an outrage and that basic common sense appears to have been thrown out of the window. “I am utterly exhausted emotionally and have no idea of where to turn to, surely there has to be some reasonable outcome that would save Southwark a vast quantity of money a year by just working out a house exchange.” Southwark offered a council housing swap with St Albans, but it declined, according to Cllr Kieron Williams. 

“Firstly, I am really sorry for the inconvenience and stress that Ms Moreton and her children are faced with in this situation – it’s far from ideal, but I’m confident that we can collectively come up with more options to hopefully resolve the situation and I am more than happy to meet with Ms Moreton to discuss it further,” he said. “We have supported the Moreton family with their application for a mutual exchange to a home in St Albans, and have offered a reciprocal arrangement with St Albans Council, but unfortunately they have declined this option so far. 

“We have also offered the family the option of private rented accommodation in St Albans, but this would mean that they have a less secure and affordable home than one managed by the local authority. “We have written to St Albans Council again to ask that we meet or to discuss this and see if there are any further options open to this family and I sincerely hope we can find a more practical and less expensive solution very soon.” 

A St Albans spokesperson told the News that discussions were ongoing with Southwark Council and that it hoped to get the situation resolved soon.

Is sign language worth learning?

Image result for why sign?
The perennial question Hard of hearing keep asking themselves, but is the answer in the fact they are asking?

#1  I did level 1 last year (want to continue but couldn't find course during daytime locally); I just really enjoyed it and found it a great way of meeting people. I didn't do it because of the hearing loss but just because it was something I'd always wanted to do; it was coincidental that my hearing got a lot worse at the same time.

#2 I learnt it and found no use for it outside the home, the thing about HoH acquiring it, is they aren't aware that those who rely/live or thrive on it are apart from the social areas we inhabit, and deaf socialising is where it works. 

#3 That is because there is no support by systems to empower sign using people outside access TO those systems, so no social support for it.  Hard of hearing are also reluctant to attend or integrate into areas where it is the sole means of communication, those that do tend to sit apart even then.

#4  In learning sign you need to understand your social avenues will have to change and decide if you are prepared to change your entire social approaches, our dilemma is we don't, most of us want to access what we had before so a conflict of choice always exists. 

#5   There is a lack of proper and realistic advice. We should be told in real terms what reliance on sign language really involves.  Hard of hearing who look on it as a 'fun' thing or novelty, tend not to take it seriously, and rely on aids etc, but for the deaf it is a way of life they don't flit in and out of that communication approach, it is all and that's the issue with sign.

#6 As stated, the lack of vocabulary, lack of daily support for it and a reluctance to empower its usage in work or play, means most of us will not find a ready use for it. 12m with hearing loss, a few 1,000 who rely on 300 sign interpreters, the statistic speaks for itself. The fact there are no academic-based signs also mean the child with hearing loss can be limited in how far they can advance themselves given the world does not revolve around sign usage. 

#7  Sign has a very seductive approach and appeal born deaf readily embrace, they claim it is a natural means for the deaf on the basis they cannot hear anyway, and it is entirely visual, so it then replaces any desire or will to use that sign for access to non-deaf vocal environments. 

#8  So it is why they demand everyone else acquires it? they are unable to adapt themselves? I thought oral schools and lip-reading were options too?

#9  Worldwide there is no real attempt to create a deaf communication environment that bridges divides, activism and rights has made demands for everyone else to adapt but not them.  Many areas of the deaf feel understanding speech approaches is a form of discrimination.

#10  I think that needs a challenge if these deaf are ever to move outside their own closed areas. HoH have never really adapted to them either, there is some sort of 'standoff' or apathetic acceptance as I can see, where the more outgoing attempt to attend deaf clubs and other deaf areas,  but there is a very visible 'barrier' and like, tend to socialise with like.  HoH are tolerated visitors in most part.

#11  Hard of Hearing are hearing people waiting for the cure, so accepting the reality of deafness and all that goes with it, never really happens, sign language will never be a system they embrace.

#12  Why has nobody included lip-reading? 

#13  Probably because Hard of Hearing are desperate to accept it as a real option but finding it impossible to master?

#14 When you cut through the hype and waffle about sign language and view the realities, fewer and fewer deaf in the western world are following it blindly any more.  In the past it was assumed no other options existed, that is no longer the case.