Friday 24th – Saturday 25th May saw the return of our popular Norfolk Summer Deaf Festival (NSDF) at the Forum, Norwich. Can you believe it’s been a week already?
I went along on the Friday and this year’s festival was bigger and better, an amazing success!
Friday’s events saw Paul Whittaker and David Ellington as MC’s, they were a fantastic duo, and kept the public entertained throughout the lineup of the day. I adored watching the signing choirs perform popular songs, it’s beautiful to watch!
ToyLikeMe had a fantastic display in the centre of the Forum, around the theme of Deaf Jobs and Careers. It was an interactive magnetic display so children could pair up the job with people’s photos. It’s inspiring to show the public that deaf people can achieve anything!
My favourite was this sign… ‘We’re all Deaf and Proud’, Louise Deaf Awareness and I snapped a photo by it!
NDCS Listening Bus was there on the day, I popped along to say hi, and they showed me some awesome new technologies (how had I not heard of them before!) – portable doorbell alert systems and a light portable vibrating pad that connects to your phone’s alarm (perfect for falling asleep on the train or for holidays to wake you up!)
Many stallholders lined the Forum showcasing what their organisation/service had to offer, from Sign Language course providers, to hearing technologies, communication services and social activities for deaf people to get involved in.
The thing that struck me the most was the personal impact the festival had on two close friends of mine who visited for the first time…
Louise, who I met at the Laughing to Deaf Comedy Night after years of chatting on Twitter through our blog connection, quotes “It made me feel included and gave me a sense of belonging. I felt at home. It was good fun!“
My other friend who is deafblind, is quite isolated due to support hours being cut, was able to come along. I introduced her to my friend Rebecca, the founder of ToyLikeMe who is also deafblind and she cried because it was so emotional and meant a lot to meet someone who has been through a similar experience to her.
She said; “I really enjoyed it. I found out lots of information. Being deafblind makes you very isolated, so it meant so much to me to meet lots of lovely people who understand”
It’s amazing how an event like that can bring deaf people, those with hearing loss and their friends and families together to celebrate deaf culture and most importantly, realise that they’re not alone with what they’ve been through. Every time I go along, I feel like I belong, like we’re all one big family… it’s magical!
It’s been a pleasure being on the festival committee for the past two years, but due to other commitments, this year will be my last. I can’t wait to attend next year’s festival as a guest!
Until next year!
Love E x