Deaf Academy wins a top counselling award
EXETER'S Deaf Academy has won a national award from the British Association of Counselling Professionals for its counselling service.
The award, for communicating the benefits of counselling, had hundreds of applications from throughout the UK and abroad and was presented at the BACP Awards Ceremony in London.
Jonathan Farnhill, chief executive, said it was very hard to find counsellors who had sign language skills.
"We were determined to set up this service when we saw how difficult it was for deaf people to find a counsellor who can use sign language," he said. "The nearest counsellor we could find was in Birmingham." The academy has paid for two members of staff to become qualified counsellors and they work closely with the academy's clinical psychologist, Dr Jim Cromwell.
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Mr Farnhill said he welcomed the recognition brought by the top national award.
He added: "Our counselling service has made a big impact already, and we're delighted to receive this award.
"We have worked hard to enable deaf people to be aware of it, and to provide a counselling service that meets their needs.
"Our two counsellors bring different and complementary skills and experience.
"Paul Valentine is deaf and has excellent sign language skills. Paul is part of the deaf community and so has a great understanding of the challenges that deaf people can face.
"Jayne Dingle has worked with students at the academy for many years, and is able to offer great support to students and their relatives."