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Exeter Lipreaders classes to continue thanks to local funding

08th July 2021

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic resulting in isolation from society, those with hearing loss have been hit hard. In Exeter, new funding from our Neighbourhood Fund is enabling the continuation of Exeter Lipreaders’ services to help adults with an acquired hearing loss to re-join and engage with their communities.

Funded solely through grants and donations, Exeter Lipreaders underwent significant changes to adapt to the pandemic last year, using Zoom and weekly newsletters to ensure all group members were able to still take part and connect. With usual sessions on hold throughout the pandemic, retaining their remaining services has become essential for its members, with many living alone and reliant on meetings to ease isolation and maintain morale throughout these difficult times.


The £1,000 grant received from the Neighbourhood Fund will be used to cover the expenses of a qualified lipreading tutor for the remainder of Exeter Lipreaders’ spring sessions. Providing lipreading practice, communication strategies and useful resources that are essential to supporting those with hearing loss within Exeter and the surrounding community.


Ruth Bizley of Exeter Lipreaders commented:


“Our project seeks to bring people with hearing loss together, teaching them skills to enable them to cope in a hearing world. With South West Water’s financial support we are able to continue our adapted sessions and open up additional opportunities by teaching our members how to use software like Zoom to further connect with one another.”


Jo Ecroyd, Customer Services Director at South West Water added:


“After experiencing the hardship and loneliness that the pandemic has presented, having services like Exeter Lipreaders within our community is essential. We are thrilled that this funding will help provide guidance and resources to help members feel a part of their community and assist them to reconnect with society as lockdown restrictions ease.”


We're giving back to the region it works within and cares about by actively improving the lives of its people and the places they love for generations to come through our £100,000 Neighbourhood Fund grants. The pandemic has emphasised the importance of local communities and we're investing in supporting people across Devon and Cornwall to build back communities. The Neighbourhood Fund is making a tangible difference to the lives of people living in Devon and Cornwall.


We're making this investment to better the lives of local people through funding projects which protect nature and the environment for the benefit of community health and well-being; provide new opportunities for people to learn and develop; bring communities together, virtually or physically – when safe to do so; and/or support the upkeep of local neighbourhood centres and facilities to keep communities strong.

For further information please contact:

To find out more about the Neighbourhood Fund, visit southwestwater.co.uk/community/support/neighbourhood-fund.