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Also, BBC See Hear! filmed the event which can be viewed via BBC iPlayer here.

Deaf Parenting UK celebrated their 10years anniversary by hosting a fantastic first ever Deaf Parenting UK Awards 2011 at Royal Over-Sea League, Central London on Friday 7th October.

The Awards event was located at a grand and stunning venue, which saw 150 people joining the celebration which started with delicious refreshment of tea/ coffee with royal and sky blue cupcakes decorated with stars, rounded off with a luxury buffet together with a ‘DPUK Awards 2011’s Celebrating 10 years anniversary’ celebration cake. It was very much like an Oscar style, very glamorous and luxury feel, everyone enjoyed themselves.

The Awards event was hosted by Sabina Iqbal, Chair/ Founder of Deaf Parenting UK: For many, who have known of Deaf Parenting UK and those who are new to our work, Deaf Parenting UK started as a small project in April 2001 and now grown to a pioneering organisation and well-known charity across UK and worldwide, providing support to Deaf parents, parent to be and professionals working with Deaf parents.

At the Awards, we gathered together to honour the positive contributions of Deaf Parents, parents to be and professionals who works with Deaf parents to our community. This was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate with a difference, where the Awards are to celebrate and applaud the commitment, dedication and determination of Deaf parents and professionals (who work with Deaf parents) from all over the country and from all walks of life, for their contribution to improve the quality of life for Deaf parents ranging from front-line service, community based and strategy levels.”

All of our finalists were treated with special day and were nervous when the Awards ceremony announced the winners and highly commended of which many were shocked and delighted by the outcome. The Winners were awarded with a large glass trophy and gold-framed certificate and those who were highly commended were also awarded with silver-framed certificate of highly commended by the sponsor and DPUK Ambassador of each category.

Sabina added “Those finalists, who have made an amazing positive difference to all of our lives, are here today and we applaud them for coming this far. It is their passion, energy, courage and determination that inspired all of us. It’s an exciting time to witness such momentum in history of recognising Deaf parents and professionals in field of supporting Deaf parents as well as encourage a growth of people keen to make the difference in our lives too.”

Caroline Parker - Deaf Performer

"So Strong" - Audience joined in the chorus...

Everyone were also treated with a fantastic and powerful performance from Caroline Parker, a Deaf performer who signed the songs into British Sign Language (BSL) including Bette Midler’s ‘Beneath My Wings’; Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling so Good’ and Labi Siffre’s ‘So Strong’ which proved to be so empowering and inspiring, summing up the feeling of the overall Awards Event.

Sue Saxey, President of NCT who presented the Community of Deaf Parents Awards: “NCT, the UK’s largest charity for parents, is delighted to sponsor the Community of Deaf Parents Award.  This award is particularly special to the work we do at NCT as we have been creating communities of support for those in the transition to parenthood for 55 years.  Having a supportive community of others who have had similar experiences to you can often be a real lifeline when you are adjusting to life as a parent.  We would like to congratulate Deaf Parenting UK for their work and those who won awards for their amazing efforts to support parents”.

Mike Penning MP, DPUK Ambassador: “I congratulate all the winners and nominees at the Deaf Parenting UK awards. Since its foundation 10 years ago, DPUK has been an incredible success story. It is truly an inspirational charity that plugs a gap giving assistance, support and advice in an area that only those who have been there can really appreciate the issues. I am delighted to have been invited to attend and play a small part in giving recognition to those who have made life easier for deaf parents – whether that be a single deaf parent or deaf parents as a whole.”

Eileen Hayes, DPUK Ambassador announced winner...

Dr Joanna Downes, a Double Winner: “I was honoured to be a part of it and to be given two awards made me feel very proud of what I have achieved. But this is not the end, hopefully with DPUK support; I can go on to achieve even more for deaf parents.”

David Rose, a Deaf guest at the Awards exclaimed: “Deaf Parenting UK created a really a great, beautiful, inspiring, and wonderful occasion; it was good to see Deaf parents, professionals, and staff being honoured for their work, and achievements. This is something we don’t do enough in recognition for our Deaf Community members who have made significant contributions for the betterment of us all.  I really enjoyed the whole event and it was a wonderful networking opportunity! Well done!”

The Awards Event was filmed ‘live’ by BBC See Hear which is due to be broadcasted on Weds 2nd Nov at 1pm at BBC2 and Remark! for our DPUK website.

Full programme with details of all finalists available here

The winners by categories are as follow:

1) Positive Deaf Parents Award, sponsored by Communication ID

Winner: Charlotte Moulton-Thomas

Highly Commended: Melissa Mostyn- Thomas

Winner: Charlotte Moulton Thomas with Collette Hogan (sponsor) and Susan Daniel OBE (DPUK Ambassador)

Highly Commended: Melissa Mostyn-Thomas (Pauline Latchem accepted in Melissa's place)

Charlotte Moulton-Thomas is a Deaf parent with two young sons – Jack, 12, who is hearing and Theo, 10, who has cerebral palsy, is deaf and a wheelchair user – both of whom are bright, engaging and a real credit to their mother. When children were young, Charlotte was raising them by herself which must have been incredibly challenging given their differing circumstances and needs. Charlotte has had to constantly struggle to ensure that Theo receives the necessary support and services. This would be hard enough for a hearing parent but immeasurably more difficult for a deaf parent. Likewise she has had to cope in an all-hearing environment to make sure Jack is being supported at his mainstream school. Charlotte, however, is indefatigable, never gives up and is constantly alert to any opportunity to improve and enhance the progress and wellbeing of both her boys. As Charlotte has said herself ‘In this house there’s no such word as ‘can’t!’

2) Community of Deaf Parents Award, sponsored by NCT

Winner: Conwy and Cyswllt Family Support Group, North Wales Deaf Association

Highly Commended: Cheeky Monkey Family Group

Winner: Conwy and Cyswllt Family Support Group with Sue Saxey (Sponsor) and Eileen Hayes MBE (DPUK Ambassador)

Highly Commended: Cheeky Monkey Family Group

The Conwy and Cyswllt Family Support Group, North Wales Deaf Association organises events for Hearing parents of Deaf children and Deaf parents of Hearing children to meet, gain confidence and learn from each others experiences. The events are usually held once a month and are subsidised for its members. These events have included parties, trips to the theatre, and days at local shows and as they always ensure communication support is available, it gives Deaf parents and children a chance to enjoy the day without the barriers to communication they often face.

3) Professional Support of Deaf Parents Award, sponsored by BSLworks

Winner: Dr Joanna Downes

Highly Commended: Maple Tomlin

Winner: Dr Joanne Downes with Sandra Duguid (Sponsor) and Professor Ulrike Zeshan (DPUK Ambassador)

Highly Commended: Maple Thomas

Dr Joanna Downes is a very positive role model. She is deaf, BSL user, mother to two hearing children and achieved her Doctorate in Child Attachment, the first dissertation of its kind in the UK She also provided one to one support for individual Deaf parents [with various communication needs] through very difficult times in their lives such as child protection procedures, separation, divorce, supporting parents to lodge complaints with the Police. Dr Downes became the first Deaf BSL professional to join Leicester City and Leicestershire Children’s Hearing Service Working Group (CHSWG) in its 12 year history of being established.  Shortly after joining CHSWG, she became Co-Chair of this group and advocated most strongly for INFORMED parental choice for both Deaf and Hearing parents of Deaf and hearing children.

4) Best Practice of Working with Deaf Parents Award, sponsored by Sprue Safety Products Ltd.

Winner: De Montfort University Midwifery Department.

Highly Commended: Science Museum

Winner: De Monfort University Midwifery Dept with John Caudle (Sponsor) and Mike Penning MP (DPUK Ambassador)

Highly Commended: Science Museum

DeMonfort University  Midwifery Department went and beyond the call of duty in providing the first ever bespoke Awareness Training for midwifery students in being able to appropriately support all kinds of Deaf Parents needing to access Midwifery services. Development of a 12 hour Awareness Training programme consisting of what is Deafness, barriers faced by Deaf parents accessing midwifery services, the differing types and standards of communication professionals available. Development of a “fob” of essential signs for midwives to carry with them to assist with informal communications with Deaf parents Sourcing funding to further develop training for other health professionals through the use of e-learning, DVD’s. Supporting d/Deaf Parents as Guest Speakers and acknowledging their previous negative experiences of maternity care. What made the Midwifery Department personnel different were their openness, willingness, commitment, dedication and support of Deaf Parents directly.

5) Campaigner of Deaf Parent Award, sponsored by TFPL

Winner: Dr Joanna Downes

Highly Commended: Melissa Mostyn- Thomas

Winner: Dr Joanne Downes with Darron Chapman (Sponsor) and Lilian Lawson OBE (DPUK Ambassador)

Highly Commended: Melissa Mostyn-Thomas (Pauline Latchem accepted in Melissa's place)

Throughout her campaign work, Dr Joanna Downes was very clear about Deaf parents’ rights and their responsibilities. Dr Downes utilised national and international legal framework when dealing with professionals to ensure they were also made aware of their legal responsibilities in making their services accessible to Deaf Parents. Dr Downes also campaigned on the following issues at a strategic level:

  • Bilingual education be considered and further developed for Deaf families in Leicester. The Local Children’s Safeguarding Board undertake an access audit of the services they provide to Deaf families in Leicester, previously Deaf families were not part of their “at risk” priority list.
  • That the education / employment / legal / medical / mental health services consider their legal duties under the Equality Act.
  • Those hearing children (Coda’s) who have Deaf parents are not used by professionals to act as Interpreters.

6) Friend of Deaf Parents Award, sponsored by Joseph Frasier Solicitors

Winner: Stuart Harrison

Highly Commended: Shazia Nasreen

Winner: Stuart Harrison with Ms Hinna Akhtar (Sponsor) and Clarissa Williams (DPUK Ambassador)

Highly Commended: Shazia Nasreen

Stuart Harrison is Deaf, BSL user and also uses speech. He is also a parent. He has a multitude of different roles including being self-employed. However, it is not his previous history…it is the support he has provided another Deaf parent for several years to assist them through a multitude of complex emotional, legal, mental health, domestic violence issues. Stuart’s support was pivotal to this Deaf parent. He maintained his sense of humour, his respect, his knowledge, skills and experience. He was able to provide appropriate information, advice and guidance for this parent. He was available to “be there” for the parent when times were particularly challenging for several years. The parent concerned is now thriving and a fully functioning member of society, the parent is involved in community activities and professional work.

7) Deaf Parenting UK Dedicated Staff sponsored by Deaf Parenting UK

Winner: Nicole Campbell

Winner: Nicole Campbell with Sabina Iqbal, Chair/ Founder of DPUK

8)Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by RAD

As no winner is found, further information on The Search for a Lifetime Achieving Deaf Parent can be found here. Deadline for Lifetime Achievement Award Nomination: Friday 2nd March 2012

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