2015 SIGNATURE ANNUAL AWARDS by John Purser
Deaf Direct nominated John Purser, a trustee at Deaf Direct for one of Signature’s Annual Awards which took place last Saturday. John has been a trustee at Deaf Direct for over 40 years, having worked as a social worker with a Sensory Impairment team for over 20 years. He has extensive experience of the Deaf community and spends his time researching and recording the history of the community in Worcestershire.
John is a profoundly Deaf person who uses BSL/speech to communicate. He volunteers his time at Deaf Direct, an organisation that provides services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people across Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire. John has been a valued member of the board of trustees since 1975, and in his 40 years he has helped to change the strategic direction of the organisation.
He was instrumental in running a campaign which successfully achieved funding to establish a sign language interpreting service. This has allowed Deaf Direct to grow from having only one staff member working in a single room office, to an organisation with 25 staff and approximately 60 volunteers.
John also runs the coffee morning that is held for the deaf community to socialise on a weekly basis. During the recent election John invited local politicians to attend the Deaf coffee mornings over several weeks, to present their manifestos with a registered interpreter, and to explain how they would support the deaf people in Worcestershire. This enabled users to have access to information that is otherwise difficult to access.
Here he shares his experience:
“The first I knew about this was in July. I was honoured by Deaf Direct nominating me and was shortlisted to 4 in the “Community Spirit” Award category (for my voluntary work in Worcestershire) as part of the 2015 Signature Annual Awards, of which there were various awards such as the Inspirational Young Person Award, Deaf Entrepreneur Award, Community Impact Award, Outstanding Service Award, Outstanding Contribution Award, and finally the Community Group/Project Award. The glittery ceremony was held at The University of Science and Industry in Manchester on 9th October, where the cream of the Deaf World was there. To complete the scene a lovely array of canapes and a variety of drinks were on offer in a charming old building of Innovation.
Jonathan Farnhill, Chair of Signature, spoken about a new focus on honouring people for their work in communities who daily inspire Deaf and DeafBlind people as well as hearing people and tried to make a difference in improving life in a challenging world. Naga Munchetty, who presents BBC Breakfast, acted as Host for the evening. Craig Crowley presented brief details of the candidates’ profiles in each category amid a colourful video of the proceedings, and subsequently the awards’ winners were announced. Unfortunately I did not win but nevertheless I enjoyed the experience, meeting some of the winners or otherwise was truly inspiring. I am really humbled in being nominated, and I thank Deaf Direct for their confidence in me.”