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New support for Hutt Valley Deaf at council

HUTT CITY COUNCIL NEWS RELEASE
28 MARCH 2012

New support for Hutt Valley Deaf at council

Deaf people living in the Hutt Valley now have a meeting place to call their own with the opening of a deaf access centre in the city council buildings at 30 Laings Rd, Lower Hutt.

Deaf Aotearoa and Hutt City Council worked together to provide a location where Deaf community members can access the internet, web cam and video phone to communicate with Deaf Aotearoa staff as well as government agencies and other services.

Acting Deaf Aotearoa Chief Executive Tony Blackett says deaf access centres have proven a successful tool in helping the organisation connect with Deaf people who live some distance away from their nearest office.

“We are aware there are a number of people living in areas where we don’t have an office and are conscious they can miss out on the essential services Deaf Aotearoa provides and the assistance we can offer.

“The deaf access centre at Hutt City Council is a private space that provides internet access and offers the capacity to hold a meeting with a hearing person using the New Zealand Relay interpreter-service via a video phone.”

Mr Blackett says the centre will help give Deaf community members in the Hutt Valley greater independence and allow them to conduct their day-to-day lives in a “much easier fashion”.

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace says the council welcomes the deaf access centre as a great asset to the local community.

“We look forward to the Deaf community of Lower Hutt having greater access to the resources they need to ensure they have better communication opportunities.

“It has been fantastic to be able to work with Deaf Aotearoa on this project and we’re excited that Hutt City Council is now the home of Lower Hutt’s first deaf access centre.

“Our front-line staff have also had some basic training in sign language to complement the deaf access centre.”

The deaf access centre will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from next week between the hours of 12 – 5pm.


Note to editors:
• Deaf Aotearoa is the national association of the Deaf in New Zealand. The organisation promotes the awareness of, access to and advancement of the rights of Deaf people and helps ensure they are an active part of society. As the only nationwide provider of services to Deaf people, it provides information on a range of services, including legal advice, education opportunities and employment issues. Deaf Aotearoa also works with government agencies, businesses and organisations to provide information and resources on life for Deaf New Zealanders, the Deaf community and New Zealand Sign Language.



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