Reena Curran, Senior Assessor at DALES tells us about DALES.

Describe DALES in a paragraph
DALES (Deaf Across Leeds Enablement Service), provides support services for adults aged 18 and over, living in Leeds who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Deafblind.

DALES also provides a specialist equipment service for deaf and hard of hearing children in Leeds.

What is the background to DALES?
DALES is funded by Leeds City Council and is delivered by BID Services (a charity that works with deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and physically and sensory disabled people across the UK), with support from Sense and SignHealth.

The equipment service for children is funded by Leeds City Council Children’s Services.

DALES started delivering services in Leeds in June 2011, following a TUPE over from CoHearentVision which is now called Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People. BID Services won the tender of the services that DALES now delivers.

What services do you provide?
DALES provides Specialist Enablement Assessors (SEA) who provide support to access in the community and to enable deaf/hard of hearing people to access mainstream services such as welfare rights and housing options.

We also provide equipment for deaf/hard of hearing for adult as well as children. We have technical officers who complete an assessment and they can also do home visits for those who are house bound.
There is also a specialist Social Work team who support the deaf and hard of hearing to access funding such as Direct Payments or any other issues relating to funds.

Who is on the team? (staff and volunteers)
Christina Jessop | Operations & Development Manager
Julie Newsome | Senior Team Leader
Reena Curran | Senior Assessor
Milton Lennon | Single Point of Access (SPA)
Tracy Billham | Receptionist
Alex Gudger | Specialist Enablement Assessor (SEA)
Lisa Jackson | Specialist Enablement Assessor (SEA)
Sean Curran | Specialist Enablement Assessor (SEA)
Amanda Farrar | Technical Officer (TO)
Siobhan Mcilvenny | Technical Officer (TO)
Kay Blanchard | Technical Officer (TO)
Stephen Hennessey | Social Worker
Janet Scarfe | Social Worker
Michael Craggs | Cleaner
Chris Boland | Cleaner

Shelia Joy
Jean Finney
Bob Brooke
Chris Hill

What is the best thing about your job?
I make a difference in a deaf/hard of hearing person’s life by improving their quality of life. A simple change such as providing British Sign Language (BSL) access makes a huge difference in a person’s life as it means they have full access to information, rather than missing out.

Also we have a fantastic team who have lots of experience and skills including BSL which is lovely to see as there is total communication in the office. All hearing and deaf staff can communicate with each other, I am deaf myself and I value being included in everything without feeling left out in conversations.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Promoting enablement and independence to many people who are or have been dependent on various services in the past.

If you had a super-power what would it be and why?
For everyone to use British Sign Language (BSL) as it would mean there are no communication barriers for deaf people when they access services, visit shops or use public transport etc.

If you could give someone you know an award, who would it be and why would they deserve it?
There are two people on our team, who both have learning disabilities, that I would give an award for different reasons.

Our volunteer, Chris Hill for his commitment and dedication to support our Monday Communication Group.

And our cleaner, Chris Boland as he has worked for us for 27 years and has maintained his job to the highest standard and also comes with a positive attitude.


May 2014