The East Lancashire Deaf Society was named the Community Group of the Year at the 2017 Fusion Awards.

Winners of the annual awards were announced at a glittering ceremony on Saturday May 13 at King George’s Hall, Blackburn.

The Community Group of the Year award was supported by international charity Penny Appeal.

The East Lancashire Deaf Society ELDS is a non-profit charity which provides support to different deaf groups across the region. 
The organisation work with people who have a diverse range of communication needs of deaf British Sign Language (BSL users), including deafblind people, hard of hearing people and those who have lost their hearing later in life.

The ELDS’ main concern is for the deaf person and their family. They strive for their right to full participation and the same opportunities in education, employment, access and involvement as anyone else in the community.

The organisation achieves this through three main routes: Advocacy, Information and Services. The ELDS believe that with their services and support they can provide deaf and hard of hearing people from all ethnic backgrounds with the same opportunities in access to work, social activities and education as their hearing peers.

The ELDS have a mixture of deaf and hearing staff who all work together to fight for equal opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people. 

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Speaking on stage alongside a translator, director of the ELDS, Doug Alker said, "The East Lancashire Deaf Society appreciates the Asian community and their integration within communities. 
"We have issues wiithin the deaf community as well, to integrate in the wider community. Gaining this award proves that we are successful and we appreciate what we have learned from each other.”

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A statement from Penny Appeal read, "By sponsoring the Fusion Awards, Penny Appeal demonstrates our commitment and support of all the unsung heroes within our communities, who work tirelessly to ensure that the lives of others are made better.

"By helping in small ways, we can strengthen our communities making them a better place to live and work."