Social enterprise, SMaRT garage services, run by First Step Trust (FST), has teamed up with charity, Deaf Umbrella, to launch a unique new initiative called Deaf Drivers Club. The launch event, which took place on 9 October 2014 at the latest SMaRT garage service centre in Crayford, gave attendees a taste of what the Club will offer drivers with hearing impairments. The Club’s main focus is a two hour course designed to empower participants by providing practical advice on vehicle maintenance and safety as well as explaining the MOT and what to expect when you take your car into the garage.
Rachel Hubbard, Deaf Umbrella Director (who signed throughout the day), said:
“Garages are one place I can really feel lost in. SMaRT’s course gave me a better understanding of how my car works, as well as what service to demand from a garage. This is empowering and a good first step in the right direction.”
The launch was attended by long-term SMaRT garage services supporter, Bexley Council Leader, Teresa O’Neill who said: “SMaRT garage services Crayford provide a first class service in motor vehicle repairs. I am impressed with the determination SMaRT shows when it comes to making sure that no one is excluded from opportunities they offer. It’s great to see two Bexley award-winning organisations, SMaRT garage services and Deaf Umbrella, working together to produce this programme to help those with hearing impairments gain more knowledge about the motor vehicle industry. I fully support and endorse this programme.”
Ronnie Wilson MBE, FST Chief Executive added: “SMaRT garage services is committed to being inclusive, providing support for all sections of our local community, particularly those who may be isolated because of health issues. We are delighted to be working with Deaf Umbrella and sharing our knowledge of the motor mechanics trade with their staff and service users. We are looking forward to collaborating on more events in the future. I am also grateful for the ongoing support given from Bexley Council Leader, Teresa O’Neill and Councillor Geraldene Lucia-Hennis.”
The next Deaf Drivers Club event is happening on the 13 November 2014 at SMaRT garage services Crayford, Unit M, Acorn industrial estate DA1 4AL 10am-12noon. For more information email: Katie.Ryan@Firststeptrust.org.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org