The Gallaher Trust awards new loop system

LOCAL hearing loss group, the Ballymena Club for the Hard of Hearing, has received much needed support from The Gallaher Trust in the form of a new portable loop system for use by its members.

The Ballymena Club for the Hard of Hearing which was founded in 1993 by Jean Johnston MBE, provides support and practical advice about living and working with hearing loss.  It provides a lifeline to those affected by hearing loss and the Club concentrates on self-help and ways to improve the lives of its members.

The hearing loss group approached The Gallaher Trust in 2023 for assistance to purchase a new portable loop system for their members’ use and was awarded over £3,000 for the device.

The Club holds regular meetings where members are given practical advice on how to deal with hearing loss such as lipreading classes and the use of the loop system. 

Hearing loss commonly leads to loneliness and social isolation and the Ballymena Club for the Hard of Hearing aims to combat these by enabling members to meet socially and by improving communication skills. 

The Club’s lipreading classes are taken by an experienced and qualified tutor and members also get to enjoy social meetings, lunches and outings.

To ensure members get the full benefit of the Club’s weekly lipreading sessions, it is essential that there is a good loop system in place as without it some members have trouble in following the proceedings of the class.

Lyn Whalley from Ballymena Club for the Hard of Hearing said, “We provide support to people who are experiencing hearing loss.

“Our members find the club beneficial, informative and enjoyable and are enthusiastic enough to travel to meetings. The environment is very friendly and stimulating and we believe we are making a positive impact on that part of the community which experiences serious hearing loss.

“The Club would like to take this opportunity to thank The Gallaher Trust for providing our members with a new portable hearing loop system.  

“Our old one was a ‘hand-me-down’ of over twenty years old and showing its age – it really was no longer fit for purpose, and we feared that it would cease working altogether at short notice, in which case we would have had real problems in continuing to run the lipreading classes. So having this brand-new loop system has been vital and is making a real difference to the local hearing loss community.”

Trustee of The Gallaher Trust, Roy Douglas, had the opportunity to attend a recent meeting of Ballymena Club for Hard of Hearing and said, “It was wonderful to experience first-hand what the Ballymena Club for the Hard of Hearing is all about and to meet with and chat to its members.  

“Hearing loss can have a devastating impact on someone’s life, and it is hugely important that those going through it have the support and guidance that they need.  The meeting was very sociable and informative, and The Gallaher Trust was very impressed by the Club’s organisers and tutors for the support and practical advice they give to their members about living and working with hearing loss.” 

The Ballymena Club for the Hard of Hearing provides weekly lipreading sessions at Ballymena North, Business and Recreation Centre on the Cushendall Road. These are held on most Saturday mornings (except holiday periods) from 10.30 to 12.00.   

Lyn continued, “A big thank you to The Gallaher Trust – this has made a positive step change to this group. We are always open to new members so please consider coming along or getting in touch with us to find out how we can help you.”

The Gallaher Trust was established in 2017 and is an independent charity working to support delivery partners who promote job creation, skills development and provide assistance to disadvantaged adults in the wider Ballymena community.

For more information on Ballymena Club for the Hard of Hearing, please contact Lyn Whalley on 07793 451982, or email her on landvwhall@btinternet.com.

For more information on the work of The Gallaher Trust please visit https://thegallahertrust.org/