New club launched to support deaf children in Walsall
A team of mothers in Walsall have launched a new club for children who are deaf - to try and prevent isolation in the community.
Funky Kids launched the family-friendly event at Walsall Deaf People's Centre on Saturday, where locals could enjoy face painting, balloon modelling, sweet treats, popcorn machines and a disco.
Deaf Olympic gold medallist Chris Kay also came along to meet people, and show his support.
Mothers Simone Carter and Jenny Peake – who both have children who are deaf – first launched a parent-run group for hard-of-hearing children who attend Bentley West Primary School in the town.
After realising how much it benefitted both the youngsters and their parents, they have since opened up the group to children and adults across the community - and have renamed it Funky Kids.
Funky Kids is now a place where people of any age – whose lives are affected by someone who is hard of hearing – can join up and meet like-minded people.
Simone, age 34, who lives in Beechdale, said: "We had about 100 people turn up which was brilliant. Deaf people can feel quite isolated so we thought this would be a way of bring us altogether. And the feedback we have had is fantastic. It used to be just a little group of 20 people meeting a month, but we have so many new members now.
"We just want somewhere they can feel at ease."
Simone is mother to 10-year-old Alfie Carter, who was in the news back in October last year after a group of six older boys chased him near his home, beat him up and then took his hearing aid out and destroyed it.
Alfie is profoundly deaf and has been since birth - and relies on his hearing aid and sign language to communicate.
The mother-of-three said at the time that she was 'devastated' and that the attackers should be 'ashamed'.
Alfie also attended the fun day, and Simone said he had 'just loved it'. Jenny also has a daughter, nine-year-old Sophie, who is profoundly deaf and also attends the group.
Simone added: "There is nothing else like this group around, and we think it is just so important. It has been overwhelming today. And of course we would like to see new members too if anyone else wants to join."
Visit facebook.com/funkykids20 for more.