Talking Sense for Deaf Awareness Week

Welcome to the 88th episode of the award-winning Diverse Minds podcast. Today we are talking Sense as it’s Deaf Awareness Week from 3rd to 9th of May, and the theme is ‘Coming Though it Together’.

The UK Council on Deafness, founded in 1993, the national umbrella organisation for charities and professional bodies working in the field of deafness, coordinates Deaf Awareness Week. The week involves UK wide series of national and local events to raise awareness of the needs of the 1 in 6 D/deaf or hard of hearing people in the UK.  

Deaf Awareness Week aims to promote the positive aspects of deafness, promote social inclusion and raise awareness of the huge range of local organisations that support D/deaf people and their family and friends.

But what about sensory impairments as a whole? In the widest sense, considering people who may have a number of disabilities. To talk about this in greater detail, I am joined by Richard Kramer, the CEO of Sense and Sense International.

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About my guest Richard Kramer and Talking Sense for Deaf Awareness Week

Sense is a charity for everyone living with complex disabilities. For everyone who is deafblind. Sense is here to help people communicate and experience the world. They believe that no one, no matter how complex their disabilities, should be isolated, left out, or unable to fulfil their potential.

Richard was appointed Sense and Sense International Chief Executive in July 2018, having joined as Deputy Chief Executive in 2013. Prior to joining Sense, Richard worked at Turning Point, the social enterprise organisation, for ten years. He held a number of director-level posts, including leading the business function, Connected Care, which involved service users in the design and delivery of services across England.

A qualified solicitor, Richard has worked for public affairs consultancy NCVO and was Mencap’s Head of Campaigns for four years. Richard was also a trustee of Respond for ten years. He is currently a director of Whitefield Academy, which supports children with specialist educational needs, and a board member of the Campaign to End Loneliness and vice-chair of the Disabled Children’s Partnership.

In today’s show, we are talking Sense

  • About Richard Kramer and his work at Sense. [02:49]
  • How he got into charity work, specifically the disability charity sector. [12:59]
  • What people can do to push for changes to make our society more accessible [18:07]
  • The biggest challenges people with complex disabilities encounter when it comes to accessing support. [13:33]
  • Racism, Anti-Semitism and being proud of his Jewish identity [24.56]
  • His innovative top 3 tips for looking after his mental health. [27:29]

Quotes related to talking Sense and Deaf Awareness Week

  • It’s about making life more inclusive for disabled people.
  • Sign language is great fun to learn, so why not give it a try?
  • Many disabled people don’t have the support networks around them, and that’s what causes loneliness.
  • The June 2020 wave of the Black Lives Matter movement shone a spotlight on racism and inequality, therefore making me think about myself and my own identity.
  • It’s really important to have structures and routines in place.

Connect with my guest and further resources

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