Books Beyond Words
Support for vulnerable to access books
The club supports those within the community who are deaf with learning disabilities to access books, as well as be part of a local group within their community.
About the project
Books Beyond Words is a charity that supports people to access literacy whether they can read words or not by producing books which tell stories only through pictures.
The Thanet based charitable publisher came to Kent Community Foundation for funding for their ‘Deaf Friends Book Club’. The club supports those within the community who are deaf with learning disabilities to access books, as well as be part of a local group within their community.
They were awarded a grant of £4,160 to pay for British Sign Language (BSL) singers to attend groups and facilitate a high level of communication so that participants could fully engage and get the most from sessions. The group also invited BSL students to join so that they could also practice signing with groups of people who they may otherwise not come into contact with.
The group overcame challenges during Covid-19 restrictions to continue to deliver groups online.
The founder of Deaf Friends Book Club is Jessica who herself is deaf with learning disabilities. Here is Jessica’s story…
Jessica wanted to feel more connected to her friends and have more to do during COVID restrictions; without education and the structure it brings, enjoying life can be more challenging.
Knowing of Books Beyond Words, Jessica set about setting up the Deaf Friends Book Club.
With the support of her mum, Jessica kept a record using pictures of the books read and made sure that everyone was able to participate in the group with an opportunity to comment on the narrative of the story.
For many, the book club is a highlight of their week as it provides the opportunity to extend friendship circles and have a place to talk, successful achieving the aim to build a positive and constructive relationship with the Deaf Community.
The group has also helped Jessica and the other members think about other activities they might do together, creating a real sense of camaraderie and companionship.