Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service have presented £11,000 to 'Hearing Dogs for Deaf People' to fund the training of two working dogs.
'Hearing Dogs for Deaf People' train dogs to alert deaf people to specific sounds, whether in the home, workplace or public buildings. To date there are more than 1,500 hearing dogs throughout England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.
A hearing dog can offer a practical alternative to technical equipment - particularly for those deaf people who find such equipment restricting - with the added benefit of giving the recipient increased independence, greater confidence, companionship and a feeling of security.
Staff from the service's work-based Women's Institute (WI) coordinated the collection, and along with Fire Authority member, Councillor Margaret Simon, they spent 2009/2010 raising money for the cause. Thanks to their hard work they were able to provide two people with working dogs.
Coucillor Simon raised money during her role as Mayor of Cheshire East Council, and arranged numerous activities including collections, a coffee morning in the Mayor's Parlour and a Cheshire East ball. A fire cadet unit from Crewe fire station also joined in by holding a bag-packing day in a local supermarket. The WI group sold cakes at fire station open days, held raffles and took part in charity events to add to the total.
Mark Cashin, Deputy Chief Fire Officer at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We are really pleased to be able to help this charity. The two hearing dogs we have bought, together with Cllr Simon, will make a big difference to the lives of their handlers.
"There was a core section of staff who worked tirelessly to raise this money after a lunchtime talk with the WI group. A handler came and spoke of an incident when her hearing dog alerted her to a smoke alarm sounding in her home and then led her to safety and the seed was sown for us to help.
"I believe the two dogs are settled in their new homes and working brilliantly for their handlers, which makes us extremely proud."
The money raised helped two dogs, Pabby and Annie, to be trained to take care of their new owners.
Cllr Simon said: "Having a dog is a wonderful way of giving somebody with hearing problems the confidence to live a fairly normal life. The bond between a dog and its owner is very precious
"If an alarm clock goes off, the dog can tell them it is time to get up and they alert them if a smoke alarm goes off or a doorbell rings. These are simple things in life that many of us would take for granted but hearing dogs can help their owners to get through daily life."
Date posted: 14.02.11