Ten-year-old Grace Manning likes school and wants to learn – but her profound hearing loss means she isn’t always able to join in with everything that’s going on in the classroom.
Grace, from Croxley Green in Hertfordshire, needs specialist radio aids so she can focus on her teacher’s voice but also hear what her classmates are saying.
Mum Finola said: “Grace has a complex hearing problem – it has taken her doctor years to establish exactly what is wrong. Scar tissue from infections has worn away part of one ear and even if she has her ear re-built at a later stage she will still suffer some hearing loss. She can’t have cochlear implants and currently has the strongest hearing aids the NHS provides.”
Grace has trialled a set of radio aids – “They filter out background noise and make sure she can hear her teacher clearly but still allow her to hear the voices of the other children around her. This means she can join in class conversations and interact more fully with her friends,” says Finola.
“She finds it difficult enough to process information so anything that maximises her learning capabilities is great. The school has reported a big difference in Grace during the radio aids trial – they have boosted her confidence no end.”
Finola added: “Of course, radio aids are not only for use at school, but everywhere Grace goes – for conversations in the car, when we go to the park, visiting family and friends. Their potential is endless.”
However, this specialist equipment – costing £2,015 – is not available through Local Authority provision, so the Manning family was prompted to turn to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help.
Newlife has funded 80 equipment grants for children in Hertfordshire, totalling £122,659. However, a surge in demand for services has prompted the charity to call for ‘local heroes’ to come forward to fundraise or donate towards the cost of specialist equipment for children in the county.
For instance, Newlife supporters can choose to take on a sponsored sporting challenge, host a coffee morning or cake sale, make and sell handcrafted goods, organise a pub quiz or community car wash, hold a sponsored silence or stage an evening of entertainment.
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of any gift or donation will go directly to provide equipment for disabled and terminally ill children – and donors can ring-fence their money to a specific county.”
If you think you can help, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.
Pictured: Grace Manning.