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Last Updated: Friday, 30 January, 2004, 07:50 GMT
Deaf service being launched
Specialist services for the deaf will be created
Specialist services for the deaf are being created

A specialist advice service for deaf and hard of hearing people is being launched in County Armagh on Friday.

The centre will employ a full-time adviser specialising in issues directly affecting deaf and hard of hearing people in the Craigavon area.

It will use equipment such as portable loops and text phones.

One in seven people in the province are said to be deaf or hard of hearing.

Additional communication support, such as British Sign Language interpreters, will be available when needed and advisers will make home visits to those with restricted mobility.

The initiative, a partnership between the Royal National Institute for the Deaf and Citizens Advice, will also have links to health trusts.

Changes in law

Derek Alcorn of the Citizens Advice Bureau said: "This partnership with RNID has enabled us to created specialist advice services for the deaf community that benefit from the expertise and dual input of both RNID and Citizens Advice.

"We see this as an important part of our work in extending equality of access to CAB advice services in Northern Ireland."

Brian Symington, director of RNID in Northern Ireland said: "Accessible Citizens Advice Bureaux are good news for the deaf and hard of hearing community.

"They mean that more people will be able to know and understand their rights on issues such as benefits, housing and employment.

"With the Disability Discrimination Act coming into full force in September 2004 there are lots of changes that deaf and hard of hearing people need to be aware of."

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