Hearing Dogs for Deaf People to merge with UK Charity Hearing Link

HRH The Princess Royal becomes joint Patron as Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Hearing Link merge

- building a better future for people with hearing loss

HRH The Princess Royal, Royal Patron of the assistance dog provider charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, today attended the Charity’s Board Meeting in Buckinghamshire where the Chairman announced its forthcoming harmonious merger with Hearing Link, another leading hearing loss charity of which Her Royal Highness is also Royal Patron. The Princess Royal will continue as Royal Patron of the merged charities.

The merger between Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Hearing Link means that people with hearing loss will now have wider access to advice and support about their hearing and the ways in which they could benefit from a broader range of services available as a result of the merger.

As well as sharing a Royal Patron, Hearing Dogs and Hearing Link have always enjoyed a close connection. For many years, a number of applicants and recipients of Hearing Dogs for Deaf Peo-ple’s services have also used Hearing Link’s services, and vice versa. This merger will enable Hearing Link’s excellent range of services and courses that support those encountering hearing loss right across the UK to be brought to a much wider audience via Hearing Dogs’ excellent communication channels.

Hearing Link provides an acclaimed spectrum of services to help people adjust to the practical and emotional challenges that hearing loss can bring, including group and one-to-one rehabilitation programmes and community engagement events, as well as being an authoritative campaigning voice and a leading hearing awareness and training provider.

The Hearing Link service will complement the work of Hearing Dogs, the second largest assistance dog provider in the UK, with nearly 1,000 hearing dogs currently transforming the lives of adults and children with severe to profound deafness. The unique practical and emotional benefits that a hearing dog provides reduces the loneliness, anxiety and depression that deafness can bring, and increases independence and confidence leading to significantly improved overall wellbeing. 

Michele Jennings, Chief Executive of Hearing Dogs, says: “The merger of our two organisations has secured the future of Hearing Link, which has found it increasingly difficult to maintain financial sustainability. The wealth of knowledge and expertise within Hearing Link will now be made availa-ble to even more people through the development opportunities provided by the combination of our more than 100 years of experience in helping deaf people.”

Continues Michele: “The merger will provide logical cost benefits by efficiently combining back-office functions, such as finance and administration, to ensure our donated funds are used in pur-suing our core purpose as much as possible. Hearing Dogs applicants and recipients, and deaf people in general, will all enjoy wider access to the extremely well-developed suite of services Hearing Link offers. We will maintain the identities of both charities, as both are well-loved and well-recognised organisations. And both charities benefit enormously from the kindness and gen-erosity of their volunteers, who collectively number almost 2,500. We will continue to grow this im-portant aspect of our organisations, as we simply couldn’t do what we do without the altruism of our volunteers.”

Former Hearing Link beneficiary and current volunteer Susan Benham, from County Antrim in Northern Ireland, is also a hearing dog recipient thanks to the work of the two organisations. Says Susan: “I think this is a really positive development for people with hearing loss in the UK. When I began to lose my hearing, I did not know what to do, how I was going to cope and what the future would hold. Then I found about Hearing Link and attended some of their courses. They helped me come to terms with my hearing loss and I became far more able to cope on a day to day basis. As my hearing loss was profound, Hearing Link suggested I contact Hearing Dogs to see if I might benefit from the assistance of a hearing dog. The day my hearing dog Kristo arrived was the first day of a new life for me and I have never looked back.”


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