Holmes Chapel Lip Reading Class takes place every Thursday afternoon at St Margaret’s Church Hall, Holmes Chapel. The class is tutored by Mrs Julie Norman and has a regular attendance of some 15 people, all with various hearing difficulties.
In early 2011 Julie informed the class of funding difficulties being experienced by the WEA to maintain the classes and a nationwide campaign to have Lip-Reading Classes upgraded from Recreational to Educational status. After some discussion it was suggested that it might be a good idea to invite the newly elected Member of Parliament for Congleton District (which includes Holmes Chapel), Mrs Fiona Bruce (not the one on the telly), to one of the classes in order to gain her support on the funding issue.
A letter was drafted explaining the circumstances and inviting her to attend one of the classes and sent to her at the House of Commons.
A reply was received from Mrs Bruce, accepting the invitation, with a suggested date of 25th March 2011. This date was quickly confirmed with the group members with a note that only those with a doctor’s note would be allowed absent.
Mrs Bruce did attend the class and showed great interest. Julie explained the funding issue to her and members explained the difficulties deafness impacts upon day-to-day living. One interesting point Mrs Bruce made was that she is a member of the Parliamentary Committee for the Deaf, therefore a good person to have on side.
A final note to members of other groups is; do not be afraid of getting local Councillors - and indeed MPs – involved and aware of such issues. One day they will want your vote.
by John Brown (WEA North West student).
Please Note that Fiona Bruce MPs visit was covered by the local press (see picture). To read the article please click on the image and then print out (it is displayed on its side due to its shape).