THIRTEEN “smart” homes for deaf people have been incorporated into the new car-free housing development at Slateford Green in Edinburgh.
One of the properties was visited by Scottish Environment Minister Sarah Boyack when she officially opened the £9.5 million, 120-flat project today (Friday, June 2).
Canmore Housing Association, the organisation behind the development, worked closely with the Edinburgh and East of Scotland Deaf Society to set up the homes.
In February, 13 deaf people – including two deafblind residents, and others with learning difficulties – moved into Slateford Green. Another three deaf people are due to move in later in the year.
Liz Scott Gibson from the society said: “A number had never lived in their own homes, having spent their lives going from one institution to another. The experience of being at Slateford Green has been really positive.”
The 13 special flats – ten for single residents and three, two person homes – were all specially designed to meet the needs of deaf people. The Slateford Green development also includes a staff base for support workers.
As well as being “barrier-free” – the term used to describe properties accessible by wheelchair users and those with walking difficulties – the flats are equipped with flashing strobe lights. These use different colours to alert people to the door, textphone, or fire alarm. For those who are deafblind, vibrating pagers, have been supplied. Flashing or vibrating alarm clocks have also been provided for tenants.
Each of the special flats has been set up with a computer video link, enabling the deaf tenants to communicate in sign language with workers in the staff base. The move helps the tenants to be as independent as possible.
Liz said: “We hope that the other occupants of Slateford Green will welcome the deaf people living amongst them. The deaf society is even providing a free sign language ‘taster’ course, starting in June, for people living in the development. It will allow neighbours to have the basic skills necessary to make the deaf tenants feel right at home.”
NOTE TO EDITORS:
The Edinburgh and East of Scotland Deaf Society is a voluntary organisation which provides a range of services for deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing people and their families. These include social work support, specialist equipment for deaf people, advice and information, communication support services
(sign language interpreters/lipspeakers/notetakers), community activities, youth services, and training (sign language and deaf awareness courses.) It has also been providing specialist residential care for deaf people from all over Scotland since 1935.
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Canmore Housing Association
193 Dalry Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2EF
T: 0131 313 5444
F: 0131 313 4482
Liz Scott Gibson
The Edinburgh and East of Scotland Society for the Deaf
T: 0131 556 3128