Deafblind UK receives a welcome boost from CALA Homes’ Community Bursary Scheme

CALA Homes made a community bursary scheme to Deafblind UK. Pictured during a Deafblind UK Friendly Friday, making bird feeders at Ferry Meadows in Peterborough, are (left to right) Ray Hersey (CALA Homes), Louise Mott (volunteer), Di Beckett (Peer leader as part of the Deafblind Friendly Friday group), Seamus Connelly (Head Community and Corporate Fundraising - Deafblind UK)Ray Hersey (CALA Homes), Ron Beckett (Deafblind Friendly Friday group), Adam Fraser (Community development), Anika Owen (Regional Manager Deafblind UK). Deafblind UK, CALA Homes, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, on June 21, 2019.

We are delighted to have received a helping hand from CALA Homes, having received £1,250 from the award-winning housebuilder.

This will go towards funding our Peterborough social group for people with deafblindness, their families and carers called “Friendly Fridays”. It is an afternoon session of sensory stimulation activities which also gives deafblind people the opportunity to meet and share experiences, seek and offer advice and provide support to each other.

CALA Homes, which is currently building CALA at Hampton Lakes, launched the CALA Community Bursary in Cambridgeshire in February and invited organisations, charities and groups in the area to apply for a share of £12,000 to help fund projects that make a difference in the community. Deafblind UK was chosen as a recipient of the bursary, with the money being spent on ensuring the Friendly Fridays can continue to run for another two years.

This year, the CALA Group Community Bursary scheme has awarded a total of £109,000 to 117 good causes across the UK. A further 200 causes have previously benefitted from the scheme, with over £200,000 awarded to various initiatives since 2017.

Jim, one of the members at Deafblind UK, lost his right eye in an accident at work when he was just 22 years old. Things took a further turn for the worse when Jim developed a cataract in his left eye which, although now removed, has seriously affected his remaining vision. Jim also has significant hearing loss, which combined with his sight loss, makes life a daily challenge.

Jim said: “A friend of mine suggested I come along to the social group at Deafblind UK. It’s great fun; we’re always doing different activities and trying new things, I’ve met some great friends. The best thing about Deafblind UK is that it’s so approachable and everyone makes you feel so welcome. I will always like to do things for myself but I know that Deafblind UK is there if I come unstuck. I can just call them and I know there is someone there so I’m not on my own.”

Séamus Connolly, Head of Community and Corporate Fundraising, said: “For some attendees, our Friendly Friday sessions are one of their only social interactions in a given week. We’re so grateful to CALA Homes for their generous donation, as it’s meant we’ll be able to continue to offer this vital service that supports the fight against isolation and loneliness, which we know is common amongst people with both sight and hearing loss.”

Duncan Jackson, Managing Director at CALA Homes (North Home Counties), said: “At CALA, we have always been committed to making a positive and lasting contribution to the local communities in which we build. The Community Bursary scheme is just one way in which we’ve been able to offer our support to the local community in Cambridgeshire. We’re so pleased to support Deafblind UK so that they can continue to provide this effective and efficient service and raise awareness of this important cause. We hope that the charity is able to transform the lives of many more people who are deafblind.”

For further information on CALA Homes and its Hampton Lakes development, visit

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