One-stop shop helps thedeaf transform their lives

18th May 2001 at 01:00
Jackie Knight, 37, and Sharon Taylor, 31 are deaf. But they also share one other key experience: they have been helped by a unique British organisation, the Centre for Deaf People at London's City Literary Institute (the City Lit).

Both were nominated for national awards that recognised their achievement in learning, and Jackie won one. They were celebrated alongside many other nominees during this week's annual festival, Adult Learners' Week (May 12-18).

The awards, organised by the National Insititute of Adult Continiuing Education recognise people and organisations who have made a difference through learning to their own lives or the lives of others.

Jackie Knight, from north London, is profoundly deaf. After leaving school with no qualifications, she spent ten years working in catering and being a roadsweeper. She then resolved to make a new start.

Ms Knight took a foundation catering programme at Westminster College, a pre-access course at City and Islington College and an access course at Kingsway College. She is now about to take her finals in a law degree at the University of North London.

Throughout this time the City Lit's Centre for Deaf People has provided her with an interpreter and notetaker for lectures and tutorials.

The person who nominated her for the award, Mary Ensor, her tutor co-ordinator at the City Lit, said: "She i determined, works hard, has got a sense of humour and is intelligent. Jackie has all the qualities you need to succeed." Ms Knight is also a presenter on the TV programme for deaf people, See Hear, and has started a website to increase deaf people's access to legal advice.

Sharon Taylor, a former secondary English teacher, has no hearing in her right ear and about 40 per cent in her left. At the centre she studied teacher training, and deafblind communication skills. She is now one of the centre's teachers of deaf students.

The centre, whose students are aged from 16 to 90, has a unique range of services with some 130 professionals, who include teachers of deaf people and of sign language and lip-reading, hearing therapists, interpreters, speech counsellors and specialist advisers. It also offers accredited training for those who work with the deaf. The support service offers interpreters and note-takers to students at other London colleges.

Specialist offerings include courses for deaf people new to this country such as refugees and a lip-reading course for those for whom English is a second language.

Karen Considine, head of the centre, located in a warren-like former Victorian school in central London, said: "This is the only centre of its type in the country. We have such a mix of professionals in one place. We are a one-stop shop."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today