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Inspirational man from Grantham raises awareness for hearing loss and sign language

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A man who is profoundly deaf has been using social media to raise awareness of hearing loss and sign language.

Paul Woolmer, from Grantham, has been profoundly deaf since birth, and recently sparked awareness of British Sign Language (BSL) in the local community when he posted a video of himself signing the alphabet in the Grantham and Rural Areas Covid-19 Effort (GRACE) Facebook group.

The video received over 200 likes in less than 48 hours, with many commenters expressing their interest in learning more.

Paul Woolmer has created a group to raise awareness surrounding sign language. (44612122)
Paul Woolmer has created a group to raise awareness surrounding sign language. (44612122)

Following the positive reaction, Paul decided to create a Facebook group called ‘BSL with Paul (Lincolnshire)’, with the main aim of the group to raise awareness and understanding of BSL in the Lincolnshire area.

Paul, 39, works at Morrisons in Newark, and originally made the video of the BSL alphabets and names of products at his workplace.

He then decided to post the video in the GRACE page, and was surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response that it received from members of the group.

Paul said: “Throughout my life I have faced many different barriers and challenges.

“The interest shown from that clip has given me the boost and confidence I needed and has made me realise I am good at supporting the community with small things which could make a big difference to people with hearing loss.”

Paul’s hometown is Grantham. He attended Belton Lane Primary School until he was aged 10, before transferring to the Royal School for the Deaf in Derby, and from there he attended college.

Paul continued: “Since my post, I have had members saying that I am an inspiration to them and they are interested in the new page, so I’ve now created this and my main aim for this is to support the people in the Lincolnshire area to raise awareness and a better understanding of BSL.

“Lincolnshire appears to be a very isolated area for the deaf and hard of hearing community. It is difficult to know where we should go to if we require support.”

‘BSL with Paul’ already has 138 members, with Paul hoping to use the group to post general information and allow others to post their own comments.

He added: “My aim is to support the whole of Lincolnshire and for the general public to have a better understanding of the deaf or hard of hearing.

“So now I feel it is time to roll up our sleeves and act now to support everyone from business, schools and special needs, retail, councils, carers, teachers and so on to work as a team to provide a better understanding of BSL and the deaf community.

“I am really looking forward to supporting everyone in this new project and I am hoping for exciting times ahead.”

To find out more, search for ‘BSL with Paul’ on Facebook.

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