A COUPLE from Caldicot are arranging a fundraising concert to support the families of local deaf children.

Hear We Stand, organised by Ros Hannam, will raise money to pay for British Sign Language (BSL) classes for such families, for which there is currently no funding available. BSL courses can cost thousands of pounds.

Proceeds from the concert will also be donated to the National Deaf Children’s Society and a local charity for deaf children.

Mrs Hannam was inspired to organise the concert following the news her four-month-old daughter, Lola, had been born severely deaf.

“Obviously when we first found out about Lola’s deafness we were devastated – the life we thought we were going to have with our new daughter started with a big setback,” Mrs Hannam said.

“However, having come to terms with it, we have tackled it head on and are going to do everything we can to support her.”

Mrs Hannam and her husband, Josh, are currently learning a variety of ways to communicate with Lola, but with long-term planning in mind, decided to learn BSL.

They soon discovered another setback – there was no funding available to support them, and family members who want to communicate with their children in BSL must themselves fund their classes.

Mrs Hannam said classes could cost her family £6,000 if they are to learn BSL to a reasonable standard.

“It’s ridiculous there’s no funding,” she said. “It isolates children within their own families.”

She and her husband next plan to campaign for other families to receive funding for BSL classes.

“We intend to lobby in local government, to try and secure funding in the future for any family who have a newborn diagnosed with a hearing impairment,” she said.

Hear We Stand will take place at the Dolman Theatre on March 9, 7.15pm. Mrs Hannam, a trained actress and regular performer at the Dolman, has enlisted the help of her theatrical colleagues.

Claire Lubbock, a fundraiser at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “It’s great to see inspiring events like Hear We Stand bringing people together to raise money and increase awareness of deafness.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled that Ros and Josh are helping to raise money for our work. There are now more than 2,500 deaf children in Wales, and the donations we receive from events like this mean we can offer support to them and their parents at every stage of their journey.”

At the concert, audience members will be treated to renditions of songs from hit musicals including Mamma Mia and The Greatest Showman. There will also be a prize draw.

Tickets are available at www.dolmantheatre.co.uk