January 2008 Newsletter

Summer Palace
Practice Makes Perfect members were invited by Lisa Cheug to spend Saturday, 27 October at Greenlands Art Gallery in Liverpool to see the flower arrangement that we created for her “Summer Palace” Art Sculpture at this year’s Southport Flower Show.

The Exhibition ran until Christmas. Photographs from our visit to the gallery appear in our Photo section together with those showing the various stages of the making of our special “plant” as well as those from the flower show.

Sad news
We were sorry to hear of the sudden death of 12-year-old Natalie McCabe, one of our Childrens’ BSL Level 1 Course members. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.

Annual General Meeting
We held our AGM on 17 September. Maureen Doyle gave thanks to many people and groups who have supported PMP over the past year, including her Secretary Mavis Husbands and Treasurer Maria Nolan. Tony Wright was thanked for all the work he does in maintaining the website, and Ian Leadbetter from Sefton CVS for his help in getting the accounts organised.

Chantelle Rea-Bradley resigned as Deputy Chair, but remains as a volunteer. All other officers were re-elected.

Maureen reported she had done many talks and workshops during the year, and these are set to continue into 2008. There has been much public awareness of the group’s work, especially when Maureen received the Community Champion Award from the RNID. Acquiring the portable DVD players is a real boost to the group, and the start of the Children’s BSL Level 1 Course is the beginning of new prospects for PMP with the addition of a new adult course beginning Monday, 24 September.

Our Childrens BSL Level 1 Course started on 3 September.

The Community Voluntary Services August Bulletin has included the R.N.I.D. press release about Maureen Doyle’s nomination and recognition as a Community Champion. The bulletin is circulated to over 500 voluntary groups throughout Southport and Merseyside.

Isabella raises money for the group
One of our very young members, Isabella, made cakes and had a sale at her garden gate. She donated £5.35 to our group.

Isabella came to one of the Ainsdale Library sessions then started coming with her Mum to the Thursday afternoon group at the Arts Centre.

Childrens’ BSL course
Practice Makes Perfect have been granted funding by the Local Network Fund for Children and Young People (Merseyside), and is delighted to offer twelve young people, aged 11 to 16 years, the opportunity to take an accredited Level 1 course in British Sign Language.

The ‘guinea pig’ for the course was Keziah (11 years) to see how the course would work with youngsters. At only 11 years old, Keziah is one of the youngest children in the country to receive her certificate for the unitised Level 1 British Sign Language Exams. Keziah has volunteered to provide peer support for the course and will be in the class each week to share her knowledge, along with her teacher.

Students will contribute only £20 to the course, which includes course fee, exam fees and refreshments (usual inclusive cost would be £155).

The course will run 4 – 7pm starting from Monday 3 September, 2007 until 28 January, 2008.

An adult course (16+) will run 7-15 – 9-15pm starting Monday 24 September, 2007. Places are limited; the course only fee is £90. Exams and refreshments are optional extras.

Cath Smith book
Our thanks go to Cath Smith for sending us a FREE copy of her latest book, Let’s Sign Family Topics: BSL for Children and their Carers. This book costs £7.99.

Also a sheet of new Merit Stickers with “Let’s Sign” children’s characters making signs. Each sheet contains 10 separate sign designs in lines of 7 of each design, 280 stickers in all for £4.99.

Please contact Maureen if you want to purchase any of the books.

Southport Flower Show
whandsPractice Makes Perfect helps our signing to blossom and grow – this is the phrase to describe the flower creation that was displayed in a window of Lisa Cheung’s “Summer Palace” wall sculpture at this year’s Southport Flower Show.

Maureen said: “Lisa Cheung travelled from London to invite us to create an arrangement to be included in her sculpture. We all have had great fun in making it and we decided to add little pictures of hands doing the Signing Alphabet to each pink petal. This represents the blossoming of skills as everyone grows in confidence.”

Some of our members met up with a group of children from Merseyside Deaf Society when they viewed the sculpture.

BDA Conference
bdaconf Mavis & Maureen met up with Helen, Peter, Christine and her husband at the BDA Conference on Wednesday, 8 August.

Unfortunately, not many people came for the social evening, and the hall was closed at 9.15pm.

Meols Cop Youth Centre charity event
meolscopOn Saturday 4 August, Maureen attended a Charity event organised by Shelley Tomkins from the Meols Cop Youth Centre to support local charities Scope and Vitalise.

The event was to highlight youth involvement with local charities, and was situated outside the Liberal Democrats’ offices on Shakespeare Street.

As Maureen chatted with the stall holders and young people, she was able to show them her workshop DVD on our new portable DVD player.

Portable DVD players
We thank the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board for funding three portable DVD players.

portabledvdWe can now show signing DVDs at our practice sessions, courses, talks and training days to support student learning.

It was in use at the Southport Arts Centre on Thursday, Ainsdale Library on Friday morning for the Childrens’ Learning to Sign session and on Saturday at the Meols Cop Youth Centre charity event.

Well done Mavis!
Congratulations to our Secretary, Mavis Husbands, on passing BSL Level 1.

Meet-up with Usher Group
ushergroupOn Saturday 23 June, Practice Makes Perfect committee members Maureen, Chantelle, Mavis and Jackie met up with Manchester’s Usher Group for their visit to Southport.

Our day was indeed a great success. Nine members arrived by train at 1.30pm to a beautiful Southport sunny day. Following a discussion with hands-on signing, Sign Language, lip patterns and voice, it was decided to go to Cafe Nero for refreshments. We discovered there was a birthday so we all signed and sang Happy Birthday to her!

Later it was decided a stroll to the Pier would get some fresh air into our lungs. Some members set off at a brisk pace having decided to walk the length of the pier while others having health conditions took a more leisurely stroll taking joy in just chatting and signing. The smell of chips stopped us in our tracks and we all had a few freshly made chips to satisfy our taste buds. Onwards to the Carousel area where we sat and watched the world go by, and a few photographs were taken.

We kept in touch with The pier walkers by text and when they returned we made our way to Leo’s Pub for a birthday drink in the sun then back to our cars/train for the journey home. A very satisfying day. Thank you everyone for making it so.