Here at the Welsh Youth Parliament, we’re proud to work with fantastic organisations who work with young people from all backgrounds across Wales. During its second term, the Welsh Youth Parliament will work with 18 partner organisations, and we’ll be featuring them here on our website and our social media channels over the next few months. To kick things off, here’s your chance to get to know Talking Hands - a youth club based in Swansea open to children and young people who are Deaf or hard of hearing throughout Wales.
Talking Hands is a youth club, situated in Swansea that supports Deaf children and young people. They encourage members to learn, develop new skills, have fun and enjoy themselves. “Talking Hands has been proud to support our young people to be actively involved in the first Welsh Youth Parliament. The experience it has given to our young people has been so worthwhile for their confidence and self-esteem has been a pleasure to watch. “ (Cathie Robins-Talbot, Chief Executive of Talking Hands)
Previous WYPM Talking Hands representatives
“If we can inspire just one young person to experience something new, challenging and achievable, then we have succeeded in our hopes for our young people. Thank you for the opportunity to show them they can succeed, they can achieve, they do have a voice” Sophie Billinghurst
Sophie has been an active and award winning volunteer at Talking Hands, supporting her family and the wider community and earning herself a Points of Light Award recently.
Sophie really threw herself into the YP; she loved going to the Senedd, making friends, the discussions and the project close to her heart - Mental Health and Well Being. Sophie has always felt passionately that more needs to be done to help young people., but most important a voice for Deaf young people.
7 questions to Sophie
Hi, I’m Sophie Billinghurst
- I’ve been a member of Talking Hands since 2015
- I became a member because when I moved to Swansea in 2012 we discovered that my younger sister had a hearing loss and then few years later we found out about talking hands.
- Since becoming a member I have had the opportunity to learn sign language, complete a level 1 qualification and develop my sign language. I’ve also had a confident boost over the years being with talking hands as I’ve made new friends and been able to public speak using sign language.
- The best experience I’ve had as a member is being elected to represent the deaf community in the first Welsh Youth Parliament and using sign language in my first speech in the Senedd.
- To, me Talking Hands means having support and a community in which can relate to one and another for children and young people who are deaf or have a hearing loss and their families. It also gives a lifelong skill of sign language which can be used in the wider community.
- The work Talking Hands does is important because it empowers children and young people who are deaf or have a hearing loss and their families to have the skill of sign language which can help them communicate and not feel so isolated in society with the community barrier. Talking Hands also allows children and young people the opportunity to socialise with others who also understand the barriers of the deaf community.
A keen sportsman and passionate about protecting the seaside where he grew up, Will was elected onto the first Youth Parliament by his peers and became the youngest member at only 11yrs. He is passionate about the environment and in particular plastic waste, living near the sea, Will has seen all the waste being washed up and the damage it does to marine life.
7 questions to Will
Hi, my name is Will and i'm a member of Talking Hands and a former WYP member.
I've been a member of Talking Hands for about 6 years.
I became a member because it seemed like a good opportunity to meet people in the deaf community.
Since becoming a member I have made lots of friends and improved my signing and communicating abilities massively.
The best experience I’ve had as a member was when we went surfing because it was very fun.
To me, Talking Hands is a kind community full of nice people.
The work Talking Hands does is important because it helps support deaf people by giving them a place to go where they can relax and have fun.
Thank you Sophie and Will. We look forward to working with Talking Hands over the duration of the next Welsh Youth Parliament.