Deaf charities announce merger

The new organisation says it wants to become the UK's leading deaf charity

(Photograph: Fred Tanneau/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photograph: Fred Tanneau/AFP via Getty Images)

The hearing loss charity Sonus has become part of Deaf Action, the charities have announced. 

Sonus, the trading name for the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Association for Deaf People, which is based in Eastleigh, this month merged into Deaf Action, which is based in Edinburgh. 

The charities said Deaf Action had been looking to expand its services to a wider audience and merging with Sonus, which runs the UK’s only residential care home for deaf elderly people, would be a first step towards developing more such facilities. 

A spokesperson for the charities said their chief executives had already been sharing expertise as part of a group of leaders of hearing loss charities. 

“The newly merged organisation will continue to prioritise deaf people and strive to become the UK’s leading deaf charity, working together to build inclusive communities where deaf people can realise their potential and thrive,” a statement from the charities said. 

The organisation will keep Deaf Action’s name and remain a Scottish charity, but will form a new board consisting of trustees from both charities. 

Deaf Action employs 75 people and has an annual income of £1.9m, while Sonus has 20 staff and an annual income of about £900,000. 

The spokesperson said there were no planned redundancies across the charities as a result of the merger. 

The spokesperson added that some roles could be duplicated as part of the move, but the charity hoped to redeploy everyone within the combined charity. 

Philip Gerrard, the chief executive of Deaf Action, will remain in his post, while Liz Jones, the chief executive of Sonus, will become deputy chief executive of the new organisation. 

Gerrard said the merger was “a great opportunity to bring two of the longest-standing deaf charities together to offer our support to even more deaf people”. 

Almost 50 per cent of Deaf Action’s staff have hearing loss, including Gerrard, who is profoundly deaf.

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