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The partners

YouTube Channel - Frog Island Chat

Who we are

Leicester Deaf Centre is a collective of like-minded organisations and people based on cooperative principles. 

Here you can find community groups, a charity shop, BSL courses, BSL interpreters, employment support, pastoral support, and much more. 

Where we are

12 Frog Island, North Bridge Place, Leicester LE3 5AG

We are based at Frog Island in Leicester, which, according to Wikipedia, ‘lies to the north of central Leicester, and to the south of the River Soar and Leicester Abbey. The site was not an island before the late-eighteenth century, but was created as such upon the completion of the improved Soar Navigation between Loughborough and Leicester in 1794. The Navigation involved constructing a new section of canal to by-pass a meander in the River Soar. The area enclosed by the River Soar and the canal is Frog Island. The road which crosses the island is also named ‘Frog Island’.

And no, we don’t know why it’s called Frog Island either. Although we like to think it’s because before 1877 the area was too marshy to put buildings on and was, presumably, overrun with frogs.  

This is why you will see the local Deaf community refer to the Deaf Centre as ‘Frog’ or Frog Island. They have created their own unique sign name for it. 

history

Source: Leicester Mercury

 

The seeds for the Leicester Deaf Centre came about after the sale of the mission building on Welford Road in 2010The Leicester and County Mission for the Deaf was based there for 49 years and the building was home to many community groups. When it was sold these groups had to find alternative accommodation 

Around the same time a small group of Deaf people decided to set up a coffee morning at All Nations Church and three sign language interpreters came together and decided to give something back to the Deaf Community by offering a pro bono translation service during this coffee morning.

This allowed the Deaf Community to get their letters translated and to make phone calls to the council, housing associations etc. As this service grew, from once a month, to fortnightly, to weekly, it became apparent that an office would be needed, if for no other reason than to store the paperwork that this work generated in a secure and confidential manner. 

As luck would have it, All Nations Church owned the building next door and the air conditioning factory that was in it had closed down leaving the office space empty. It was decided to rent these offices from the surplus made by the fledgling interpreting service. A name was decided on, Signing Network. 

Over the last 11 years the services at the Deaf Centre have expanded. The coffee morning is still going on a Monday and now the Over 50s Deaf Club also call the centre home on a Wednesday. Volunteers help run the charity shop, the coffee morning and the Over 50s. The pro bono ethos is still strong and Deaf people looking for work can now access an employment service, whilst hearing people can find BSL classes here taught by Deaf people (always the best way to learn!). 

The interpreting service became a separate entity, iNet Interpreting Ltd, an interpreting cooperative run on a voluntary basis by freelance interpreters who provide services to organisations across Leicestershire, including the University Hospitals of Leicester. 

Signing Network still offers a letter translation and support service on a Monday and can help Deaf people with PIP claim forms.