Children with hearing loss on the Sunshine Coast will now be able to learn in any weather at the local Hear and Say centre, with a new permanent roof over their outdoor play area.
Hear and Say CEO Chris McCarthy said outdoor play and the opportunity to build social skills forms an important part of a child’s hearing and speech development.
“We work with families to guide them in setting up the best possible listening and learning environment for their child in their everyday life, with activities that promote the development of their child’s spoken language through listening,” Mr McCarthy said.
“Outdoor play forms an essential part of this learning process, and so we are thrilled that the Sunshine Coast families we support can now enjoy this outdoor education space throughout the year, regardless of the weather.
“Our regional families are incredibly appreciative of the continued support of Freemason Lodges over many years to ensure the best outcomes for their children with hearing loss.”
The Nambour centre is one of five Hear and Say locations across Queensland, helping a number of the 900 children enrolled in the Early Intervention program learning to hear, listen and speak.
For Blair Weaver of Rosslyn Freemasons Lodge, convincing five Sunshine Coast Lodges to support the $42,000 initiative, was easy.
“My older sister spent her working life teaching children with hearing loss, for which she received an OAM, so I have a unique insight into the impact that early intervention can have on children with hearing loss,” Mr Weaver said.
“That is why I wanted to do something for Hear and Say. Also, my brother-in-law was fitted with a cochlear implant in 2019. When I shared my story with the Lodges, we all agreed that this was a worthy initiative to support.”
Rosslyn, Maleny, Maroochy, Kenilworth and Waverly-Palmwoods Nambour Freemason Lodges all contributed towards the initiative.
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Sara Parrott said the Freemason charity was proud to support the grassroots community work of the Sunshine Coast Lodges.
“We believe in the importance of equipping young children with hearing loss with skills for the future, by empowering them to communicate just as well as their typically-hearing peers by the time they start school.”
“In 2019, with our help, our local members donated a specialised communication equipment to the Centre, so it’s great to see this relationship strengthen with a second, more sizable donation.”