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Animal magic as north-east young people with sensory loss enjoy farm visit

By Kyle Ritchie

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Children with sight and hearing loss got up close to a host of furry and feathered friends thanks to North East Sensory Services (NESS).

The Young People’s Sensory Service (YPSS) is an activity group designed to build confidence in youngsters with sight and hearing loss.

It offers children and teenagers the chance to try new hobbies and build friendships with their peers.

The group went to Farm Stop in Portlethen for a fun-filled day of farm experiences.

They enjoyed seeing chickens, goats, pigs and guinea pigs.

Ailsa and Fergus Milne with one of the goats at the farm.
Ailsa and Fergus Milne with one of the goats at the farm.

As well as the day trips, NESS offers youth clubs and arts and crafts sessions, and is keen to hear from the young people about what activities they would like to do.

NESS have young people’s groups in Aberdeen, Moray and Dundee to support young people and their families in the community. Other trips have included a day at Covesea lighthouse, near Lossiemouth.

All meetings and activities are free for those who want to take part.

Laura Hill, young person’s service coordinator for NESS in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray, said many blind and deaf children and young people face becoming isolated in mainstream youth groups when they are unable to take part fully in activities like team sports – leaving them feeling embarrassed and excluded.

The charity’s groups help build confidence and independence in a safe environment where children and young people with sight or hearing loss can be themselves without worrying about what others think of them.

NESS supports thousands of deaf and blind people of all ages across the north-east in Dundee, Angus, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

The charity’s main objective is to support those with sight and/or hearing loss to live as independently as possible.

Anyone who is interested in the YPSS living in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire or Moray should contact laura.hill@nesensoryservices.org and diana.daneels@nesensoryservices.org for those living in Dundee.

Khouka Nacef, whose son Malek (18) goes to the YPSS, said: “Malek loves animals, we think this has been the best activity in this term."

Laura Hill, young person’s service coordinator for NESS, said: “The day at the farm was wonderful for the children and for their families, with lots of happy memories made.

“Children with sight or hearing loss don’t want to feel different from their peers, and at our clubs, they don’t have to explain themselves – they just have to be themselves and have fun.

“It’s a massive confidence boost for them and introduces them to a lot of new activities and hobbies that they might not otherwise have participated in.

“The groups also bring families in similar circumstances together and give parents of children with sensory issues peer support.

“We would encourage anyone in who is interested in joining to get in touch.”

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