“Being profoundly deaf, campaigning for the rights of Deaf people has always been something I have been passionate about, whether it be educating hearing people about communication needs or reinforcing the responsibility of service providers under the Equality Act 2010. When I became a Senior Campaigner for Action on Hearing Loss in 2013 I struggled to bring this experience to my role, and more so, create concrete campaign plans and later bring them to life.
The Shelia McKechnie Foundation Influencing Change programme came just at the right time as I was at the beginning of developing a campaign to change the ‘hearts and minds’ of employers when employing/retaining staff who are deaf or have a hearing loss. During the first session my original campaign strategy was immediately scrapped! Some may have been broken by the thought of starting again, but for me it was as if the light had been switched on, everything just fell into place. I had been looking at the strategy from the wrong perspective. I also finally understood how to evaluate the success of the campaign against what I had set out to achieve.
Overall, Influencing Change was a well-balanced programme of presentations from those who have been there and done that, with experience of delivering successful and not so successfully campaigns, group activities with peers who brought with them a variety of experiences and needs, there was also guidance from those in the know regarding how to influence local and national government. There was also session on how social media can bring campaigns to life, with calls to action and so on.
Although, some may hate the thought of partaking in role-plays, I relish these activities, and find they aid my learning style well. I particularly enjoyed the activity whereby I was stuck in a lift for 1 minute with a particular MP where I bombarded him with the finer details of my campaign (he obviously succumbed to my request to put the world to rights).
As I now have the knowledge and tools run a campaign from start to finish I am a stronger campaigner, both personally and professionally. “
Senior Campaigner for Action on Hearing Loss
Influencing Change Midlands 2015-16