Fisher Lane: A unique service

Kelly Moloney, Contract Manager Care & Support

We’ve managed the deaf-specialist service at Fisher Lane in Mansfield for the past eight years. The five residents are all deaf and live with learning and physical disabilities.

It’s a real home from home there; supported by a team of six support workers, almost all the residents at have lived there for more than ten years. The team also provide outreach support to another five people who live in their own homes in the community.

Fisher Lane is a truly unique service. All the support colleagues are fluent in British Sign Language and all but one are themselves deaf.

This provides some additional challenges, but also some great opportunities and positive outcomes for the people we support.

The theme of this year’s Deaf Awareness Week is ‘inclusion’. We work hard to ensure that our colleagues and service users at Fisher Lane are included. This has proved to be especially challenging over the last two years. Angela, assistant manager at Fisher Lane explains how they dealt with the unique communication challenges during Covid in her article for Deaf Awareness Week

We make use of assistive technology to ensure our people at Fisher Lane are well looked after. Special alarm systems and ways of communicating have been set up to keep everyone safe and allow us to stay in touch.

One gentleman, with high physical support needs, has been set up with a unique personal alarm system. If he trips or falls out of bed and triggers an alarm our SMaRT team are unable to call him to check in. Instead he has been set up with green and red buttons. If the alarm has been triggered by mistake he can press the green ‘false alarm’ button. If he needs help he can press the red button. If neither button is pressed, an ambulance is immediately sent out.

For a project for, and staffed by members of the deaf community, alarm systems have to be set up in a very different way. A red flashing light replaces the fire alarm, a white light is the doorbell and a blue beacon lights up when the phone rings. For residents, a vibrating panel under their pillows alerts them to an alarm in the night.  

A sign language interpreter works on site directly with Angela the assistant manager and mini-com ‘telephones’ are used to relay messages to hearing people.

We’re really proud of our unique and amazing service at Fisher Lane. It provides a really essential service to members of the deaf community in Mansfield; support that is truly catered to them. I can’t think of a better time that Deaf Awareness Week to applaud them for all that they do.