Bridging the Gap
Gateshead Thunder rugby club is aiming to make a positive noise within the young deaf community - by staging a special match for the hearing impaired.
Thunder has set out to bridge the gap between young deaf people and the challenges they face in pursuing mainstream sport.
The club's director of rugby, Chris Hood, together with Lee Curry, Thunder's community rugby league assistant, are paving the way for the youngsters to be included within the exciting game.
And now the professional North rugby league club is setting up a team of deaf youngsters to face opponents from Oldham, Lancashire, in a special match.
Chris said: "For Gateshead Thunder, our main goal is to break down the barriers between the deaf community and mainstream sports.
"The game will be managed by both Lee and a deaf volunteer from Oldham. They will make sure the kids are prepared and will establish what the best way of playing the match will be before the game."
The club have joined the Me2 campaign, a National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) project aimed at revolutionising access to activities at all levels for deaf children.
Lee Curry, who is profoundly deaf, said: "With this sport it is a good way to have a laugh, keep fit and improve confidence and communication skills for those involved.
"It provides a challenge for myself and the kids. I would do anything for Gateshead Thunder, they've done so much for me and for others with disabilities.
"I love working here, everyone has been so friendly and welcoming. I want to stay longer to see the work continue."
A team of players of all ages is now being put together for the match, which will take place on Sunday June 26, before the main game, between Gateshead Thunder and Oldham RLFC.
Chris said: "We'd love to see it continue and grow. We will keep our pledge to the Me2 project and are looking for funding and grants in order for the work to continue.
"Bringing the disabled community in mainstream sports is our goal, and it is something we will continue to work hard at."
For more information or to get involved with future projects, contact Chris Hood at: firstname.lastname@example.org