On Wednesday 15 June Voice Off took place for the very first time – where individuals, schools, businesses, clubs and groups were asked to switch their voice off and find other ways to communicate instead. Alternative methods encouraged were to Sign it, Write it, Draw it, Act it or Text it. For a first year event we’re thrilled at the number of people that have supported the event and took part.

Lots of people were involved in this inaugural year and the funds raised support the essential ongoing work we do. Fundraising enables projects that otherwise would not happen, such as our Family Support and counselling services and the development of a social enterprise providing work experience opportunities for Deaf young people.

Everyone really got involved as we had people switch their voice off during important meetings, doing homework with their children and even wedding clothes shopping! We loved following the day’s events with the #VoiceOff hashtag. Scroll down to see some photos and clips of our amazing Voice Off supporters.

Many of those taking part in Voice Off found it challenging telling us they felt isolated and frustrated at times, which gave them an insight into some of the challenges Deaf people can face every day. Over a million Deaf young people across the UK struggle to use or understand spoken language in a hearing world. All our supporters did a wonderful job with only a few slip ups even though a number took on the ultimate challenge of a 24 hour Voice Off.

One Voice Off person said, “my family was right behind me as they knew how important it was to keep trying to understand what I was trying to communicate”, staff at a clothes shop told one supporter how important she felt it was to help anyone with communication and a pub suggested they could create a drinks list to make it easier for Deaf people to order at the bar.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part in Voice Off and good luck to those who are to take on the challenge in the coming months. This includes a Voice Off performance by children from WiKidz which is currently scheduled for 17 August and is set to be a real community event.

If you would like to fundraise for Exeter Deaf Academy in any way, please contact our Fundraising Team on fundraising@exeterdeafacademy.ac.uk or 01392 267019 to discuss ideas and how we can help.

Read how Lauren took on the 24 hour #VoiceOff challenge on her blog

Read how Steph and her family took on the #VoiceOff challenge on her blog