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From small acorns grow great oaks! But only thanks to the incredible support of a huge network of supporters!

Published: 20th July 2021 16:46

The Elizabeth Foundation ( teaches deaf babies and young children to learn to listen and talk. From humble beginnings 40 years ago in the front room of their founder, the charity is now the largest preschool provider of OFSTED rated ‘Outstanding' specialist services for deaf children in the whole of the UK.

 Based in Cosham, the charity provides a range of services to meet the differing needs of families with deaf children, including:

  • Specialist baby, toddler and preschool classes to develop and expand language, speech, learning and social skills;
  • Monthly communication groups for children with Down syndrome and additional complex needs;
  • Speech and language therapy offering initial assessments and regular therapy sessions tailored to a child's individual needs;
  • A national online learning programme, ‘Let's Listen and Talk' with over 140 videos and a structured series of lesson plans supported with regular communication from a specialist Teacher of the Deaf;
  • Parent Education sessions providing the emotional, educational and practical support needed when a child is diagnosed with hearing loss.

Karen Vaughan BEM, Deputy Chief Executive has been reflecting on the charity's fundraising and generous supporters;

 "As we celebrate The Elizabeth Foundations 40th birthday, it is wonderful to look back on the achievements of our Founders. Driven by their personal experience, and infinite energy and determination, Shirley and Dave Metherell MBE created a charity that sets the standard for supporting families of deaf children. The charity has grown so much, but our Founders would be the first to highlight that our growth could never have been achieved without the generous support of so many people.

"Fundraising has changed hugely over the past four decades of course and we have learnt so much along the way - about our supporters and the difference we can make together. Fundraising events have included 1200-mile cycling trek from Portsmouth UK to Portsmouth Rhode Island USA: rowing challenges: race nights: sailing regattas; art shows and ‘get-your-boots-on' barn dances! The Broadside Mummers, a sight and sound to behold across Hampshire, have been raising money through their entertaining Christmas sketches in local pubs since 1995.

"Over many years we have benefited from close relationships with Masonic Lodges, Rotary Groups, churches, schools; these relationships are all so rewarding, and we have loved welcoming representatives to our family centre. Corporate responsibility and charitable giving have become essential elements of companies' culture with the emphasis being put on how they can contribute to their local charities as well.

 "Employees are encouraged to find imaginative ways to fundraise and over the years we have seen many take a break from their normal hard-work to carry out personal and team challenges including triathlons, cycling, football and netball tournaments, parachute jumps, dress-up days, quiz nights, raffles and auctions.

"The Charity never stands still of course; over the years there have been a few particularly momentous developments that stand out. In 2007 we launched our Raise the Roof Project to enable us to build a much needed second floor in our family centre and in 2012 completed our Baby and Toddler unit and in 2016 began offering our online services. Much of this has been funded through grants from Trusts and Foundations or much needed legacies.

"Sometimes the reason for a legacy is clear, perhaps a member of their family has benefitted from our services, or they personally have known what it is like to live with hearing loss. But others are from unknown sources. Of course, there is still more to do, with almost 7,000 preschool deaf children in the UK, there is continued demand for our outstanding services, so we are encouraging supporters, old and new, to consider helping us in 2021, whether as an individual, a group, a company or a school."

  If you can help fundraise or would like further information please contact and help a deaf child learn to listen and talk!

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