Deaf News: Hearing Link volunteer presented with prestigious Heather Jackson Award

Posted on October 12, 2016

A Hearing Link volunteer has been awarded a prestigious award for the significant contribution he has made to the welfare of deaf people across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

James Newell, from Whiteabbey in Northern Ireland, was announced as the recipient of the Heather Jackson Award, awarded jointly by the National Association of Deafened People (NADP), Signature, and Hearing Link each year.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-10-42-17It is awarded to a person who has made a significant contribution to the improvement of the welfare and opportunity of deafened people.

James has lived with hearing loss since he was four-years-old. He was nominated for his dedicated work as a volunteer for the UK hearing loss charity, Hearing Link.  He was the first volunteer to support the charity’s work in Northern Ireland in 2013 and has worked tirelessly since then to build its capacity and reputation across the country.

James also works full-time as a Social Work Assistant for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT), which has been extremely supportive of him both personally and professionally.

The father-of-two was presented with his award by Chief Executive of Hearing Link, Dr Lorraine Gailey, on Thursday 6th October at the Volunteer Now Offices, Belfast, in front of delighted family, friends and colleagues.

James said:

“Receiving the Heather Jackson Award took me by surprise. I’m very pleased to have been acknowledged for doing something that I love – bringing laughter back into people’s live who have forgotten how to laugh due to their hearing loss.  I really enjoy my role in Hearing Link as it allows me to give something back and to be a positive influence on the lives of so many.”

Dr Lorraine Gailey, Chief Executive of Hearing Link, added:

“James gives to others freely and generously in all areas of his life. He’s an incredibly positive role model for others, helping them to make changes that are lasting and beneficial. His ability to raise awareness and help integrate the worlds of hearing and deafened is inspiring and the energy he gives to that is relentless.”

Aidan Best, Team Leader at BHSCT, added:

“The staff from the Sensory Support Team are delighted to hear that our colleague James Newell has been awarded the Heather Jackson Award.

It is truly deserved and James is a very worthy recipient of this award. His enthusiasm and dedication to his work with service users who have hearing loss is an inspiration for us all.

“James has forged a partnership between the Belfast Trust and Hearing Link which has benefited our service users. We would like to offer our congratulations to James in receiving this most prestigious and deserving award.”

To find out more about the work of Hearing Link in Northern Ireland, visit

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Posted in: deaf news