A CHARITY that trains puppies to alert deaf people to vital and life-saving sounds has received funding to cover training classes for fully accredited Hearing Dogs in Woodford, Cheshire.

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People provides life-changing support to deaf people with specially trained dogs becoming their ears. The charity relies on volunteers to train puppies from the age of eight weeks old to around 16 months’ old under the guidance of a qualified member of Hearing Dogs staff, so they can make a real difference to deaf people’s lives.

Through Redrow’s community fund, connected to Woodford Garden Village, the charity has received a £1,500 donation that will be used to hire out Woodford Community Centre for six months’ worth of puppy training classes. 

Gaynor Cavanagh, local community fundraising manager says: “Puppies and their volunteers attend classes and group support sessions to ensure the puppies are well-socialised and impeccably-trained so they reach the high standards required of accredited assistance dogs.

“Usually, we would provide face to face training classes at the local community centre, however during lockdowns we have been doing this virtually over Zoom. It has taken a lot to get the pups to understand that they’re in a virtual training session and not just go to sleep, so we’re looking forward to when we can have our sessions in the community centre again!”

Classes take place one day per week for a duration of four hours and Redrow’s donation will help massively towards funds lost due to the cancellation of local fundraising events because of local Covid restrictions.

“Once the puppies reach a certain stage of their training, the local volunteers walk regularly around Woodford Garden Village and they now meet in small groups outdoors at one of the many open spaces on the development,” adds Gaynor.

There are currently 430 puppies being trained under the programme, 18 of those in the Woodford training hub. They are trained to recognise and alert their owners to sounds like the doorbell, alarm clock and danger sounds like the fire alarm.

One in six of the UK adult population has significant hearing loss, that’s more than 48,000 people in the borough of Stockport alone. Within just a five-mile radius of Woodford Garden Village there are seven working Hearing Dog partnerships and 14 within 10 miles.

Through its community fund, Redrow has shared £10,000 between eight local groups.