BOLTON’S DEAF COMMUNITY THANKS
Charity employee reveals how the National Lottery fund helped change his life.
Imagine not being able to understand the people around you and not communicating in any way other than gestures.
This was the world Philip Bridge faced as a child after he was born with a genetic disorder called Waardenburg syndrome that left him deeply Deaf.
“My parents didn’t know sign language, so they were talking to each other and I couldn’t attend,” says Philip. “My mom tried her best to talk to me but it was difficult for us to understand each other. I wanted to participate but felt left out.
“I played a lot on my own – frustrated and really struggled. I went to a regular school where it was hard for me to make friends, so I would play football with the kid next door.”
Philip, now 42 years old, was 16 when he started learning English Sign Language, which was starting to blossom.
“I was learning sign language at Bolton College when a friend suggested I join the Bolton Society for the Deaf (BDS) ,” she says. “It was quite a shock to me at first as I didn’t have much contact with the Deaf community before, but it was amazing to be friends all of a sudden. As a group, we would go to bars and other Deaf clubs and feel safer together.”