A CAMPAIGN group which assists people with hearing difficulties is preparing to launch its 2017 award scheme.

Let’s Hear in Swindon will hold their second annual award ceremony at the council’s Civic Offices in the new year and members of the group are encouraging people to nominate those they think worthy of recognition.

The aim is to highlight improvements businesses and organisations have made by ensuring they cater for people with hearing impairments.

Campaigner Steve Aftelak said: “This year we are looking to celebrate the premises who have most improved their provision for people with hearing difficulties, and we would love people to get in touch with us to nominate someone.”

Some of the questions nominees are to ask include: do the hearing loops installed on the premises work sufficiently? Are staff aware of how to talk to people with hearing impairments? Do you have someone to check the hearing loops are working?

The group, known as Let’s Loop Swindon during last year’s campaign to encourage businesses to install hearing loops, has worked hard to ensure hearing issues are firmly on the agenda in the town.

This year’s awards are named in fond memory of recently deceased Tony Martin of the Zurich Community Trust, who guided the group in its formative years.

Steve said: “Tony was instrumental in helping us form the group and ensuring we did all the right things. We owe him a lot, so we thought it would be nice to remember him in this way.”

Last year’s winners were chosen after a group of half a dozen volunteers spent the past two and a half years auditing more than 400 different premises, from hotels to supermarkets, to find the ones most conducive to those with hearing difficulties.

The businesses and organisations recognised for their commitment to the loop system included Lloyds Chemist in Cavendish Square, the Great Western Hospital, the National Trust, the Brunel Shopping Centre, Swindon Borough Council and Boots in the Brunel Centre.

“This year we are attempting to move away from loops and focus on hearing more generally, such as helping people with hearing aids and staff who work in care homes in the town,” said Steve.

For more information or to nominate a business or organisation, email Steve on stephenaftelak@ntlworld.com.