A £120,000 grant from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership will pave the way for a leading national charity to triple the number of families it helps.
The Ear Foundation is an independent charity supporting deaf children, young people, adults and their families to make the best use of their hearing technologies to develop communication skills.
And the helping hand from D2N2’s Unlocking Investment for Growth programme, supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, has acted as the enabler to get the £700,000 expansion off the ground.
Based in Lenton, Nottingham, 1,000 families and 3,500 delegates a year currently go through its doors and the new SoundSpace development will provide a purpose-built, modern facility that meets the needs of all users under one roof.
The expansion will double the professional training offered and triple the number of people helped – up to 3,500 – through the Ear Foundation’s family programme, education programme, clinical services and research programme.
It will also see the number of full-time employees rise from 11 to 18, with other jobs safeguarded.
A further £140,000 is still required to fund the project with work expected to get underway this May. It should be completed by the end of the year, with the facility in use by Spring 2015.
Dr Sue Archbold, chief executive of the Ear Foundation, said: “This grant from D2N2 has made the difference when it comes to this expansion happening or not. Without it, work on SoundSpace would not be starting in May.
“It has helped open doors to other funding and, backed by a sound business plan, was key to giving us the confidence to go ahead.
“The purpose-built facility will make such a difference and enable us to deliver more of our valuable services and have a positive impact on deaf children, young people, adults and their families.
“Deafness, whether in childhood or adulthood, can have devastating consequences for the individual or family, making communication and spoken language difficult and limiting education and employment options.
“Yet the hearing technologies we have today can revolutionise the lives of deaf people, if they are given access to them and help to use them effectively. Providing a bridge between clinical services where the technologies are fitted, and home, school and work where they are used, the Ear Foundation can and does make this happen.”
D2N2 Chief Executive David Ralph said: “Social enterprise and voluntary sector organisations are an important component of our business community, providing growing, well-run businesses and real sustainable jobs.
“Our business support grants are about delivering sustainable jobs, particularly in our key sectors such as healthcare.”
With further UI4G applications going through due diligence, the schemes coming to fruition across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire sees D2N2 already working with grant offers to applicants totalling £1.9 million to help create 178 long-term jobs and pave the way for many more.
The programme will provide a grant in support of capital investment projects with a minimum overall project value of £200,000. In exceptional circumstances up to £500,000 of grant funding is available for projects that can demonstrate real potential to create new jobs.
For more information go to www.d2n2lep.org/UI4G or email UI4G@embltd.co.uk or call 01332 826366.