Scheme funding for impairment given go-ahead

Funding has been approved to extend a Derbyshire County Council scheme to help people with hearing impairments feel safer in their homes after residents said it made them feel more secure.

The council fitted specialist door chimes with flashing lights and vibrating pagers to the homes of 400 people with hearing impairments between May 2010 and last October.

And out of 154 recipients surveyed about the scheme 97 per cent said it helped them feel safer and more secure and 95 per cent said they would recommend the system to other people.

The scheme was developed in response to research which revealed many residents with a hearing impairment often leave their doors unlocked or on the latch for visitors because they can’t hear them ringing or knocking. This left them vulnerable to sneak-in or distraction burglaries.

The first £10,000 round of funding paid for around 400 alarms. The £8,000 approved this week (Monday 16 January) will pay for around 300 more which will be fitted through the county’s Handy Van Network.

County council Cabinet Member for Public Health Councillor Carol Hart said: “The feedback from the first round of residents who received one of these specialist door chimes was extremely positive and the project had obviously achieved its aim of making them feel safer.

“We’re delighted to approve this additional funding which will allow more people with a hearing impairment to benefit and hope it will encourage them to secure their door without worrying they’ll miss a caller.”

The device can be set to chime on a variety of loudness settings but also has a flashing light which is activated when someone pushes the button on the door. The householder is also given a vibrating pager, which also flashes, to carry around with them.

Residents are referred to the scheme either following a visit by the county council’s adult care team, following a home security safety check carried out by the Handy Van Network or a fire safety check carried out by Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service.