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BOLTON DEAF COMMUNITY SAYS THANKS
Charity worker reveals how National Lottery funding has helped transform his life.
Imagine growing up unable to understand the people around you and having no way of communicating except through gestures.
This was the world Philip Bridge faced as a child after being born with a genetic condition called Waardenburg Syndrome, which left him deeply deaf.
“My family didn’t know sign language, so they were talking to each other and I couldn’t participate,” says Philip. “Mom did her best to talk to me, but it was difficult for us to understand each other. I wanted to get involved but I felt excluded.
“I ended up playing on my own a lot – I was frustrated and really struggled. I went to a regular school where it was hard to make friends, so I played soccer with the kid next door.
Philip, now 42, was 16 when he started learning British Sign Language, that’s when he started to thrive.
“I was learning sign language at Bolton College when a friend recommended that I join the Bolton Deaf Society (BDS),” he says. “It was a shock to me at first, as I hadn’t had a lot of connections with the Deaf community before, but it was great to suddenly make friends. We went out in groups to pubs and other deaf clubs and we felt more secure together.