Our interview with Debbie Flory, the Administration & Events Coordinator for Deafax.
You have worked in both commercial and now voluntary sectors. How do they compare?
I worked in the commercial sector from leaving school (many, many years ago!) until joining Deafax in 2004. To be honest, the skills required are the same for working in both sectors; both have to budget, develop business plans, provide reports on results, deal with the day-to-day running of an office and everything associated with this, etc and, therefore, people with the right skills are required. In the corporate world there seemed to be rather a huge pot of money to cover staff activity days at lovely hotels, lavish Christmas parties, staff lunches, etc. I’ve seen from working at Deafax how every penny counts; all monies raised are used to fund projects which enable us to deliver the charity’s mission and aims. It’s so satisfying to know that what we offer actually makes a difference to the many deaf people we are helping – I know this sounds like an overused statement, but it really is true! The people I work with love what they are doing and are so committed to our cause – we do what we are doing to help our beneficiaries, rather than just carrying out a job which helps increase the profits of a large company.
You have Level 2 BSL and work alongside Deaf colleagues, what do you enjoy about being in a bi- lingual environment?
Inclusion is important and when I first joined Deafax I would see my deaf colleagues signing to each other and not have a clue what they were saying. Needless to say, trying to discuss work with a deaf colleague was a little challenging for both parties involved! Learning BSL has made it easier for me to communicate with my co-workers and become “included”. Although I don’t understand everything that is signed, I’m able to roughly follow the conversations and participate (to some level!). I’m extremely lucky to work with people who are very patient and are willing to help and correct me when I am using BSL!
You organise all our events. Do you have a favourite and why?
Events are so important as they raise vital unrestricted income for Deafax. My favourite has to be our annual Cheese, Wine & Quiz Night. This year will, I think, be our 7th year of holding this event and every year our amazing supporters help us raise more money than the previous years. We are so lucky to have such loyal supporters who come along every year. It’s a really a fun night; cheese and wine are provided and, of course, lots of questions to keep the brain cells exercised. It can get competitive (in a nice way!), but everyone comes along year after year as they know they will have a great night out and also help a fantastic charity.
If you could wave a magic wand what would you want for Deafax?
A magic wand? What a lovely thought ….. Well, it would have to be a steady, guaranteed stream of income so that we can continue delivering our training to those who really need it. I’ve seen the work and time involved in applying for funding and the disappointment it brings when we aren’t successful, so to have enough funds available to remove this pressure would be so good.