SIX Key Stage 3 students from a Salisbury school have been heard loud and clear after winning Salisbury Chamber’s schools challenge.

The students, from South Wilts Grammar School, have secured funding to take forward their “Hearing Project”.

They aim to make Salisbury the most Deaf-friendly city in Europe, and at the forefront for deaf inclusion across the country.

At the last Salisbury Chamber networking lunch, ten local businesses pledged £1500 and their support to the girls to use for match fund grants.

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The girls then presented their ideas at the Central Area Framework launch and followed this up last Thursday at the Salisbury Area Board meeting where Laora Grand and Samanvi Bandi gave a pitch perfect and passionate presentation about hearing difficulties and how this can lead to social exclusion, depression and the willingness to want to shop, eat out or simply socialise.

The students hope to encourage all shops, restaurants and public places to have hearing loops (small machines that transmit sound to hearing aids).

This alone will reduce social isolation by empowering and liberating the hard of Hearing and Deaf.

The group said there are four main goals which can maximise Salisbury’s potential: "Firstly, we want to visit schools and really reduce the stigma surrounding hearing disability, teach basic British Sign Language (BSL) and compose an educational video which can be shown in PSHCE lessons.

"With a logo on the way, we would create leaflets, posters and stickers that we will put up and give out around town. The more attention drawn to this increasingly more prominent problem, the better.

"We also are considering social media platforms to broaden our audience.

"The majority of our investments will go towards support with hearing loops in independent businesses around town like bike shops, hairdressers and more. We could help them purchase and use an audio induction loop and show them proper maintenance to get the most out of each one.

"By recruiting a Sign Language tutor, we will train our group in sign language the impact of this is us being able to train shop assistants in sign language too.

"All of this will only heighten Salisbury’s compassion, make our community more diverse and decrease the likelihood of deaf people getting mental health issues.”

The girls added: “We are so grateful to the many people who have pledged their support and believed in the Hearing Project, you are not just investing in Salisbury, but also the future.”

The Area Board members voted unanimously to support this initiative, granting a further £1050 and asking if they would return in the future with an update. A member of the public offered a sign language tutor.

Salisbury Chamber of Commerce president Andy Rhind-Tutt said: "This is really an exciting project for Salisbury from six passionate young students, who like other’s, have embraced the School’s Challenge and come up with a deliverable idea that will not only help thousands of people, but take the lead to inspire other communities to become aware of the impact of hearing difficulties.

"They deserve all the help they can get and I am truly grateful to all of the local businesses that have already lined up to support them”.