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Santa and his elves to be more deaf aware this Christmas!

December 8, 2020

A press release:


RNID is working with Great Grottos to help support customers with hearing loss

RNID, the national charity making life fully inclusive for deaf people and those with hearing loss or tinnitus has teamed up with leading grotto management company, Great Grottos, to help train their Santas and elves to be more deaf aware in the run up to Christmas.

The company, which operates Christmas grottos in over 200 shopping and garden centres across the country, is offering deaf awareness training to over 400 Santas and elves using RNID’s communication tips, which includes advice on how to communicate effectively with face coverings and about face mask exemptions.

Face coverings have a huge impact on the 1 in 5 adults in the UK who are deaf or have hearing loss, the 1 in 8 who have tinnitus, and the 50,000 children who are deaf in the UK, many who rely on lip reading or visual cues for communication. Being able to see lip patterns and facial expressions is also vital for those who communicate through British Sign Language. In accordance with guidelines, Great Grotto Santas will not be required to wear a face covering as long as they operate in a Covid-secure way. However all elves and all customers will be required to wear a face covering in the grottos.

Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive, RNID said: “Face coverings are everywhere now and impacting heavily on everyone’s lives. However they can have an even bigger impact on those who are deaf or have hearing loss. So we are delighted to have teamed up with Great Grottos this Christmas to help make this festive activity magical – and accessible for everybody.”

Matthew Wise, Managing Director at Great Grottos said: “Visiting Father Christmas should be a fantastic experience for everyone – young or old and the safety and comfort of all our customers and colleagues is of paramount importance to us. So we are delighted to be working with RNID to make sure we can communicate effectively and safely and offer the best experience to our customers with hearing loss. We are closely following government guidelines at all our grottos to make sure that we are operating in a Covid-secure way, and strongly encourage all of our customers to wear a face covering where required, while recognising too that there may be some exemptions.”

If you are concerned about your hearing or want more information please contact RNID by calling 0808 808 0123 or emailing 

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