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Arts an antidote for isolation in Albert-Eden

Published: 18 June 2018
  • During New Zealand Sign Language Week this year, Natasha Jumelet (left, pictured here with her sister Yolanda Sutton) received an award from Deaf Aotearoa for contributions to Health on behalf of the Deaf Wellbeing Society.
  • The group use grant funding from the Albert-Eden Local Board to hire the Melville Cricket Pavilion.
  • Activities such as these are important to their well-being and social connection.

A group at the Melville Cricket Pavilion is busy painting pottery in an art class organised by the Deaf Wellbeing Society.

“When your main language is New Zealand Sign Language, it is so easy to feel isolated," says Mt Eden resident Yolanda Sutton, coordinator of the Deaf Wellbeing Society.

"Sometimes, even in your own home, say when two other family members are speaking to each other and, being deaf, you can’t participate, it’s frustrating. 

“That’s why having activities like these art classes, run by people who are deaf for others who are deaf, is so important for everyone's well-being and social connection.”

Arts an antidote for isolation in Albert-Eden - Art Class in Albert-Eden
Deaf Wellbeing Society's Art Class in Albert-Eden

The group has been able to continue their art and craft lessons thanks to a grant from the Albert-Eden Local Board. They use the money to hire the centrally located Melville Cricket Pavilion so that as many people as possible from across Auckland can attend.

The group, originally known as the Deaf Wellbeing Cooking Club, was started in 2012 by Yolanda Sutton, who is not deaf, and her sister Natasha Jumelet who is deaf and uses New Zealand Sign Language.

“Since we began, we’ve just grown and grown. It has shown us that there is a need here for deaf activities and that our group is meeting those needs. None of our work would be possible without funding support,” says Yolanda.     

“Loneliness and isolation reduce people’s health and well-being. We are very pleased to be able to support the great work that Yolanda and her sister are doing,” says Albert-Eden Chair Peter Haynes.

During New Zealand Sign Language Week this year, Natasha received an award from Deaf Aotearoa for contributions to health on behalf of the Deaf Wellbeing Society.