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Inseparable friends kept together

A HEARING-impaired woman and her faithful canine helper Gizmo III are indebted to staff at Age Concern Liverpool’s Active Age Centre who have helped them to stay together.

Inseparable friendsJoan Graham feared she would have to give away her trusted Hearing Dog for the deaf after Gizmo III was left traumatised by a car accident.

But thanks to the caring approach of the Active Age Centre in Clubmoor, Liverpool the inseparable pals are planning a long and happy future together.

Now the Active Age Centre has been held up as highlighting what the UK is doing to create a fairer and more equal society in the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (EYEOA).
The centre, run by Age Concern Liverpool, recently received an award from the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People after being nominated by Joan Graham for welcoming Gizmo III with open arms.

Joan from Liverpool, said: ‘When Gizmo III and I were involved in a car accident, my dog was left traumatised and I thought that he would have to be taken from me, but the staff and volunteers at the Active Age Centre made the facility available for further training to take place and keep me and Gizmo III together. They’ve been wonderful.

‘At the Active Age Centre, I have never felt that my disability or my dog have been a problem. From day one everyone, from staff and volunteers to centre users, have been friendly and welcoming to both me and my dog Gizmo III. Everyone at the centre does everything in their power to help us as much as they can.’

Set up in 1999, the Active Age Centre was designed for and by older people to keep them healthy and active. The centre provides a range of services for people aged over 49. Each week it holds everything from Tai Chi classes and chair based exercise for people with limited mobility to social events and IT sessions.

More than a third of people who use the services have disabilities and the oldest member is 95. The centre also hosts regular meetings of a local group for amputees.

Dil Daly, Chief Executive of Age Concern Liverpool, said: ‘I am delighted that our Active Age Centre has received the Silver Award from Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. This demonstrates our belief that neither age nor disability should be a barrier to health and wellbeing. We are committed to ensuring that all people aged 49 plus can enjoy the extensive range of tailored services and activities we offer.’

The European Year of Equal Opportunities for All marks a major debate on the benefits of diversity across Europe and aims to make Europeans more aware of their rights to enjoy equal treatment and a life free of discrimination. Feedback will be used to inform the future work of the new Equality and Human Rights Commission.