Deaf Services and the Deaf Society to merge
The Boards of the Deaf Society and Deaf Services Limited have announced the intention to merge both organisations from 1 July 2020 resulting in the creation of Australia’s largest whole-of-life service provider for the Deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind communities.
With shared history, vision and strengths, as well as over 200 years of proven community support, the new organisation formed through this merge will have an unparalleled opportunity to, innovate and deliver a greater range of services and programs in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory and to represent and advocate for the Australian Deaf community
The Deaf Society has worked tirelessly with the community since 1913 to deliver equity for Deaf people, providing a wide range of supports and services from seven offices across NSW and ACT, including its headquarters in Parramatta.
Deaf Services is a Queensland based organisation with a vision to provide opportunities and key services for the Deaf community to become empowered, connected and achieving. Operating from nine offices across the state, Deaf Services has been delivering programs and supports empowering the Deaf community to live full and independent lives since 1903.
In coming together to form a single organisation, the Deaf Society and Deaf Services will continue to deliver on current programs and services with a view to their expansion, along with a range of new initiatives for Deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing and hearing Australians along the east coast.
The proposed merger will also facilitate the creation of a dedicated advocacy resource working with all levels of government, the sector and community to deliver increased equity for Deaf Australians.
Leonie Jackson said the merger would serve to further strengthen what is already a strong bond between both state-based organisations.
“This is a significant event in the history and development of both organisations and will we ensure the merge celebrates and preserves the history and heritage of both organisations, as well as the communities they serve.” Ms Jackson said.
“We will continue an authentic commitment to Deaf equity and excellence, as well as a dedication to connecting and empowering the lives of our members, staff, clients and community”.
Brett Casey said the merged organisation would draw from the best of both organisations, delivering continued, improved and new services.
“Our aim is to ensure dedicated and continued customer services delivery. To this end, it will be business as usual, but also business done better.” Mr Casey said.
“Members of the Deaf community currently engaged with the Deaf Society or Deaf Services as clients or participants will see no adverse change to their experience with us. Rather, they should see the quality of services improved under a merged organisation.”
To realise this merger, the assets of the Deaf Society will be transferred Deaf Services in order for Deaf Services to become the legal “vehicle” of the new entity. In doing so, staff of the Deaf Society will also be moved across to the new entity. The resulting organisation will adopt a co-branded model while the community is consulted on a new, future-focused brand.
The Board of the Deaf Society has issued Notice for an Extraordinary General Meeting on Friday 6 March, during which Deaf Society financial members will vote on the intention to merge. Should the vote be successful, the new organisation will begin on 1 July, 2020.