Kat and Erin

Ballum fans supporting the British Deaf Association

Fundraising for British Deaf Association
raised of £1,000 target
British Deaf Association

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1031687
We fund UK community projects to change Deaf people’s access to society.


We are fans of Ballum, the relationship between Ben Mitchell and Callum Highway on BBC One’s flagship soap, EastEnders, and we want to take our love for these characters and make a difference in the world – just as their love for each other has made a difference to our world.

This fundraiser has been inspired by their most recent story, which has seen Ben, who has been partially deaf in one ear since having meningitis as a baby and has relied on a hearing aid throughout his life, lose the majority of his remaining hearing in a boat accident.

Throughout this story, we have seen Ben grapple with adapting to a new normal, exploring the impact on his mental health and how it affects his relationships with those closest to him. Some, like Callum and Lexi (Ben’s daughter), have made real effort to adapt their communication, embrace a new way of doing things and help Ben find his way. Others, like his father, Phil, have failed to do so. EastEnders’ use of distorted sounds and fractured sentences has paved a way to give viewers an inside look into Ben's mindset as he navigates his world as a Deaf man, shining a light on a criminally under-represented community in the UK in the process.

Pitched by Deaf writer Charlie Swinbourne, and featuring a Deaf actress, Rose Ayling-Ellis, in the role of Frankie Lewis, Ben’s hearing loss storyline has been groundbreaking in that has centred Deaf people and the Deaf experience throughout. This story is unique in that it is not about the tragedy of being deaf. Instead, with Deaf people firmly at the rudder, it seeks to call out societal barriers for Deaf people, explore the diversity and joy of the Deaf community, and show Ben discovering his identity as a Deaf person in a hearing world. In this way, it has invoked a founding tenet of the disability rights movement: ‘nothing about us without us’. We wanted to reflect the importance of this when setting up this fundraiser.

This is why we have chosen to raise money for the British Deaf Association.

Set up by Deaf people in 1890, the BDA was a response to both the failure of the mainstream establishments on the education of Deaf children to consult with Deaf people, and to a conference which banned sign language worldwide and sought to oust Deaf teachers and the use of sign language in schools.

Today, the British Deaf Association remains a Deaf led organisation, aiming to develop greater understanding throughout the UK of what deafness means, and fundraising for its community development and campaigning programmes. Here’s a quick look at what they’re fighting for.

Equality: every Deaf person must be able to access information, services and support in their preferred language, to have the same opportunities to achieve the same life outcomes as anyone else. UK-wide legal recognition of British and Irish Sign Languages (BSL and ISL) is key step in raising awareness, recognition and respect, and achieving equality of access and opportunity for Deaf people.

Access: every Deaf person must have access to services from Government level down to their local shop in their preferred language.

Freedom of Choice: every Deaf person should have the right to choose to sign or speak or both without sanction and without obstacles.

Please help us support an organisation led by Deaf people, for Deaf people, in honour of this story that has worked to centre the Deaf experience.

Note: The National Deaf Children’s Society has played a fundamental role in shaping this story, particularly in putting the cast and crew in touch with young Deaf people to share their experiences. We don’t want to overlook their contribution. However, we felt it was important to reflect the spirit of the story and dedicate this fundraiser to an organisation that is community led, set up by Deaf people for Deaf people. If you would like to find out more about the NDCS, or donate to them separately, please find them here: https://www.ndcs.org.uk/

About the charity

British Deaf Association

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1031687
Our Mission is to ensure a world in which the language, culture, community, diversity & heritage of Deaf people in the UK is respected & fully protected, ensuring that Deaf people can participate & contribute as equal & valued citizens in the wider society. We also aim to act as guardians of BSL.

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