My name is Geoff. I am a Deafblind man who lives in Australia, in the Hunter valley with an adventurous spirit, a keen interest to try new things whenever I can and a cheeky sense of humour.
My Seeing Eye Dog “Indy” supports me to access the community and has the same mischievous nature as me. We like swimming, walking, and generally running amok.
I am a dedicated advocate and committed to supporting my deafblind peers to be included in their communities and be accepted as valued citizens.
I attend regular deaf coffee social groups to practice my signing and promote deafblindness. This teaches deaf students how to utilise there Auslan skills to be a good communication partner with deafblind awareness.
Some of the activities I enjoy are fishing, camping, gardening, collecting Bundaberg Rum merchandise and home brewing rum and liqueurs. I utilised my brewing skills during Covid to make much needed hand sanitiser to distribute to people in my community who desperately need this.
I am learning Auslan – Australian Sign Language and also Deafblind Tactile Signing so I can build closer connections and friendships with my peers in the Hunter Deafblind group who communicate in this way. I love to teach others when given the opportunity. At drop in Fridays fortnightly for deafblind peers and their allies, we work together to learn new skills, see what’s new and practice our signing.
Under the deafblind project I am volunteering two days a week to develop my skills and manage the Facebook page for the Hunter Deafblind Group to keep my peers connected and informed. I organise our deafblind social days out to support my deafblind peers to get out and about and not be stuck at home. We visit local businesses like The Maitland gaol , the choc factory, The Australian Reptile Park, Shark and Ray Centre, Blackbutt, museum visits and lunches at different local pubs etc. We also do more adventurous activities like riding mini trains, and going indoor rock climbing.
There is a great video of our dolphin cruise on the moonshadow.
The Deafblind Social Group is a self-directed group where members all give ideas and then choose, so I can plan, coordinate and facilitate for the group. I organised a deafblind yarn bombing event with my peers to raise awareness for deafblind awareness week.
I’m passionate about deafblindness in our community and love meeting new people and seeing the group grow.