Debra’s work on inclusion and accessibility for deaf community to be recognised at annual awards

Published Thursday 8 February 2024 at 10:15

A woman who strives to change the lives of the young deaf community is this year’s recipient of the prestigious One Voice Leader’s Award.

Debra Cartlidge is the Chief Executive of the Deaf Village, a community she has created to reduce social isolation for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Set against a stunning woodland backdrop just off Preston Old Road, near Pleasington, the Deaf Village is a place with no communication barriers for deaf people. It provides a shared learning environment in which deaf people can thrive, learning life skills and growing their independence. Deaf individuals from across the region access the Deaf Village for communication support, independence skills, peer support, enrichment opportunities and supported living care.

The Leader’s Award, supported by Blackburn with Darwen Council, acknowledges an individual or organisation that has shown strong leadership, enhanced the reputation of the town and shown a strong cohesion ethos.

It’s judged and presented by Council Leader Councillor Phil Riley and is part of the hugely successful annual 1V Awards Dinner.

Debra Cartlidge said:

I am thrilled and honoured to have been recognised in this way.

Right from the start, my mission has been to pave the way for a more inclusive and accessible society, particularly for our deaf community. Winning this award is not just a personal achievement, but also a testament to the incredible journey my amazing staff team have been on together!

We will continue to inspire and empower others to believe in their dreams and strive for a more inclusive future.

Councillor Phil Riley commented:

Debra received several nominations for the work she is doing at the Deaf Village, breaking down barriers to communication for people who are deaf and empowering them. Her own story of growing up with a hearing problem and then turning it into such a huge positive for others is very inspiring.

Debra is a very worthy winner of this award, and I congratulate her on her success.

The 1V Awards, run by charity One Voice Blackburn, are now in their eighth year and celebrate local people from all walks of life who go over and above to make Blackburn better.

Last year’s winner of the Leader’s Award was the artist Jamie Holman. Previous winners have included Blackburn Muslim Burial Society, Keep Blackburn Tidy, Derek Estill of the BwD Interfaith Forum, and Scouts Lead Stuart Parker.

This year’s awards dinner takes place in King George’s Hall on Saturday 17 February.

More details on the awards every can be found at:


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