A cafe in South Tyneside is backing a campaign to keep deaf people in touch.
North East organisation Sign it Hear raises awareness of hearing impairment by holding social events at cafes - with an event taking place tomorrow at Caffe Nero in King Street, South Shields.
The gathering has grown over the years and aims to break down barriers for deaf people.
Hearing impairment is a growing issue in the UK and it is estimated that, by 2035, a fifth of the population will suffer from some form of hearing loss.
Julie New, Sign It Hear director, said: “We set up the signing cafe events in 2014 in South Shields with Caffe Nero’s support and they have gone from strength to strength.
“We set them up because we wanted sign language to be more visible to the hearing community and to break down the barriers that deaf people come across in their everyday lives.”
The organisation also provides a range of services and training in the North East - including deaf awareness courses, sign language lessons and communication workshops.
Ms New said: “Many deaf people become isolated and this can cause mental health problems so the cafes are to encourage these people to come out and socialise in a safe and friendly environment.
“It was also set up for those students or anyone who wished to learn and practice sign language in a more relaxed and social environment. She added: “We also wanted business to be more aware of the barriers the deaf community face and the staff working at Caffè Nero have embraced learning some sign language that they use in everyday work.
Tomorrow’s event starts at 6pm.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org of call 07752 417248