Deaf students need £30k for ‘puffin’ crossing

Staff and students need to raise £30,000 for crossing (image courtesy: Deaf Academy)

Councils will only provide 70 per cent to keep children safe

Students and staff at the Deaf Academy in Exmouth have launched a fundraising appeal to raise £30,000 for a crossing outside their school.

The youngsters, of whom most have additional needs, have campaigned for years to improve road safety along Douglas Avenue after the academy relocated from Exeter in 2020.

Now East Devon’s highways and traffic committee has approved plans to install a £100,000 puffin crossing on the road outside their school and residential accommodation.

But they have to raise 30 per cent of the cost.

The large amount is because puffin crossings have extra sensors and features over and above standard crossings.

Deaf student Abi, 14, said: “This crossing will make life a lot easier and help us to feel more independent going into town.”

Her classmate Fraser, 16, agreed: “It will make us safer. Please help us raise the money for the crossing.”

The academy is a registered charity and much of its work relies on fundraising. It has created a JustGiving page where people can make donations to the project. Thanks to a recent legacy from a generous supporter, the Academy’s Trustees are in a position to match every pound donated to this fundraising page, doubling the value of all donations.

Many of the academy’s students are residential and stay either on the main site or at its post-19 centre 10 minute walk away. They enjoy going into town and to the beach and developing skills for independent living.

Younger children do regular activities for their citizenship projects, such as beach litter picking. Older students participate in local events, engage in work experience opportunities and deliver their Deaf Awareness workshops to local businesses and community organisations.

Principal Sylvan Dewing said: “It is particularly important to have this crossing to ensure students can confidently and safely engage in activities and be a valuable part of the town.  

“The Academy is located on a busy road, making this initiative particularly important. Our students need longer to check if it is safe to cross, so a controlled signalling crossing is vital. It will of course also provide a safe crossing for local residents and visitors and we are delighted that the highways and transport committee is supporting this initiative.”

The puffin crossing scheme will include high friction road surfacing and advanced warning signing on both approaches. It will also have visual, tactile and audible pedestrian indicators to help users cross safely.

The JustGiving page is at:

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