An ageing population means Werrington residents can face difficulties accessing hearing care, but Ridgways has agreed to help, working in partnership with the Werrington Wellbeing Group by taking the service direct to the community using the new Garden Therapy Lodges at the library.
The alliance comes after Craig Sambrook, whose wife Wendy is events coordinator at the Werrington Wellbeing Community Voluntary Group, visited Ridgway’s Hearing Care, In nearby Endon, to have hearing aids fitted.
Now Ridgways Hearing Care has joined forces with the volunteers to offer appointments at the Werrington Community Library and Wellbeing Centre when people need them.
Werrington residents can simply call Ridgways Hearing Care, which has premises in Endon and Newcastle-under-Lyme, to arrange an appointment.
Alison Ridgway, senior audiologist and hearing centre owner, said: “Werrington has around twice the national average of older people who can struggle to access services. That led to the Werrington Wellbeing volunteers setting up a centre at the village library where they hold a host of diverse community services.
“When I spoke to Craig and Wendy, they introduced me to group chairman, David Shaw. I was amazed to hear what a fantastic range of services they provide and that, before Covid-19 hit, they’d provided over 2,000 activities, in conjunction with the Werrington Village Surgery, in the four years since Werrington Wellbeing was founded.
“David suggested there was a need for hearing services and I was delighted to be able to help.”
Ridgway’s Hearing Care will send audiologists to Werrington and provide services from wax removal to the selection and fitting of hearing aids.
The NHS has patchy provision for hearing services in North Staffordshire and there’s a need for many with serious issues to visit a private audiologist.
Explained Alison: “In 2015, the North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group stopped funding hearing aids for most people with ‘mild’ or ‘moderate’ hearing loss and that impacted many people, with a greater impact being felt in more remote villages, with an older demographic, such as Werrington.
“In February 2021, the North Staffordshire CCG, which covers Newcastle and the Staffordshire Moorlands, decided to start providing hearing aids to all people with moderate hearing loss again, but restrictions remain in place for patients with hearing loss classed as mild.
“There’s still a large number of people not receiving the services they need on the NHS. Poor hearing can lead to social isolation, particularly in elderly people, and there’s evidence that the use of hearing aids can reduce the risk of dementia.”
David Shaw said that services by Ridgways Hearing Care were an ideal addition to the Werrington Wellbeing project.
“It’s been four years since we took on the Werrington library to prevent it from closure and we’ve repeatedly added to the services available to create Werrington Wellbeing,” added David. “Our activities have developed to such a degree that we were able to raise funds to build the Werrington Garden Therapy Lodge at the rear of the library.
“Adding Ridgways’ audiology services to our offering will give older people access to first class hearing care. We see it as a ‘win-win’ situation for our village and for Ridgway’s Hearing Care.
To access services, Werrington residents should either call Ridgways Hearing Care on 01782 622545 or fill in the contact form on the Ridgway’s Hearing Care website, see www.ridgwayshearingcare.com.
Alison has been an audiologist for more than 30 years and founded Ridgway’s Hearing Care around four years ago, having previously successfully run and then sold a previous hearing centre business. Her eight strong team work from hearing centres at Marsh Parade, Newcastle, and Station Road, Endon, The Endon surgery was opened in 2020, as Alison wanted to create additional space, so that services could run with social-distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.