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NatWest brings in hearing loop system and staff training

St Christopher’s school pupils had a fantastic success by ensuring NatWest bank will use their loop system effectively so that people with hearing difficulties can have equal access to their facilities.

A group of pupils trained by TCC in community organising held a meeting with the head of customer services, Mr Andrew Brown, who agreed to train all staff at the branch to use the system, that the loop system will be charged and ready to be used at all times, and that a loop system will be available for use at all times on at least one kiosk. It was agreed these improvements would be made by mid-December.

The pupils arranged the meeting because a teaching assistant and several pupils at the school use hearing aids, and had difficulty doing their banking due to the ineffective use of the loop system at the Wrexham branch. Teaching assistant Laura said “When I asked for the loop system to be turned on the staff didn’t know what I was talking about. The lady had to go and get it from upstairs, and then didn’t know how to use it. There was a huge queue forming, and it was incredibly embarrassing. In the end I had to get my mum to do my banking for me.”

Mr Brown agreed that this was unacceptable, offered an apology on behalf of the bank, and agreed to all of the group’s requests.

The group have since visited the bank to see the loop system at work, and were pleased to find that Mr Brown had kept his promises to improve the system, and make sure that his staff were aware of how to use it. The branch manager praised the pupils for bringing this issue to her attention, and was pleased to report that they had improved the use of their loop system as a result of the meeting.

The pupils have been learning about community organising with TCC’s youth and community organiser. An important part of this training is to learn how to hold effective public meetings. It was evident that the pupils had taken these lessons on board, as the meeting was very successful.

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