I’m angry. In fact, I am incandescent. It’s said that the measure of a civilised society is how it treats its members with different needs. And today, in Worcester, we are failing to be civilised.

Imagine getting a letter from your GP asking you to book an appointment by phone. Not so easy, as we know. How many of us have waited and waited to speak to someone at the doctor’s surgery, patiently going through the indecipherable number of options: “Press 17 if you want to talk about your varicose veins!”.

Now imagine that you live alone and are Deaf. Your main language is BSL (British Sign Language) and you can’t use the phone. So how do you book an appointment?

It's even harder (or in fact, impossible).

You see how the things we take for granted become barriers for those with specific needs. I’ve even heard cases of friends or interpreters phoning on the persons behalf only to be told that they cannot give the information because of confidentiality!

But imagine it is even worse than that. Imagine you need to go to Accident and Emergency. Or someone needs to explain to you the complexities of your operation. Or that your benefits are being threatened and you need to fill out a form that is not in your language (just as BSL is different from English).

Thank God that lots of groups have charities that advocate on their behalf.

Deaf Direct is such a charity. It provides an interpreting service for Deaf people, support for those who are hard of hearing; outreach to those who might be isolated; and a community for those who may not know where to turn.

Communicating the desire to make a difference

Deaf Direct has an outstanding reputation within Worcestershire.

But despite this, and the years that it has served the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities, it is now faced with draconian cuts from Worcestershire County Council, which has withdrawn 100 per cent, yes 100 per cent, of its funding to the charity.

Now I know that it is a difficult time for local government; too little money, too much to fund. I know also that each charity thinks it is important.

But, and forgive me for being cynical, it seems that the Big Government often picks the softest targets; the charities which will roll over quietly and not make a fuss.

That way they don’t get bad press and it is all pushed under the carpet.

Now, let me make one thing clear, I am not speaking officially on behalf of Deaf Direct.

The Deaf community are well able to fight their own battles.

I am, however, speaking as a resident of Worcester; and as a friend of this charity who knows the value of their work, and the difference it has made in the life of people.

And let me make one more thing clear. You have picked the wrong target this time WCC. My Deaf and Hard of Hearing friends won’t lie down and roll over.

The service is much too important to them for that. They will fight to keep their services; and if they wish, I and many of my hearing friends, will join with them!