SPECSAVERS in Wales has renewed its three-year sponsorship agreement with the current world deaf rugby champions, Wales Deaf Rugby Union (WDRU), in a deal worth £15,000.
The announcement follows a summer of fundraising activities, which saw 35 stores across mid and south Wales raise more than £5,000 for WDRU during the ‘Specsavers Choir’ tour.
The rugby-themed choirs performed a one-off, four-hour performance at Specsavers stores on weekends throughout August and September to build on Wales’ excitement ahead of the start of the Rugby World Cup and to raise money for the development of deaf rugby in Wales.
Specsavers has supported Wales Deaf Rugby since 2012 when it became the official provider of audiology testing as well as kit sponsor. The new sponsorship agreement will see Specsavers work with WDRU until 2018.
In addition to audiology services and kit sponsor, Specsavers will also support the WDRU’s Community Programme, which offers children from schools and deaf units across the country the opportunity to participate in rugby skills sessions organised WDRU representatives and supported by WRU regional development coaches.
Wyn James, chairman of Specsavers in Wales, said: ‘Over the last three years we have worked closely with WDRU to raise awareness of hearing loss and the importance of regular hearing tests, so we’re delighted to continue this important partnership.
‘We’re proud to be associated with WDRU and the £5,000 raised during our Specsavers Choir campaign will be put towards the organisation’s performance and community projects, which we think are extremely important initiatives to champion.
‘Unfortunately, hearing loss can have a social stigma attached to it, but that should not stop individuals from achieving great things, as the community programme aims to address. And with the sophisticated, state-of-the-art hearing aid technology available today, we’ll be working closely with WDRU to promote the importance of looking after your ear health and to encourage people with hearing loss that they can still enjoy many of the same things that people with perfect hearing can.’
Wales recently returned from its inaugural visit to South Africa where it played and won both international test matches against the Deaf ‘Boks’. The successful tour and four consecutive victories against close rivals England Deaf reinforce Wales’ position as the leading nation in world deaf rugby.
Gwynne Griffiths, chairman of WDRU, said: ‘Without sponsorship, we would not be able to carry out the vital outreach work we do in communities through our engagement programme, and make sure that players have access to the best training and support staff available.
‘It has been fantastic to work with a global brand like Specsavers over the last three years and we’re delighted to be working with them for another three-year term. We’d like to thank Specsavers for its continued support and to the staff, customers and communities of the 35 stores across south and mid Wales for their generosity during the Specsavers Choir tour.
‘Every donation allows us to invest and further improve our community programme, bringing together young people and children from across the country to participate in group sports and skills training.’
You don't need to be profoundly or totally deaf to play deaf rugby; you only need a combined average hearing loss of 25db or more in both ears. This is approximately a minimum hearing loss in both ears, or a moderate hearing loss in one ear but normal hearing in the other.
There are 28 deaf schools and units in Wales and 22 deaf clubs.
Pictured above left to right are, Frank Moloney of Specsavers Cardiff Quenn Street, Jack Skyrme and
Gwynne Griffiths of Wales Deaf Rugby