Celebrating 185 years of Deaf Action



Our 185th birthday

Today we are celebrating our 185th birthday!

We’re proud to have been at the forefront of many achievements since 1835. We’ve come a long way since then, but one thing hasn’t changed – our mission; to improve the quality and conditions of life for *deaf people.

The early days

Since our beginnings on Leith Street in Edinburgh, we are proud to have been at the forefront of many major achievements – in fact, we were the first formally constituted *deaf organisation in the world.

Back in the 1830s, two *deaf groups were formed in Edinburgh. They were The Deaf and Dumb Congregation and The Edinburgh Deaf and Dumb Benevolent Society. Both were set up to offer support to *deaf people. The organisations merged in 1874 to become the Edinburgh Deaf and Dumb Benevolent Society.

Other deaf organisations were established and were eventually merged over time, including The Scottish Mission to the Deaf and Dumb, Edinburgh Deaf and Dumb Christian Association, Edinburgh and East of Scotland Society for the Deaf.

In 1889, 49 Albany Street in Edinburgh became the charity’s headquarters, and remains at the heart of the *deaf community in Scotland to this day.

Times changed, and so have we – our name needed to reflect our vision going forward and move away from old terminology and values. We rebranded in 2003 as Deaf Action – a name that represents who we are, what we do, and would take our charity in the right direction.

Looking forward

The impact of the pandemic means that our celebrations have been delayed this year, but we’re planning lots of exciting things for the year ahead!

We’ll be launching our first ever deaf festival, we’ll be expanding our services, and there will be some other surprises. We’ll be working hard to reach deaf people across the whole of the UK, sharing our success and celebrations with everyone.

“We’ve come a long way since 1835, but our mission and values remain at the heart of everything we do. We want an equal and better world for deaf people. We want to empower deaf people by giving them the skills they need for life.

Despite the pandemic, we have been able to successfully reach out to deaf people across Scotland, offering our services and support. We are looking forward to more successes in the coming year. Now more than ever, our work is vitally important to support our community and build a better future for *deaf people. Here’s to the next 185 years.”
Philip Gerrard, CEO

Thanks for being here to celebrate with us.

Support us

If you’d like to support the work of Deaf Action, text INCLUSION to 70085 to make a £5 single donation.

Or if you want to get involved with Deaf Action’s work in the future, please get in touch.