DEVON DIAMOND: Justine Smyth

Our 31st Devon Diamond is Justine Smyth, Deaf-led services and training manager at Living Options Devon.

Justine was born in Middlesex and her family all moved to Devon in her early years. Justine was born Deaf and her parents were told not use to British Sign Language (BSL), she will be “just fine” and that was it. Justine lives in Devon and her root is in Torbay. Justine's hobbies are walking, swimming and going to the theatres. She has worked for Living Options Devon for 16 years and when she started there, she was a project Assistant. Today she is a qualified Deaf BSL Counsellor and she also managed the Deaf Project which involves working with the Deaf communities in Devon.

"Living Options Devon is an amazing charity working across the South West to ensure that people with disabilities and Deaf people (who use BSL) can live the life they choose."

Justine Smyth image

Justine has also managed many projects to break down barriers to communication so that the Deaf communities can access services that were difficult or impossible to do.

"We found that it was important to provide Counselling for Deaf people whereas before this would never have be possible because of the need to communicate using an interpreter. It was important and necessary to be able to offer Deaf people the choice to have counselling privately and in confident, one to one."

"We have been able to work with Deaf people through our Time to Talk Project (Chat and share) engagement work and Deaf focus group. This helps the Deaf community to be part of our society to contribute and understand what is going on that would have been difficult or otherwise impossible."

Why I love Devon

"Devon has so many places to explore and even though I have lived here all my life, I am still discovering places that I have never been before. My favourite places to explore are the beaches, the woodlands and the moors."


Each week during our 60th anniversary year (until March 2022) we will be sharing a story, profile or memory from one or more of our 'Devon Diamonds'. Devon Communities Together's Devon Diamonds are people who have played a part in our story since 1961. They could be ex (or current!) employees or trustees, people who have achieved amazing things in their own communities, representatives from partner organisations we've worked with over the years, village hall committee members, Councillors, and more ... the list is endless! 

We plan to create 60 Devon Diamonds throughout the year! If you know of somebody who would make a great Devon Diamond profile, please get in touch by calling 01392 248919 or emailing