A DEAFNESS charity in Northwich has reached its £10,000 target to support a hearing dog puppy but is appealing for more help from the community.

Deafness Support Network (DSN), which has its headquarters in London Road, is launching a competition to name the helpful youngster.

But this is trickier than it may seem as the soon-to-be canine companion is yet to be born and its breed and sex are still unknown.

DSN launched its fundraiser in April 2013 to fund the £10,000 required to name and support the socialising and training of a hearing dog puppy by the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People (HDfDP).

Terry Webb, chairman of HDfDP Cheshire fundraising branch, said: “It’s hard to put into words what a difference a hearing dog can make to a deaf person.

“They not only help provide confidence and independence in everyday life but also bring companionship for people who can otherwise become completely isolated.”

Hearing dogs are trained to alert deaf people to everyday household sounds and danger signals at home, work and in public buildings.

Each dog is trained to the needs of the needs of the deaf person they have been matched to and the deaf person is given the dog free of charge.

Gill Reeder, DSN’s executive for operations, said: “We’d like to thank everyone who has helped us achieve this phenomenal target – those who joined us at the Arley Walk and The Cake Fairy, the Handbridge community, Dee-Sign Choir and many more for their amazing fundraising efforts.”

To enter the competition to name the puppy, which will be born in March, either pop into DSN’s offices in Northwich with a minimum £1 donation, your suggestion, name and contact details, or search for Deafness Support Network in the charities section of virginmoneygiving.com.

The deadline is noon on February 21.

The winner will receive a framed photograph of the puppy along with regular updates on his or her progress.