Yesterday we were honoured to be amongst partners and stakeholders in celebrating the launch of the first ever British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan in Scotland. The first for the UK and leading the way for sign languages all over the world. The National Plan aims to make Scotland the best place in the world for BSL users to live, work and visit.
Deaf people currently experience considerable disadvantages and are more likely to experience; ill-health, leave school with fewer qualifications and struggle to find employment as a result of a lack of linguistic access.The Plan aims to enable public bodies to set out how they are going to provide services and access to deaf people in BSL by the autumn of 2018 and meet the expectations set out in the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015.
As the new Chief Executive at Deaf Action we look forward to working with Scotland’s public bodies to support the development of their BSL Plans and enable deaf people to have an equal and better future. This should lead to improved accessibility, organisations offering digital online content with BSL translation and a greater understanding of deaf culture in the wider community.
At Deaf Action we currently offer BSL Awareness training to local public bodies and a range of other resources including a high quality Multimedia service that helps organisations reach their deaf customers by ensuring all their information is available in BSL.
The Plan which also aims to offer more parents of deaf children access to learn BSL, has been welcomed by our Youth Service. A young deaf person Isla Gallagher stated:
“My mum, dad and I never got given the opportunity to learn sign language and I wish we did. So now it would mean a lot to me that young deaf people (partially or profoundly deaf) and families learn sign language so they don’t grow up without any knowledge of sign language”.
The plan will contribute towards the vision that deaf people will be wealthier, smarter, healthier, safer and stronger in Scotland, while promoting an indigenous language to all of Scotland’s citizens.