Deaf Awareness Week 2022

Deaf Awareness Week is run on an annual basis by the UK Council on Deafness, it will be taking place between 2nd – 8th May 2022.The theme for Deaf awareness week 2022 is Deaf Inclusion, to explore the entire theme of inclusion within our community.

The aim of the campaign is to highlight the impact of hearing loss on everyday life and increase visibility and inclusion of Deaf people.

Emphasising the importance of mental health, and empathising with underrepresented groups amongst Deaf such as migrants, BMIs, and women, as well as raise pertinent issues of deafness being overlooked in education, health settings and the workplace.

Get involved with Deaf Awareness Week use the following hashtags on social media: #DAW2022 and #lnclusionDeafness and #MyDeafStory

2021: A Year in Review

2021 saw Stefy’s BSL Level 1, 2 & 3 students (20/21 intake) achieve 100% of their personal learning goals against all the odds, as we navigated the Covid restrictions and switched from classroom to online lessons and back again! George successfully guided three students through their receptive resits to achieve their full Level 3 qualification and George and Louise supported another six ‘fast track’ students to achieve their full Level 2 qualification in just 8 weeks.

This week saw 40 Bournemouth School for Girls students achieve their BSL101 qualification thanks to George, Amber and Lynn.

We said a fond farewell to Stefy who moved on to pastures new with City Lit in London.

Thanks to the The National Lottery Community Fund we delivered 16 FREE Online Bite Sized Deaf Communication Skills training sessions during the national lockdown.

In September we hosted a much needed Family Fun Day with Significance Sign Choir, Squidge and Pop and Diamond Faces Professional Face Painting at Picnic Park Deli after the previous years events having to be cancelled due to Covid restrictions.

Thank you to our fabulous team of trustees, volunteers and teaching staff who have worked so hard in 2021 to empower deaf people to play a full part in the community and support so many on their BSL learning journey with us.

We’ll be back in 2022 with our Signature Deaf accredited BSL Level 1 and 2 classes as well as our BSL Conversation Class, BSL Access to Level 3 Class. George, Louise, Amber and Lynn will also be delivering a range of bespoke deaf and deafblind communication tactics workshops for University Hospitals Dorset and introduction to BSL sessions in schools.

We also have a BSL Workshop (All Levels) scheduled to take place at Bournemouth Deaf Club on Saturday 8th January.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Wiltshire and Dorset Deaf Association.

Learn to sign in 2022!

Thinking of a New Year’s resolution for 2022? Why not learn a new language: Not only will learning a new language help improve your communication skills, it will also look great on your CV and possibly open up some doors for you. There are 75,000 deaf people in the UK whose first language is British Sign Language (BSL) and 1 in 6 people have some form of hearing loss.

Rose Ayling-Ellis’ appearance on Strictly Come Dancing has led to a huge surge in interest in learning British Sign Language, with the Google search for learning sign-language seeing an increase of 488%!

Register now to attend our upcoming BSL Workshop running in Bournemouth. Suitable for anyone with an interest in learning BSL or wishing to practise their BSL in a safe, friendly and supportive environment.

‘Sign for Change’ Family Fun Day 2021

A huge thank you to everyone who helped to make our ‘Sign for Change’ Family Fun Day such a huge success! The pandemic put a stop to last year’s event so it was very special to be able to bring so many d/Deaf and hearing families together again to mark the final day of ‘International Week of Deaf People 2021’.

The sun was shining on us and the fabulous team at Picnic Park Deli made us very welcome. The day kicked off with a performance by local singer/songwriter Nick Braunton who warmed up the Sunday morning crowd with a mix of well known songs as well as some of his own songs. Next up was WDDA Trustee, George Raggett, who led a beautiful performance by the St Clements Signs in Worship Group quickly followed by our award winning ‘Significance’ Sign Choir. It was fantastic to see so many people join the ‘Sign-a-Long’ and learning some basic sign language and the support from the general public and passers by was incredible. So many people stopped to find out more about the work of Wiltshire and Dorset Deaf Association and learn more about the steps they could take to become more deaf aware. We gave out so many leaflets and BSL finger spelling charts throughout the course of the day and our #Make It Clear clear panel face masks proved a real hit.

Such a lovely day, thank you!

Such a great event! Really enjoyed it!

Fabulous day and even the weather smiled on us. Hopefully see you all next year!

Great day had by all! Thank you Zoe and George.

What a fabulous day! So many special memories made and shared by so many.

In the children’s entertainment area Sarah from Diamond Faces made LOTS of children (and some adults!) very happy with some truly impressive face painting and Lisa from Squidge & Pop WOWED the crowd with an incredible interactive bubble show. Children and families got involved in the arts and crafts activities and got creative with our makeshift chalk graffiti wall.

Back on the stage we were lucky to be joined by internationally renowned violinist Barbara Gasior who put on an incredible performance and even got some of the crowd up on their feet dancing! We welcomed ‘Significance’ Sign Choir back to the stage to round the day off with another performance and a final ‘Sign a Long’ with the audience. A All in all it was a fabulous day. Thanks again to Adam and the team at Picnic Park Cafe, WDDA Trustees George and Donna, members of the St Clements Signs in Worship group, ‘Significance’ Sign Choir, Nick Braunton, Barbara Gasior, Sarah from Diamond Faces Professional Facepainting, Lisa from Squidge & Pop and to ALL of you who joined us on the day. THANK YOU!


Enrol now for our Autumn Term BSL courses!

We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications for British Sign Language (BSL) Level 1 and 2 courses starting in September 2021.

Our BSL Level 1 course with Lynn will run on Tuesday evenings 7-9pm at Bournemouth Deaf Club starting on
Tuesday 7th September 2021 (32 weeks)

Our BSL Level 2 course with Louise will run on Wednesday evenings 6:30-9pm at Bournemouth Deaf Club starting on
Wednesday 8th September 2019 (36 weeks)

We are also running the following non-qualification courses suitable for those of you who are looking to further develop your skills and put your learning into practise:

BSL Conversation Class with George and Amber will run on Tuesday mornings 10am-12pm at The Eco Hub (Dolphin Centre), Poole starting on Tuesday 2nd November 2021 (5 week block).

BSL Level 3 Access Class with George and Louise will run on Thursday evenings at Allendale House, Wimborne starting on Thursday 16th September 2021.

Please contact Zoe at or phone/text 07793284109 for further information.  WDDA is able to offer a concessionary rate to those with hearing loss in both ears/have dependants with hearing loss.  Course fees can also be paid in instalments to help spread the cost.

Law changes open doors to deaf jurors

Sign language interpreters are to be permitted in jury rooms in England and Wales, enabling most deaf people to take part in jury service for the first time.

The planned legal change announced on Monday will amend strict rules that mandate only the 12 selected members of a jury can be present during private deliberations to also allow for a British Sign Language interpreter where needed.

While there is no specific ban on deaf people serving on juries, many have previously been found ineligible to serve or left to rely on lip-reading and limited hearing during private jury discussions.

Tune in to BBC Radio Wiltshire tomorrow morning (12/03/21) at 7:40am to catch WDDA Trustee, George Raggett, give our reaction to the news that the law has been reformed to allow BSL Interpreters to assist Deaf Jurors in jury trials.

104.3 & 103.5 FM I DAB

FREE Online Bite-Sized Deaf Communication Skills Training!

Fancy learning something new in lockdown?

Thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund we are able to bring our popular Bite-sized Deaf Communication Skills training sessions to you online for FREE as part of our ‘Make It Clear!’ Campaign.

The session is for anyone that wants to know more about how varying degrees of deafness impacts on the daily lives of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. It provides some useful skills that can be quickly mastered to begin communicating with any deaf or deaf blind person as your patient or their family member, colleague, or acquaintance.

On completion you will be issued an individual certificate of achievement. In addition, customer facing groups and teams will receive a, “We are Deaf Friendly” certificate for public display.

Various dates available.
Places are limited. Booking essential.

Season’s Greetings

Thank you for your valued support in 2020. From all of us at WDDA we wish you a very Merry, Safe and Peaceful Christmas!

George Raggett, WDDA Trustee
Donna Cheese, WDDA Trustee

Check out our Social Media channels for some more festive cheer in the form of some beautifully signed Christmas songs and poems kindly performed by George.

Time to learn something new?

With coronavirus having put the world on hold for so many of us why not use this time to build your skillset and learn something new?

Given the current Covid-19 crisis we have temporarily moved all of our BSL classes online.  This means you can join our next ‘BSL Workshop for Beginners’ from home.

Qualification: None – Informal teaching and assessment.

Entry Requirements: There is no prior knowledge or experience required.

Course Details: The aim of the workshop is for you to develop and practice BSL skills at your own level. You will meet and sign with other students and tutors in an informal and fun online environment. It is a fantastic opportunity to prepare for the start of formal courses or assessments.

Assessment: There is no formal assessment, but the tutors will provide continuous feedback on your progress throughout the sessions.

Progression: The workshop will enable you to make informed decisions about other courses of study from Level 1 to 3 that you could move on to.

Workshop date: Saturday 12th December 2020

Time: 10am-1pm

Duration: 3 hours

Course Venue: Online via Zoom video conferencing platform

For more information, or to book, please contact or complete and return the online enrolment form below.

Online BSL Workshop Enrolment Form

Coronavirus Community Support Fund success!

Funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, means that we will be able to provide clear panel face masks to our local d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing community free of charge. Thanks to the Government for supporting our ‘Make It Clear!’ Campaign and making this possible.

Wiltshire and Dorset Deaf Association have been awarded Funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund to build on the success of it’s ‘Make It Clear!’ Campaign.

This funding will also provide us with the opportunity to distribute clear panel face masks to local businesses and service providers and deliver Deaf Awareness and Communication Skills workshops as part of our ‘Make It Clear!’ Campaign.

For too long, retail spaces have been inaccessible for people with hearing loss. Whether this has been through the use of background music, a lack of hearing loops, or be failing to provide their staff with deaf awareness training. These barriers should not exist. The Covid-19 pandemic has only added to these barriers, with face coverings, physical partitions and social distancing creating a more difficult experience. Deaf people are known to be more likely to have poor mental health. We want to ensure that deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people in Dorset and Wiltshire enjoy equal access, opportunity and have the same independence as hearing people in order to reduce the risk of negative social, health and economic impact as a result of Covid-19.

Face coverings must now be worn by retail, leisure and hospitality staff working in areas that are open to the public and where they’re likely to come into contact with a member of the public. This includes:

  • shops
  • supermarkets
  • bars
  • pubs
  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • banks
  • estate agents
  • post offices
  • public areas of hotels and hostels

Wearing a clear panel face mask goes a long way to help remove barriers to communication for your d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing customers. To request a ‘Make It Clear!’ Campaign Pack and complimentary supply of reusable clear panel face masks for your workplace please email Zoe at

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