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.

WDDA equips young students with valuable deaf awareness & communication skills

Congratulations to all 19 students at Bournemouth School for Girls on achieving your BSL 101 Unit after just 10 hours of study.  What a fantastic achievement!  Many thanks to Lynn and George for teaching the sessions and to Wendy for their valued input to the success achieved in the assessments.  It’s a real testament to the students’ enthusiasm and commitment to learning a  new skill, and to the skills of our valued tutors and volunteers to have another group achieve the qualification and be able to communicate in BSL with the local Deaf community and beyond.

Congratulations also to all the students at Twynham School on completing your 8 week introduction to Sign Language course with Stefy and Nigel.  We are pleased to continue our long association with these two schools providing opportunities for their  students to develop valuable communication skills that make a difference in their own lives and those of the Deaf Community they meet at work and socially.

We are looking to raise £5,000 to help fund our work supporting the development of a small team of Deaf and hearing BSL users to enable them to deliver Deaf Awareness & Communication training to local Nursery and Primary Schools in Dorset.

Our ‘Sign for Change’ programme aims to introduce 600 children and young people in Dorset to British Sign Language (BSL) each year.  On a wider level we anticipate that our work within local Nursery and Primary Schools will have a hugely positive impact on the local community as our deaf awareness training helps to break down the barriers to communication faced by pupils who are deaf or have a hearing loss and create a more inclusive environment within your educational setting.  We already have a proven track record of successfully delivering deaf awareness courses and teaching BSL at secondary level at Bournemouth School for Girls and Twynham School and, more recently, at primary level at Talbot Heath School.

Equipping children and young people with the knowledge and skills to be able to communicate with deaf friends also increases self-esteem, provides a foundation for developing sign language skills in the future as they start to think about further education and career paths and, most importantly, helps to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

To give you an idea of the costs involved to introduce the ‘Sign for Change’ programme – £160 will give 20 of your pupils access to 4 hours (delivered over 4 weeks) of deaf awareness and communication training, specifically tailored to their age group.  This works out at just £8 per pupil or £2 per pupil, per week.  We are able to deliver sessions flexibly to fit around your curriculum and other activities so if you would like us to deliver sessions in an alternative format please just let us know.

Upon completion of the ‘Sign for Change’ programme pupils will be able to converse with a signer they have met for the first time using a range of everyday terms and vocabulary to exchange personal details, modes of transport, family, food and drink, calendar, time, weather and clothes.   They will be practiced in rules of basic grammar and structure of British Sign Language and be prepared for studies in further topics.

If you would like to find out more about how our ‘Sign for Change’ programme can form part of your school’s enrichment programme and/or to discuss the possibility of WDDA facilitating a fun, educational and inclusive after school club please contact Zoe at admin@wdda.co.uk

Nuclear medicine is now Deaf-Friendly

Last month Wiltshire and Dorset Deaf Association Trustees, George and Donna, along with WDDA Tutor Lynn, had the pleasure of delivering a bespoke deaf awareness and communication tactics training day for the nuclear medicine team at Poole Hospital.  Feedback from the staff who participated in the training course that was tailored to meet the needs of their specific department within the hospital and its patients has been fantastic with staff describing the day as “engaging, interactive and exceedingly interesting”.

The department’s enthusiasm and commitment to making Nuclear Medicine deaf friendly is something to be applauded.  George was invited to visit the department, only a week or so after the training day, to give feedback on the practical changes put in to place within the department to help make it more deaf friendly and was impressed to learn that staff had already had the opportunity to put their newly learnt skills in to practise.


“The trainers managed to make it relevant to our clinical work, so if you need to know sign-language for ‘radioactive injection’ just ask one of our team.  The learning from this day has already helped us communicate not only with our patients, but also with our colleagues and family members who are hard of hearing. We thoroughly recommend that other teams take the time to learn these skills.”  – Kat Dixon, Head of Nuclear Medicine.  


Would you like your staff to have a basic knowledge of sign language for meeting and greeting your customers, clients or service users?

WDDA offers bespoke BSL training packages for local organisations, businesses and workplaces.  Our Bite Sized Introduction to BSL Communication Skills course can be tailored for your specific needs and delivered at your workplace, ensuring good uptake and minimising pressure on valuable staff time and resources.  Upon completion of your training, you will be presented with a certificate to display so you can show the Deaf community and the community at large that you care.  Your organisation/business will also be listed as a Deaf Friendly business on our website with a link to your website.

Course Outline:
CIS Bite Sized Introduction to BSL Communication Skills

Workplace BSL Training Needs Questionnaire:
WDDA BSL in your workplace training needs assessment

Interested?  Simply complete and return our Workplace BSL Training Needs Questionnaire to admin@wdda.co.uk.  With this information we will be able to suggest a course of suitable content, duration and cost.



Congratulations to our BSL Level 1 2017/18 learners!

With our 2018/19 Autumn Term classes now well under way it’s about time we gave a shout out to our BSL Level 1 learners who have now achieved their BSL Level 1 qualification.

A huge CONGRATULATIONS to all our learners on Stefy’s Level 1 class at Bournemouth Deaf Club and George’s Level 1 classes in Poole and Dorchester – we are over the moon to confirm that our 2017/18 BSL Level 1 courses achieved a magnificent 100% pass rate with just one successful resit.

Thank you to our fantastic tutors, Stefy and George, and to Lynn, Helen, Jas and Louise for their invaluable support at our classes and workshops to help get our learners assessment ready!

Good Luck to those of you continuing on your BSL learning journey with us.  It’s great to see so many of you moving on to BSL Level 2 and we look forward to seeing more of you at our upcoming BSL Workshops and future events.

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