‘Make it Clear!’ Campaign Launch

Wiltshire and Dorset Deaf Association is pleased to announce the launch of our new ‘Make it Clear!’ Campaign to get clear panel face masks in to circulation to help prevent further barriers to communication for the d/Deaf and HoH community. 

We are working with NooN Masks & Apparel to distribute an initial supply of clear face panel masks (along with details of how to go about ordering more directly) to local businesses and service providers to help raise awareness of the communication issues caused by the wearing of face masks.

A supply of clear face panel masks will also go on sale (at a heavily subsidised price) direct to members of the d/Deaf and HoH community who need them for themselves and/or family members.  Please email admin@wdda.co.uk to register your interest and/or pre-order.

Join us in a VE Day 75 ‘Sign a Long’ at 9pm!

To mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day this nation has been invited to take part in a singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s wartime classic, ‘We’ll meet again’ that will be broadcast on BBC 1 at 9pm on Friday 8th May.

As we face some of the most challenging times since the end of the Second World War, now more than ever it is important to come together and unite.

Thanks to members of our award winning sign choir Significance, St Clement’s Signs in Worship Group and Sign Language students from Skills and Learning (Blandford) we will be giving you the chance to ‘Sign a Long’!  You can join us in your home at 9pm on Friday 8th May.  The signed video performance will also be broadcast on our Facebook page.

Signs in Worship

St Clements Signs In Worship Group (SCSW) was established in 2015 in an attempt to provide a uniform platform for using signs and gestures in worship, particularly for contemporary church music introduced by the musicians of the Worship Band led by Colin Crabb, who lead the family services here twice a month.

Jesus be the Centre performed by St Clements Signs in Worship Group

The group currently has 7 members led by George Raggett, a Trustee of Wiltshire and Dorset Deaf Association (WDDA), who has been teaching British Sign Language for 18 years and was encouraged to introduce signing in worship by Stuart Dimes, a curate at the time and also a BSL student of George’s back in 2002.

However it was only when WDDA established their signing choir, Significance in 2010 with Isobel Heaton, Evelyn Riggs and George from St Clements as founder members, that signing in worship became a regular occurrence for special services at Christmas and Summer Concerts in aid of Romanian Orphanages attending holiday camps at the House of Grace.

Significance have been competing at the annual Jersey Eisteddfod of Performing Arts since 2012 where Sign Choirs from around the UK are invited to perform 2 contrasting pieces.  Inspired by some of the contemporary church music introduced by the worship band at St Clements, the choir always included one in their performance.  In 2015 they performed a firm favourite at St Clements, “10,000 Reasons”, by Matt Readman and were thrilled to be judged overall winners of the Sign Choir section.  They have since gone from strength to strength and were winners again in 2017.

St Clements Signs in Worship group FB Page

The SCSW group has 4 members who are hard of hearing and are joined for practices by supporters who attend other local churches where signing is also used.  Though St Clements is not regularly visited by profoundly deaf people who use BSL as their first language, preferring instead to worship at their own churches, they do come for the special services.  The clergy, Worship Band and congregation at St Clements are very supportive of the extra dimension the group brings to worship and all are encouraged to join in.  We love signing songs together, using everything but our voice to express ourselves and glorify God and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

During the enforced closure of St Clements due to the Social Distancing measures introduced to combat the spread of Coronavirus, the group have been meeting up once a week on Tuesday morning using online video links to sign songs to share via social media, read scripture and pray for the needs of the world.  We would welcome anyone interested, to join us at any time, now or in the future – you do not need to have previous experience of signing.  Founder member Jan Clark and Sally Pierce both joined when they first began learning Sign Language and quickly made huge contributions to both SCSW and Significance choirs, just as our two newest recruits, Michelle Merrell and Roland Newborn are doing since they joined.  So come on…..

‘Raise your hands all you nations, sign to God the whole creation, how awesome is the Lord most high!’   

Changes amidst the Covid-19 pandemic

Wiltshire and Dorset Deaf Association is working hard to keep our learners and teaching staff safe from the Coronavirus during these unprecedented times.

We have responded to the Covid-19 crisis by moving all of our BSL (British Sign Language) courses online in order to minimise the disruption to our BSL Conversation Class and our Level 1, 2 and 3 qualification courses.  We’ve launched our BSL classes in a virtual format and will be providing online courses instead of our usual face-to-face courses for the foreseeable future.

We understand that disruption to regular classes and the cancellation of exams will be unsettling for many of our learners.  As with any other language, it is important for learners to practise their BSL skills on a regular basis.  Thanks to our awarding body, Signature Deaf,  we have been able to offer all our Level 1, 2 and 3 learners FREE access to a comprehensive online library of video clips and support materials to help learners understand the assessments, develop vocabulary linguistics skills, and practice receptive BSL skills from wherever they are.  BSLHomework is accessible 24 hours a day on a range of devices.

THANK YOU to our BSL Tutors, Stefy and Lynn, and our current cohort of students for your commitment, resilience and willingness to adapt at this uncertain and worrying time enabling us to keep classes running throughout this health crisis.

We are also looking at the new possibilities open to us at this time.  With schools closed and families forced to stay at home we are launching an online BSL Family Signing Class for parents/carers with children aged 10+ who are interested in learning BSL together.  Sessions will run online on a Monday evening 6-8pm for 10 weeks starting on Monday 6th April 2020.  Thanks to George and Louise for coming together to offer this new class.

Stay at home.  Protect our NHS.  Save lives.

 

Communicating in a health crisis

With the UK now on lockdown it is more important than ever that people who are d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing are able to effectively communicate with others in order to access essential services and reduce feelings of isolation.
 
InterpreterNow is an online service that enables Deaf and hearing people to communicate with each other: https://interpreternow.co.uk/
 
If you’re a support worker now having to work from home, concerned about how to maintain contact with vulnerable clients at this time, this article from Action on Hearing Loss should also help you.

Coronavirus and our Classes

In light of the new Government guidelines on social distancing we have made the decision to cancel all planned “Sign’n Time” Baby & Child Signing Sessions for the time being and postpone the launch of our new Family Signing Class.  New dates will be scheduled once it is considered safe for us to do so.

We are ALL now being advised to avoid non-essential use of public transport and to reduce our social interaction with other people to help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).  With this in mind, it would be irresponsible for us to continue our face-to-face, group classes that currently run at Bournemouth Deaf Club and Beaufort Community Centre.

We are keen to minimise the disruption to our BSL Level 1, 2 and 3 qualification courses whilst keeping our learners and teaching staff safe from the Coronavirus.  We are currently exploring methods of delivering our classes remotely via video conferencing and the use of online learning resources.

In the event of us having to cancel classes we will communicate with learners via email.  Regular updates will also be shared on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Wiltshire-Dorset-Deaf-Association-206004556119497/ and here on our website.

We understand this is a very worrying time for many of us, particularly older people, women who are pregnant and those who have a respiratory or compromised health condition.  If you are concerned please look to reliable sources of information and advice:

Visit the NHS 111 coronavirus advice website NHS 111 Online – About coronavirus (COVID-19) or make a video call via https://interpreternow.co.uk/nhs111

The Department of Health and Social Care website is being updated daily with guidance and what the government is doing about the virus.

Thank you for your understanding.

Stay safe and stay well.

 

WDDA launch NEW Baby & Child Signing Sessions!

 

Wiltshire and Dorset Deaf Association is pleased to introduce NEW Baby & Child Signing sessions in Dorchester AND Bournemouth!

The sessions are open to all ages, mums/dads/carers and pre school children particularly welcome.

Have fun learning some basic signs used at home and sign a simple song or two using British Signing Language (BSL) signs.

If you are interested in attending our FREE Taster Session in Dorchester on Monday 24 February please click on the link to register online.  http://www.123formbuilder.com/form-5247990/booking-form

If you are interested in attending our FREE Taster Session in Bournemouth on Thursday 27 February please click on the link to register online. http://www.123formbuilder.com/form-5259693/booking-form-bournemouth

 

If you would prefer to print off a registration form please contact admin@wdda.co.uk

BOOKING ESSENTIAL!

“Deaf people can do anything that hearing people can do…except hear.”

Freya is  a 6th form student at Bournemouth School for Girls (BSG) who we had the pleasure of working with to achieve her 101 BSL qualification.  She has set up her own BSL Lunch Club at the school for all year groups to practice and develop their own skills in using Sign Language, with continued support from WDDA, for those who want to pursue a qualification.   She is a wonderful ambassador and role model for deaf and hearing students alike.  Read her inspiring message below:

My Advice to Those like Me:

There is a quote by Frederick C. Schreiber that says “deaf people can do anything that hearing people can do…except hear”.  This has always been an important reminder to me that no matter what happens to my hearing, I can still achieve what I wish to.  I look at myself now, and I am Deputy Head Girl at my School, I represent Dorset on the NCS Regional Youth board, I volunteer with various groups, I passed my GCSE’s and am now onto my A levels, and not once did my hearing get in the way of that.  So if anybody ever tells you that there is something you can’t do because of your hearing, my best advice would be, ignore them, push past them and prove them wrong, because they have no idea what they are talking about.  Only you can decide where you want to go with your life.  Your body consists of 206 bones, over 600 muscles, 11 organ systems and 37.2 trillion cells.  You are made up of so much more than just your ears, so in no way will your hearing define who you are or who you want to be unless you want it to.  Embrace yourself, ears and all, because there is only one version of you out there, and it is the most perfect one there is.

– Freya Pretty

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

Join us for some Festive Fun this Saturday at Bournemouth Deaf Club!

CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PARTY | SATURDAY | 2-4PM | FREE!

Join us at Bournemouth Deaf Club on Saturday 21 December for an afternoon of festive fun!

This event is open to ALL families and children, d/Deaf and hearing.

We’ll have entertainment in the form of an interactive magic show courtesy of The Magical Storybox, FREE face painting and glitter tattoos with the fabulous Diamond Faces, children’s Christmas craft activities, the chance to join our Junior Sign Choir ‘Signettes’ in a seasonal ‘Sign-a-Long’, refreshments and…. we’ve just had news that the children might even be lucky enough to get a special visit from the Big Man himself… FATHER CHRISTMAS!

The event runs from 2-4pm. Free to attend although any donations will be gratefully received on the day.

Bournemouth Deaf Club is fully accessible.  Toilets available.  There is free on street parking.  The nearest bus stop is just a 5 minute walk away on Christchurch Road (outside The Bell pub).  The nearest train station is Pokesdown, a short walk from the Club.

 

  • JustGiving