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.

 

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.

 

 

AFCB Match Day Support Services Assistant (BSL)

AFC Bournemouth are looking to recruit Match Day Support Services Assistants with a BSL Level 2 qualification (or equivalent) to help improve the match day experience for their d/Deaf and hard of hearing football fans.

WDDA is keen to support this initiative and are working closely with AFC Bournemouth to help make the club more inclusive.  On 15th September 2019 WDDA trustees George Raggett and Keith Simmons, along with a small group of football fans from the local d/Deaf and hard of hearing community, were invited to attend the Vitality Stadium to watch the AFC Bournemouth vs Everton match and given the opportunity to provide feedback on the overall experience of accessibility for Deaf people with diverse communication needs.  We are also looking to offer BSL and communication tactics training with an aim of equipping their match day team with simple tips and the confidence to maximise the success of their first encounter with a deaf or deafblind person.

You can download a Job Description here: AFCB Supporter Services Assistant JD (573 downloads)   If you think this role might be for you please contact admin@wdda.co.uk

 

No Subtitles in Real Life

Please show your support for this inspirational team of young people, part of the NCS – National Citizen Service​: ‘No Subtitles in Real Life’ based in Weymouth, Dorset and sign their petition to make basic sign language a requirement in customer services.

To help raise awareness for people with hearing difficulties the team will be organising a march through Weymouth Town Centre, Dorset on 30 July 2019 where they will introduce members of the public to some basic British Sign Language.

Do you think sign language should become a basic requirement? If so, sign NOW!
Remember: There are no subtitles in real life.

https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-customer-service-workers-have-a-basic-understanding-of-bsl

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