BSL users need better support

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BSL users can struggle to access normal public services.

The Government is being urged to do more to promote British Sign Language (BSL) and support its users.

Ten years after the Government officially recognised BSL as a language in its own right, the deafness charities Signature, the British Deaf Association and the Royal Association for Deaf People are calling for MPs to sign an early day motion which proposes a responsible named minister for BSL and a fresh report on the subject.

While there has been an improvement in support for BSL users over the last 10 years, research by the charities suggests that users still find it hard to access health, education and employment services because of a lack of interpreters and public awareness.

The charities believe that a new government report is needed to establish a coordinated, cross-departmental strategy to improve support and services for BSL users at local and national levels.

“We hope that the next ten years will bring greater support and recognition for British Sign Language users but we need the support of local authorities and health services to achieve this”, said Jim Edwards, Chief Executive of Signature.

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