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BSL - 10th year recognition anniversary

13 March 2013

In this anniversity year, the BDA is working to get politicians to focus again on BSL

This March sees ten years since the government first recognised British Sign Language as a UK minority language. Now the British Deaf Association (BDA) is working to get BSL back onto politicians' radar screens.

David Buxton, Chief Executive of the BDA, said,

"Ten years on from recognition, we need the government to re-engage with the many thousands of people who use British Sign Language, whether as their first language or alongside English. There are still too many barriers that prevent Deaf people from participating in, and contributing equally to, society."

"We must keep campaigning for a BSL Act to improve Deaf people's lives in the long term. In the short term, we must also campaign to get some specific improvements to Deaf people's lives. There are lots of changes that local authorities and health services could make - we will need a campaign on the ground as well as at Westminster."

"In this anniversary year, we want to work with the Deaf people across the country who are crying out for change. We want to give them the training and the campaigning tools to win improvements to services where they live."

On 18 March - ten years to the day from recognition of BSL - the BDA, together with the Royal Association for Deaf People (RAD) and Signature, is holding a reception at the House of Commons to talk to MPs and the government about what needs to happen next.

Numberous MPs, peers and charities will be attending. They will hear directly from deaf children and their families and from Deaf young people and adults.

Esther McVey MP, the Minister for Disabled People, will speak and take questions. The host will be Sir Malcolm Bruce MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness.

On 19 March - the BDA and the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at University College London (DCAL) are holding an evening seminar, "BSL Recognition: The Way Ahead". (For further information on the event, please click here.) Speakers will include David Buxton and leading Deaf academic Paddy Ladd.