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Local Council Election - 2/05/13

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Dear canvasser

Thank you for calling.

I am a Deaf person and would like you to communicate with me in my preferred language – British Sign Language (BSL) – to tell me about your Party and your ideas for improving this area.

Can you?

If not, please can you ask someone who uses BSL to visit me again?

I would particularly like to know two things:

  • What will your Party do to ensure Deaf people living here can access council services and information?
  • What will your Party do to enable Deaf people to be part of the political process locally?


The best day and time to call round are  …………………………………………………………………………………………….………..……………………………………

Thank you again. 

See below for some facts about Deaf people who use British Sign Language.

Some facts about Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL)

  • Deaf people are distinct from people who have hearing loss. People with hearing loss often cannot use BSL and often can speak and hear with assisted devices. 
  • Up to 150,000 Deaf people in the UK use British Sign language (BSL). Their families and friends also often use some BSL. 
  • Public ignorance and a lack of interpreters mean that Deaf BSL users encounter daily communication barriers – at schools and college, in hospitals and GP surgeries, in shops and at work. 

As a result:

  • They can’t get jobs. Four times as many Deaf people are unemployed as hearing people (19% versus 5%).
  • They receive poorer support from local authorities. Nearly half (46%) of local authorities do not have social workers qualified to work with deaf children and their families, and nearly three in ten (28.3%) do not have any employees qualified to work with Deaf adults and/or deaf children. 
  • Their healthcare suffers. 70% of Deaf BSL users admitted to A&E units are not provided with a BSL/English interpreter to enable them to communicate their needs. 67% of Deaf BSL users who visit hospital for non-emergency care find it difficult to communicate with NHS staff.
  • Their education suffers. Over half of deaf children (55%) do not achieve the expected level for English and Maths at Key Stage 2. Nearly two-thirds (64%) do not achieve the expected level for the 3 Rs at Key Stage 2.

Sources: Mori, National Deaf Children’s Society, University of Manchester, Scottish Council on Deafness

Produced by the British Deaf Association and Deaf volunteers campaigning for change. Please visit our website on www.bda.org.uk and “Spit the Dummy” on Facebook.