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Council supports Deaf Awareness Week

Published: 15/05/2017

Flintshire County Council is supporting this year’s Deaf Awareness Week which runs from 15 to 21 May. Deaf Awareness Week celebrates collaborative work that has made a difference for people who are deaf or have a hearing loss. Promoted by the UK Council on Deafness, Deaf Awareness Week is an opportunity to raise awareness that 1 in 6 people in the UK are deaf or have a hearing loss. Flintshire County Council supports people who are hard of hearing or profoundly deaf. One of the objectives of our Strategic Equality Plan is to make it easy to access all our services, which includes providing sign language interpreters. Flintshire’s Corporate Business and Communications Executive Officer, Karen Armstrong, said: “As part of our commitment to have deaf awareness training for our employees, we organised a training session for six employees to learn about fingerspelling. The basics of how to sign was provided by representatives from the Centre of Sign-Sight-Sound (COS) who spent a morning with our employees who now have a wider set of skills to provide more accessible services.” Fingerspelling is a method of spelling words using hand movements. The fingerspelling alphabet is used in sign language to spell out names of people and places for which there is not a sign. British Sign Language (BSL) uses a two-handed alphabet however some other sign languages, such as American Sign Language (ASL), use a one-handed alphabet. Centre of Sign-Sight-Sound is a Welsh charity which was founded locally by the Deaf community of North Wales. With a purpose of improving quality of life through equality, the charity now supports deaf, deafened, hard of hearing, deaf/blind people and people living with sensory loss across the whole of Wales as well as their family, friends, carers, colleagues and the services and organisations that support them. Members of the UK Council on Deafness and others have united behind a common purpose and work is ongoing to: · raise awareness; · improve access to education and employment; · make sure people have the information they need; · inform government and the public about deafness and hearing loss; · support the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness; · educate people about the importance of preventing hearing loss; and · improve the quality of services for people who are deaf or have a hearing loss. Craig Crowley, Chair of the UK Council on Deafness, said: “This year’s Deaf Awareness Week is ‘A Celebration’ of collaboration and working together on a joint campaign for the benefit of people who are deaf or have a hearing loss.”