In a huge blow to hopes of improving telecommunications access for Deaf sign language users, it has been announced that the VRS Today! campaign, which aimed to introduce universal video relay services in the UK, has today been suspended.
Despite the support of a range of deaf organisations, and “overwhelming support from the British Deaf community,” the statement on the website says that the campaign’s financial resources “have been exhausted” and “progress has been too slow.”
Here’s the statement below:
For the last two years, Sorenson Communications has funded the VRS Today! campaign for equal access to telecommunications for British Sign Language (BSL) users. During that time, the campaign has received overwhelming support from the British Deaf community, and its leading organisations. Most notably the campaign has benefited from collaboration with the UK Council on Deafness, TAG, National Deaf Childrens’ Society, and the British Deaf Association.
The campaign has made great progress, and has succeeded in raising awareness and putting equal access firmly on the Government’s agenda. However, progress has been too slow, therefore the campaign’s financial resources have been exhausted, and the VRS Today! campaign has ceased to operate.
We are hugely disappointed that the campaign’s ultimate objective of a universal Video Relay Service has not been achieved, however we are proud of the progress made. We are confident that the Deaf community will continue to fight tenaciously for the campaign’s objectives, and we hope that one day equal access will be delivered in the UK.
This website will close down on 9th August. For further information on the ongoing efforts of the Deaf community, please visit UKCoD’s website.
For more information, go to: http://www.vrstoday.com/2012/07/18/vrs-today-campaign-suspended/
The Limping Chicken is supported by Deaf media company Remark!, provider of sign language services Deaf Umbrella, training and consultancy Deafworks, the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Look, Smile Chat campaign, and the National Theatre’s captioned plays.
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out 7 things deaf people want you to know!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- BSL Zone: TV programmes in BSL for the Deaf community
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Hearing Choices: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people