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.