Sign language tutor says government cuts are destroying her business

Posted on June 3, 2013

In an article in the Sunday Mirror, BSL tutor Sandra Duguid has told the paper’s Carole Malone about how the government’s cuts programme means her business is about to be “snatched away by a bunch of faceless bureaucrats.”

Sandra Duguid doesn’t want to cry. It’s not her style. But as she fixes me with clear blue eyes and talks about the destr­uction of her life’s work, the tears come. And they won’t stop.

“For as long as I can remember I’ve had to fight for what I want,” she says, looking away embarrassed by the ­emotions she can no longer control.

“But I don’t think I have any fight left in me. I’ve always been proud of the fact I’m a fighter, a survivor, a worker, but now I just feel like giving up,” says the woman for whom “giving up” has never been an option.

The article describes how Duguid has built up her BSL teaching business over many years but now finds it under threat because of cuts to the amount of Access to Work support she gets.

She says: “If the small amount of funding I get is stopped, my business BSLworks will collapse and hundreds of people who depend on me will be denied the chance to learn to communicate with each other.”

Her business is already under threat, having made just £6,000 profit last year. She uses Access to Work ‘to pay BSL interpreters, communication support workers and a firm, Signvideo, which helps her to answer emails and phone calls.’

But she says: “Now my funding is being cut I can only hire two interpreters for three hours in a whole month, and to pay for that I would have to triple my course fees. The people I teach could never afford that so I just don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Read the full article here:

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