Deaf News: City of York gives residents chance to access services in BSL

Posted on July 7, 2017

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City of York Council has made it easier for members of the city’s Deaf community to access services in BSL.

A new video interpreting service – called ‘InterpretersLive!’ – has being launched. It means Deaf customers, who communicate using British Sign Language (BSL), will be able to contact the council through a BSL Sign Language interpreter.

Visitors to York’s customer services centre at West Offices will have immediate access to an interpreter with no prior appointment required.

People who do not wish, or are unable to, travel will be able to use the service face-to-face from the comfort of their own home, using a video relay system.

The new interpretation service means Deaf customers will have the same access to customer services as a hearing person would.

The council says it hopes the addition of a BSL interpreter will make life easier for people who traditionally, may have struggled to get help and support.

The council also says that if residents would like to communicate with the council, but are not a BSL user, to come in and see us and they will arrange appropriate communication support.

Councillor David Carr, council leader and executive councillor with responsibility for customer services, said:

“I’m so pleased that we are now able to offer this new translation service. “We have already achieved an ‘excellence’ rating in the local government equalities framework, but we wanted to do even more to improve access to services.

“I want York’s Deaf community to feel confident when they need to contact us. “The face-to-face interpretation service, or the fact someone can make a call from home using the video relay service means there is real equality.”

Members of the Deaf community are invited to attend an event at West Offices on 20th July between 11.00 am and 1.00 pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to see how this service will work and, to join together to celebrate the launch of this service.

If you use the service before the launch event, the council would welcome your feedback to help inform future improvements to the way this service is delivered.

The quickest and easiest way to register for the event is by signing up using this Eventbrite link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/british-sign-language-video-relay-interpretation-servicetickets-35533901857 . Or you can book at the council’s West Offices.

The BSL interpretation service is being provided by Sign Solutions. Sean Nicholson, CEO of Sign Solutions says:

“I am delighted City of York Council has taken these initiatives. It is important that the Deaf community feel confident in accessing the whole range of council services, and to be able to make a call from home using the video relay service means they have real equality”.

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Posted in: deaf news