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1 in 2 Deaf Londoners do not have access to advice in British Sign Language

New research carried out by the Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) – before the coronavirus crisis – suggests that just over half of Deaf people in London do not have access to advice in British Sign Language (BSL) in their Borough. The research project, which was funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA) as part of a Citizen-Led Engagement Programme, was carried out last year to identify gaps in accessible information and advice services for Deaf people in London.

Sue Mountford, joint CEO of the Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD), said: “At the heart of this research lies an important, yet simple, point about Deaf equality and access to services: an English hearing person living in London would never be expected to access information and advice in their second language – French, say – so why should a Deaf person, whose first language is BSL? This position is woefully unacceptable in 2020. We hope that RAD’s research, thanks to the support of the GLA and our wonderful volunteers, goes some way to highlighting the many injustices faced by Deaf people in society, and helps alert policymakers and commissioners to some of the key problems and solutions regarding accessible information and advice”

Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard said: “In the midst of a global pandemic, access to clear and accurate guidance is not only important, it is potentially life-saving. So it is extremely concerning that, before the outbreak of Covid-19, more than half of Deaf Londoners were struggling to obtain access to advice and support in BSL, including on Universal Credit and Brexit. It’s vital that more is done urgently to ensure that Deaf Londoners are getting the information they need.”

To view the full report, click here: Do Deaf Londoners have enough access to advice in BSL?

For BSL version, click here

If you are Deaf and would like to share your experiences – good or bad – of accessing information and advice in BSL in your area (be it London or elsewhere) please take 5 minutes to complete this survey.

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