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Glasgow City Council

Council publishes plan to increase access and support for British Sign Language users

The six year plan that was devised in conjunction with a number of deaf organisations and consultation with BSL users takes steps to ensure that BSL users can fully participate in all aspects of daily and public life, in Glasgow.

This includes directly addressing the needs of BSL users and removing barriers that they face when trying to access public services, information, and employment and social security services, such as lack of interpreters and information not being available in different formats.

It also looks to support the uptake of BSL as an additional language in schools, providing deaf awareness and BSL training to council staff, encouraging BSL users to contribute to civic life, improving access to mental health and health care services and promoting BSL role models.

One of the action plan's commitments is already underway as the main consultees on the plan have been asked to volunteer to join a reference group that will work closely with the council on progressing the action plan.

Following approval by the City Administration Committee today, a BSL version of the plan will be made available on the council website and YouTube channel by the end of November.

Based on data from 2011, it is thought that there are around 1700 BSL users in Glasgow. However, as part of the action plan these figures will be updated and will be increase once the number of people who use BSL to support D/deaf people e.g. parents and carers of D/deaf children are included.

Councillor Jennifer Layden, city convenor for equalities and human rights, said: "There is sometimes an assumption that BSL users also understand and use English but this isn't always the case.

"BSL is a language in its own right, with its own grammar and vocabulary and we need to recognise this when producing information and providing services to BSL users.

"Publishing our first ever BSL action plan is a major step forward in supporting this group that face significant barriers to accessing information and services that most of us take for granted.

"It also encouraging to note that there was a good proportion of responses from council staff interested to learn BSL a an additional language which we'll follow up as part of the plan."

BSL version of action plan

More information on the Scottish Government's national action plan for BSL can be found here:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/british-sign-language-bsl-national-plan-2017-2023/

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