BSL language The BSL charter Latest news and updates A historic moment Nottinghamshire’s signature secures complete BSL Charter coverage in the area – improving equality for Deaf people. BDA’s Empowerment & Campaigns Officer, Robin Ash reports 2014 was a successful year in the East Midlands for BSL Charter signings, with Nottinghamshire County Council and Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust the final two to sign. The Deaf community were invited to Nottinghamshire County Hall on 10 December, along with Council officers to witness the Council commit to the BSL Charter. The Nottinghamshire Deaf Wellbeing Action Group, senior council and councillors, spoke about their support for the BSL Charter and reaffirmed their commitment to improving the quality of access and services for Deaf people. Their efforts were applauded by BDA Chair, Dr Terry Riley OBE, who gave a speech proceeding the signature.Nottinghamshire County Council’s signature marks total coverage of BSL Charter signings in the Nottingham/Nottinghamshire area – a historic moment. DERBYSHIRENext stop on the BSL Charter campaign trail was Derbyshire, and specifically Belper, where Derbyshire Community Health Service NHS Foundation Trust is based. Key Deaf community leaders were invited to attend the Trust’s board meeting, where the BDA’s BSL Charter was signed. For the first time, people joined together from three separate Deaf forums, including North Derbyshire Deaf Forum, Derby Deaf Forum and Leicester Deaf Forum. Amongst its many services, Derbyshire Community Health promotes general health and wellbeing and the BSL Charter provides an opportunity to address the inequalities in this area. As one of the largest health care providers in Derbyshire, the BSL Charter will have a significantly positive impact on staff providing services, helping improve Deaf awareness and provide better support to the local Deaf community. BLACKPOOL COUNCIL AGREES TO SIGN BSL CHARTER Blackpool has committed to signing BDA’s BSL Charter. Cllr John Jones (pictured), Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for equalities, said: “I’m delighted the Executive have agreed to sign the charter and support the five pledges. “We will now work closely with the Deaf community to communicate our plans for improving services and ensuring the pledges are followed through.” Damian Barry, BDA’s Director of Community Development and Operations stated: “We are delighted that Blackpool Council have taken this step at a time of austerity which shows their commitment to ensuring all residents have full access to their services. “We very much hope that this sends out a signal to other Northern councils that the Deaf community needs to be included and not excluded.” Lancashire Deaf Services now send their Wellbeing Officer to work from the Council’s Customer First Centre every Thursday. The officer is a BSL user and will help Deaf and Hard of Hearing people to access Council services.