Deaf BSL users are a linguistic and cultural minority and have a history of social exclusion due to poor public awareness of sign language, Deaf issues and Deaf culture. This is compounded by the lack of information and services that are accessible in BSL. This can have particularly serious consequences for their health, self-esteem and well being. For example, Deaf people between the ages of 25 and 45 are four times more likely to be unemployed than hearing people.

Both local and national campaigns teams, mainly led by our community workers and volunteers, continued to generate media coverage of the Deaf community’s views on subjects such as legal status for BSL, cochlear implants, genetics and the education of deaf children. The BDA also lobbied national and local Government too.


We want to work with:

  • Deaf individuals, clubs and groups to provide case stories and/or evidence, encourage them to meet their local MPs and Councillors to discuss their own issues and lack of access and support;

  • Key academic researchers to produce Deaf related research and/or policy documents;

  • Local Authorities and Public Providers to sign the BDA’s BSL Charter;

  • Key MPs and Peers to be more supportive of Deaf people’s needs, such as legalising BSL as a language equal to Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Cornish;

  • Ministers and Civil Servants to improve equality, access and support for Deaf people.

2013-14 Highlights:

  • Listened to Deaf people’s concerns over the Access to Work changes that are affecting their jobs.

  • Published the Access to Work Consultation Report and 30 Hours Rule Report.

  • Nearly 300 Deaf constituents from different parts of the UK attended the BDA’s Deaf Lobby Day at Westminster Hall; meeting their local MPs. One of the key results was that one MP tabled an Early Day Motion about Access to Work the next day.

  • Published and launched a 104 page discussion paper on Legal Status for BSL at the BDA’s BSL Symposium in March 2014.

Future Plans:

  • Continue to persuade more Public Authorities to sign the BDA’s BSL Charter which will bring them closer to local Deaf groups, and help improve services to Deaf people.

  • Produce a UK “Shadow Report” to the United Nations (UN) on the UNCRPD.

  • Produce the BDA’s Manifesto which will help Deaf individuals and local groups to meet prospective MPs during the General Election.