A six-year campaign to enhance access to public services across Ayrshire for people using British Sign Language is now underway. The Ayrshire Shared British Sign Language (BSL) Local Plan 2018-24 is a partnership between Ayrshire College; East, North and South Ayrshire Councils; East, North and South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnerships; and NHS Ayrshire & Arran.
The Scottish Government wants Scotland to be the best place in the world for BSL users to live, learn, work and visit. This means that people whose first or preferred language is BSL will be fully involved in daily and public life, as active, healthy citizens, and will be able to make informed choices about every aspect of their lives.
The Ayrshire Shared Plan sets out what partners will do to support BSL users in Ayrshire, covering early years and education; training and work; health, mental health and wellbeing; transport; culture and the arts; justice and democracy. It describes the actions the eight partners will take between 2018-24, including:
- Improving access to a wide range of information and public services in BSL
- Investigating the level of BSL of teachers and support staff in schools
- Enabling parents who use BSL to be fully involved in their child's education
- Improving the experience of students who use BSL, when they move from school to college, university, training and the world of work
- Improving access to health care and mental health services in BSL
- Removing obstacles to BSL users participating.
Helen Morgans-Wenhold, Local Authority Lead, British Deaf Association welcomed the move as a positive step, "The Ayrshire Shared BSL Plan places the region in a great position for promoting access and inclusion for Deaf BSL users. We congratulate Ayrshire for involving BSL users in all levels from the start to the end. We wish you great success for the next six years."
Ayrshire Shared British Sign Language (BSL) Local Plan 2018-2024 is available here.