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BSL training aims to improve children’s experience


Published by HearFirst for HearFirst in Communities and also in Education, Health

Group leaders from Robinwood Activity Centres have benefitted from BSL training by HearFirst Group leaders from Robinwood Activity Centres have benefitted from BSL training by HearFirst

Group leaders from an activity centre that provides residential activities to primary school children have attended basic British Sign Language (BSL) training to improve the experience for deaf children.

Two groups of leaders from Robinwood Activity Centres attended a one day in-house training course to learn new BSL skills and develop their signing ability and deaf awareness in general.  It also aimed to inspire and motivate staff to continue their professional development.

The training, which was delivered by award winning workplace training and consultancy company, HearFirst included a general introduction to BSL and signs such as the alphabet, key words and phrases.

Training was delivered to leaders from all three of Robinwood’s activity centres which are located in Alston, Cumbria and two at Todmorden in Lancashire. These popular centres provide high quality adventure and teamwork residential courses to children aged between 7 and 11 years old.

Highly trained group leaders support small groups of children through fifteen different quality activity sessions, which include everything from archery and canoeing to raft building and zip wire challenges.  All three centres provide activity programmes over a three day course.

Feedback from the leaders has been extremely positive.  Group leader, Phil Dickinson commented: “The knowledge gained will aid us in including deaf children in our activities, ensuring they are safe and welcomed at Robinwood.”

Another leader commented, “We can be much more confident making children comfortable in what could be a challenging environment.”

The sessions were facilitated and delivered by HearFirst tutors who are all are deaf themselves. The purpose of this is to add relevance and depth to the training and Julie Ryder, Director and Founder of HearFirst, said: “The staff at Robinwood took to BSL really naturally.  They are used to a hands on approach with their work and are all confident communicators too.

“An added bonus for many participants was the insight into deaf awareness and deaf culture that our deaf tutors were able to provide.  Their level of commitment was impressive, with many staff even attending the training on their day off.   

“With staff better equipped with increased knowledge, understanding and skills, I am in no doubt that this training will make a huge difference to all children with all levels of hearing loss attending Robinwood residential courses.”

Anna Rogers, HR Manager said, “As a company, Robinwood are committed to giving children the very best experiences on their visits and to developing our staff to the highest level. HearFirst courses provide us with a valuable insight into BSL and deaf awareness. The courses run by HearFirst are always popular with our staff and this was no exception.”

HearFirst provides a full range of equality & diversity training courses to organisations across the UK. For more information on Deaf, disability awareness and BSL training, please contact Julie at HearFirst on 01706 872 816 or visit


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