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MP’s get ready for Deaf Awareness Week

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MP’s get ready for Deaf Awareness Week

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Published by HearFirst for HearFirst in Communities and also in Central Government, Education, Health, Local Government

Julie Ryder, Founder and Director of workplace training and consultancy company, HearFirst pictured with Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen who helped to organise bite-sized training sessions for MP’s at the House of Commons in support of Deaf Awa Julie Ryder, Founder and Director of workplace training and consultancy company, HearFirst pictured with Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen who helped to organise bite-sized training sessions for MP’s at the House of Commons in support of Deaf Awa

Members of Parliament (MP’s) have been showing their support for Deaf Awareness Week this week by attending bite-sized training sessions to understand the impact of deafness on people in their constituency and improve communications skills.

The sessions were held in the House of Commons on Wednesday (May 14) and were organised to co-incide with Deaf Awareness Week, a week-long campaign between 19th and 25th May. 

MP’s attended the sessions, which were delivered by HearFirst, a national award winning workplace training and consultancy company specialising in delivering Deaf, disability and British Sign Language (BSL) training.  The company was joined by fellow UK Council on Deafness (UKCoD) member, Sign Health at the event to help them promote their work to MP’s.

The sessions were championed by Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen to improve the understanding of the different types of deafness by highlighting the methods of communication used by deaf, deafened, deafblind and hard of hearing people, such as sign language and lipreading.

In 2012, HearFirst was awarded a contract to supply deaf awareness training to staff at the House of Commons and the company has organised a series of bite-sized training sessions for MP’s in the lead up to Deaf Awareness Week.

The event helped MP’s to improve their knowledge of deafness, broaden their understanding by meeting a range of people who are deaf and working and learn about the role and support that key organisations such as HearFirst and Sign Health can provide within their constituencies.

Julie Ryder, Director and Founder of HearFirst, said: “The aim of the training sessions was to raise awareness of deafness and provide MP’s with the knowledge and skills to help them make real changes for Deaf people within their constituencies.

“In the case of MP’s, it could mean being deaf aware during one-to-one meetings with constituents, making more formal meetings accessible and considering the needs of BSL users in written or web based materials.  

“Our deaf tutors guided MP’s through various scenarios which we hope will shift attitudes, provide an understanding and awareness of deafness enough to make real changes when they meet a deaf person.”

Jake Berry MP commented: “Taking part today has really helped me raise my awareness to the issues faced by people experiencing all types of deafness in my constituency.  It’s been great to take part and support Deaf Awareness Week.”

Now in its eleventh year, Deaf Awareness Week is co-ordinated by the UKCoD.  Hundreds of deaf charities and organisations across the UK will participate in a series of national and local events during the week.

Jim Edwards, Chair of the UKCoD, said: “UK Council on Deafness are delighted to be coordinating Deaf Awareness Week.  We have a new theme this year Equality in Communication for All! to help promote this year's campaign. This is a tremendous opportunity to celebrate the positive attitudes to deafness, seek social inclusion and raise awareness of the huge range of organisations both nationally and locally that champion greater deaf awareness and support deaf people and their family and friends.” 

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