BSL training improves communication for committee members
Published by HearFirst for HearFirst in Health and also in Care and Support, Communities, Education
Julie Ryder, Director of HearFirst
UACT, a Service User Group from Greater Manchester West (GMW) Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, are benefitting from a series of British Sign Language (BSL) training courses.
The group, which is a committee who work to help improve mental health and alcohol and drug services, are using the training sessions to improve their skills and confidence of working with BSL users.
The User Action Team (UACT) committee is a working partnership made up of service users and invited members of staff, which aims to work together to provide the best possible services.
The committee meets monthly to help improve mental health services and is learning the fundamental basics of BSL to welcome new service users to the group who may be BSL users.
The one-hour in-house bite-sized training sessions are being delivered by award winning workplace training and consultancy company, HearFirst and have already proved to be a big success with delegates.
Members of the committee are keen to learn new BSL skills and develop both their signing ability and deaf awareness generally. The training includes a general introduction to BSL and signs such as the alphabet, key words and phrases.
Feedback from members of the committee has been extremely positive with most of those attending stating that they are benefitting from these sessions. Commenting after the last training session, one member stated: “This training provides me with a great understanding of the difficulties faced by deaf people and how to communicate using signing”, whilst another explained, “I am really enjoying the team approach to learning and it is something new to me and I hope to be able to welcome new people to the meeting using sign language.”
The sessions were facilitated and delivered by HearFirst tutors, all are deaf themselves. The purpose of this is to add relevance and depth to the training and members commented that they are: “Very well organised and helpful. It is clear they are experienced in teaching hearing people awareness of the differences they may not perceive and how to address them tactfully and successfully.”
Joanne Wilson, UACT Chair, said: “As a Committee of service users/ex-service users of GMW it was a fantastic opportunity to learn the basics of BSL and all involved found it very easy to learn and fun to do. The tutors were very patient and helpful throughout, whilst getting each session delivered successfully. UACT sometimes has members whose first language is BSL, and it will be fantastic to be able to use their language to interact with them, even if just to say 'Hello, what's your name?' I know all participants thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the courses, and would recommend them to anyone.”
Julie Ryder, Director and Founder of HearFirst, said: “Our bite-sized training programmes are a great way for organisations to receive training and development. They offer flexibility and provide opportunities for committee members and service users to gain knowledge over several sessions.
“The programme we have put together for UACT allows us to raise awareness of deafness and the basic knowledge of how to communicate with a deaf person. Everybody has really embraced the sessions and are enjoying learning the signs and developing their knowledge about deafness. By introducing the User Action Team to basic signs, it will help them to engage with BSL users in future.”
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 www.hearfirst.org.uk