Deaf community set to benefit from new Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council initiatives

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is taking steps to make communication and access to services easier for deaf residents and visitors.

A new pilot scheme is being introduced at Council’s four Civic Offices in Ballycastle, Ballymoney, Coleraine and Limavady which will allow deaf people to independently communicate with hearing people via a British Sign Language interpreter in real time on a video relay system.

This dedicated sign language service is a positive change which aims to provide equality in the way deaf people communicate and access council services.

Working closely with SignVideo, Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users living or visiting the area can avail of the new Video Relay Interpreting Service (VRS) which allows them to video call free of charge via a link on the Council website. The service connects to a BSL interpreter who then phones the Council to relay the conversation in real time.

Welcoming the initiative, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor Sean Bateson said: “We’re delighted to be working with SignVideo to offer this invaluable interpreting service. Ultimately we want to make communication easy for everyone and this is certainly a very positive step in ensuring we achieve this. It places equality at the centre of customer services for residents and visitors alike.”

The facility is also available remotely – Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). This means that deaf people can have a face-to-face conversation with a hearing person, such as a Council officer, relayed by a BSL interpreter. This allows the service to be used in short notice situations, or for straight forward meetings and enquiries.

As well as this, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is making it easier for deaf residents and visitors to make contact and access services online. Council has worked with Deafblind UK, a national charity supporting people with sight and hearing loss, to produce a number of BSL videos to provide guidance and support to those who want to use services, including bin collections, recycling, leisure services and events.

The pilot SignVideo scheme will run for a period of 12 months and Council will monitor uptake and gather feedback during that time.

To use the service or for more information go to www.causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk/signvideo

Download the app by searching “SignVideo” on the Apple or Play app store or by clicking the SignVideo link on the menu bar on Council’s website home page.

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