Update on changes to CfD services due to the Coronavirus

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BSL video with update on changes to CfD services in response to the Coronavirus

Our biggest responsibility is to protect the health and safety of our community – both clients and staff.  In order to reduce exposure to the Coronavirus we have made some changes to CfD services. We have adapted our way of working so that we can work effectively from home. We will continue to do this for the foreseeable future as the best way of keeping everyone safe.

The CfD office and equipment resource room are closed to the public

Our office and equipment resource room will remain closed for the time being but we are all now working from home and we are still here for you. We can be contacted by phone, SMS text message, video call or email if needed – full details are on the Contact page of our website.

Our equipment team are offering assessments and advice remotely

Due to the need for social distancing we are not able to make home visits at the moment. However, our equipment officers are still available to offer support and now offer assessments and advice remotely. This means they can talk about any equipment needs via phone and email or via video call on Skype or Zoom.

If you would like an assessment or need to discuss any problems with your equipment such as your phone, doorbell or TV listener, please contact us and we will arrange a remote appointment with one of our officers.

We are holding a weekly coffee morning online

We now meet for an online coffee morning every week via the video platform Zoom. This is from 10.30am every Tuesday morning and please click here for further information about the meeting and how to join us on Zoom. Hoping to see many of you there!

CfD AGM postponed

With advice from the Charity Commission and the Government we have made the decision to postpose our AGM from April until September/October. Our accounts are now live and you can view them on the Charity Commission website.

Useful resources

We’ve put together this list of links to useful sources of information and support related to Coronavirus for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

We will keep in touch with any updates to CfD services, Local Authority support or advice on keeping safe. Please keep an eye on our website as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages for further information.

Stay safe and if you have any questions please contact us by phone on 0117 9398653, by SMS text or Facetime on 07749 313085 or by email.

Where Is the Interpreter campaign

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We are supporting a campaign to ask the Prime Minister for equal access to communications regarding the Coronavirus.

The campaign was originally started by Lynn Stewart-Taylor on her Twitter handle @jerseysnail. She launched the #WhereIsTheInterpreter hashtag on social media asking the Prime Minister’s office to provide a BSL English Interpreter live at televised national addresses during the COVID-19 crisis. You can find an excellent interview with Lynn Stewart-Taylor about why she started the campaign on the Hear Me Out website.

There are more than 80,000 Deaf people in the UK for whom British Sign Language (BSL) is their first language, before English. It is essential that they have information in BSL so that they know what is going on at this time of national crisis and understand the actions everyone is being asked to take to stay safe.

Many Deaf organisations have taken up the cause and this has developed into a legal challenge to the government on behalf of AK, an 85-year Deaf BSL user. The legal team, Fry Law, are launching a Judicial Review application and there is now a Crowd Justice appeal to fund this vital legal work.

Please see this Crowd Justice page for full information about the fundraising appeal and how to donate. Please share with friends and family and support this campaign to remind the Government that everyone matters. One of the people that contributed to the case said “BSL is our first language. Please give us access to information, support us, protect us. We matter too.”

Useful resources for support during the Coronavirus outbreak

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We’ve put together a list of links to useful sources of information and support related to Coronavirus for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
There is a lot of support out there and please know you’re not alone.
We’ll keep updating this list and if you know of any websites and resources that could be added, please send them to us by email at

Advice and information about Coronavirus

Coronavirus information videos in BSL.

NHS 111 for BSL users
Interpreter Now site for BSL users to contact NHS 111 if you have symptoms or any concerns about your health.

NHS advice
NHS website with information about Coronavirus and all the latest advice about looking after your health and how to stop the infection spreading. (English only, no BSL)

Government guidelines on Coronavirus
Government website with guidelines on Coronavirus and advice on a range of matters such as employment concerns and school closures.
(English only, no BSL)

Deaf UK Coronavirus website
A new website set up by Jen Dodds and other volunteers to make Coronavirus information more accessible for Deaf BSL users.

Local services

We Are Bristol Coronavirus hotline
A free telephone hotline run by Bristol City Council for anyone concerned about feeling isolated or needing help to get food, essential items or medicine. Deaf BSL users can contact the hotline via a BSL Interpreter using SignVideo. If you prefer to use a text relay service you can download the NGT lite app and ring the Council on the hotline number as normal and the app will convert your text to speech for the call handler.

Bristol City Council’s Sensory Impairment Team
Information on changes to their service during the Coronavirus outbreak and how to access support in BSL by video.

Adult Audiology in Bristol
Information on what is available through Adult Audiology’s reduced service and how to arrange appointments for any essential repairs to your hearing aids.

Age UK Coronavirus Support Hub
A support hub for older people in Bristol and their families. The hub provides a range of support for older people including practical support via a helpline, emotional support and virtual activities.

Online support

BSL Health Access
A free BSL interpreting service for health related situations such as GPs, dentists, pharmacies, opticians, NHS hospitals and any health-care related appointments. The service is available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Deaf translators/BSL interpreters Volunteer Responders Facebook group
A Facebook group set up by Lynn Stewart-Taylor and other volunteers where you can ask for interpreter assistance if you have any non-emergency communication needs, such as contacting your GP, school, or family via phone or help with checking emails and translating letters.

Deaf Stay At Home Facebook group
A Facebook group set up by Lynn Stewart-Taylor and other volunteers which is a supportive online community sharing information about Coronavirus in BSL so that Deaf people know what to do to keep themselves and other people safe.

Sign Pals
A project encouraging new friendships in the UK BSL community. You can sign up and get matched with other Deaf people based on your hobbies and interests. Pals all use BSL and use video call to get to know each other.

For families with Deaf children

The National Deaf Children’s Society
There is a range of very useful information for families with Deaf children on the NDCS website.

Home School Support for Deaf/BSL using parents Facebook group
A group to support BSL using parents with home schooling. Offering activity ideas and help with explaining and interpreting work your children have been asked to do by their school.

Mental health

During this stressful time it’s important to take care of your mental health as well as your physical health. Here are links to some organisations who can provide support if you need it.

Contact the Samaritans to discuss anything you’re going through that’s causing distress. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Callers who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing can contact the Samaritans for support by email using or by using the Next Generation Text (NGT) service. You can contact Samaritans using the NGT service on the number 0330 094 5717.

Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
Text SHOUT to 85258 in the UK to text with a trained Crisis Volunteer.

Signhealth runs a psychological therapies service in BSL.

Signhealth’s Domestic Abuse Service
Signhealth also run a service for support with domestic abuse.

Deaf4Deaf runs a service offering sign language counselling.

Every Mind Matters
Useful tips to help if you’re worried about Coronavirus on the NHS’s Every Mind Matters website.

Bristol Women’s Therapy Centre offers telephone and online support for all women.
This includes this web chat service for Deaf women.

The Silverline
A national helpline dedicated to older people which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

How to volunteer

If you’d like to help out during the Coronavirus outbreak, here are links to two places where you can sign up to volunteer.

To volunteer for the NHS
NHS Volunteer Responders has been set up to support the NHS and the care sector during the Coronavirus outbreak. You can sign up to help in a number of ways, such as collecting medicine for people who are self-isolating or helping with patient transport.

To volunteer in the local community
The Can Do website has information about how to sign up to volunteer in the local community. This support is being co-ordinated by Bristol City Council and Voscur.

Places to buy local food and produce

Bristol Food Union
Bristol restaurants and food shops and suppliers have created a website with listings of where you can buy local food. It includes information about places which do deliveries.

Adult audiology procedures during Coronavirus isolation

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Please be aware that Adult Audiology has stopped all face to face outpatient appointments due to the requirements for social distancing during the Coronavirus. The team will have a reduced service for urgent essential repairs to existing patient’s hearing aids.

If you need an urgent essential repair, please book an appointment by calling 0117 342 5854 (option 2 only) or email

Please click on this link to go to a page on the audiology department website which has videos giving instructions on cleaning and inserting hearing aids.

There are also useful videos on the C2 hear website.

Sensory Impairment Team offer support by video

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Bristol City Council’s Sensory Impairment Team provides support with:
• Translating letters from English to BSL
• Phoning and booking appointments
• Advice with paying bills or finding out more information from service providers
• Contacting any services you need to access

Due to Coronavirus, drop in sessions will no longer be available at the usual locations such as Bedminster library and Bristol Community Links South.

Instead the team will provide live video support sessions during the following times:
Monday 10am to 12pm
Wednesday 10am to 12pm
Friday 1.30pm to 3.30pm

They will use Zoom video to allow two or three-way conversations. You will need a laptop with a webcam, tablet or smart-mobile with access to the internet. You will then need to accept the Zoom invitation to an online meeting. Zoom is a confidential and secure video call system.

To book an online appointment, please email and the team will arrange a suitable time for the online meeting to take place.

If you are unable to use email, you can text Trish on 07795 445836 or Iain on 07741 815708 to arrange for a video support session via Zoom.

Please click on this link to see this information in a BSL video.

If you need to contact the health services, NHS 111 have a BSL video relay service.

If you would like to know more about Coronavirus in BSL, please look at the Signhealth website.

If you still don’t understand Coronavirus and need further explanation in BSL, please contact us and we can arrange a video support session to help you understand all the current information.

Office opening hours over Christmas and New Year

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Season’s greetings from all of us on the team at CfD.

Please note our office and equipment resource room will be closed for the holidays between 24th December and 2nd January. We look forward to working with you again when we re-open on Thursday 2nd January 2020.

Our equipment drop-in sessions at the We Care showroom will also stop for the holidays and will begin again in the New Year on Wednesday 8th January.

We wish you a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Election manifestos in BSL

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Thinking about which party to vote for in the General Election on Thursday?

There’s a summary about the policies on this website:…/who-should-i-vote-for-the-uk-…

and here are links to BSL versions of each party’s manifesto:







No BSL here but there’s an easy read version at:

Deaf with dementia training day

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On Friday 29th July we welcomed Emma Ferguson-Coleman to the Vassall Centre for a training day on how to support communication with Deaf BSL users living with dementia.

Emma is a researcher based at the University of Manchester working on the Deaf with Dementia Life-Stories Project. Here in Bristol we have been working in collaboration with the Deaf Studies Trust to raise awareness of the impact of dementia in the Deaf community and were delighted that Emma could join us to provide the training. This was a full day workshop for BSL interpreters and social care professionals working with the Deaf community in the Bristol area. Based on real life examples, the workshop was an opportunity for participants to:

  • Understand more about what dementia is
  • Learn more about how to support communication with Deaf BSL users living with dementia and their families
  • Consider strategies that interpreters can employ in relation to communication and look at the process from initial consultations through to assessments, diagnosis and support.

During the workshop there was scope for lots of interaction and discussion and it is clear that there is much interest in this topic. Here are some examples of the great feedback received from those attending:

‘The videos were amazing and very poignant. An interesting and informative day.’

‘Interesting training with a mixture of Deaf professionals as well as interpreters – it made for very dynamic conversations!’

‘Helps you learn how others see things and what they need from you the interpreter. Learnt some new signs for terminology. Brilliant and well needed.’

‘An excellent day. Should be repeated regularly!’

A big thanks to Emma Ferguson-Coleman for sharing her knowledge and expertise with us and we’ll look forward to further collaborations in the future.

Call out for coffee morning volunteers

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We will soon be running fortnightly coffee mornings for Deaf and hard of hearing people in the Bristol area. We’re looking forward to launching the coffee mornings very soon and we’re now looking for volunteers to help us run these sessions, which are all about providing an opportunity for the deaf and hard of hearing community to socialise and share experiences.

The coffee mornings will be on a weekday morning at a café in central Bristol and we’re looking for volunteers who can welcome people, provide practical support and help to create a friendly relaxed environment.

Ideally we would like someone with knowledge of British Sign Language but this is not essential. Training will be provided and we can cover expenses for travel and refreshments.

If you have some free time available to get involved, we’d love to hear from you!
To find out more or to apply, please contact us by phone on 0117 9398653, by SMS text on 07749 313085 or by email at

First Contact Checklist project launched to support older people in Bristol

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A new project has been launched to ensure that older people across the city are able to get the support they need. The First Contact Checklist is designed to enable the first organisation in contact with an older person to easily refer them on to other services from which they might benefit. This could include things such as getting advice on energy bills, a benefits entitlements check or a home and fire safety assessment.

The project brings together organisations such as Avon Fire and Rescue Service, Bristol Community Health and other local advice agencies and charities, including us here at the Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (CfD). The way it works is that if, for example, a firefighter visits to check an older person’s fire alarms, they might notice that they are having difficulty hearing. They can then contact the First Contact Checklist Coordinator to arrange a referral to CfD and we can provide advice and support on managing hearing loss.

The project is an initiative of Bristol Ageing Better as part of their work developing ways of identifying isolated and lonely older people. They ran a successful pilot project in summer 2016 and the project is now being delivered by the Care Forum, which coordinates checklist referrals across Bristol.

David Melling, CfD’s CEO said:
“We are really pleased to be part of this new project, which is a very practical way to ensure that older people find out more about the services available to them and get the support they need. Many people start to lose their hearing as they got older and become more socially isolated as a result and this project is a great way to raise awareness of the support we can provide.”