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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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.
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.
A national helpline dedicated to older people which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
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.
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.
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 audiology.dept@UHBristol.nhs.uk
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 you can use: https://interpreternow.co.uk/nhs111
If you would like to know more about Coronavirus in BSL, please look at the Signhealth website: https://www.signhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/
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 to understand all the current information.
Would you like to make some new friends and enjoy a good night out?
Deaf Night Out is a new social group for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in Bristol, which meets for a regular gathering at accessible venues around the city centre.
The group are currently working on a plan for the next few months and new dates will be announced soon. Please watch this space! We will post new details here on the CfD website and our social media pages.
If you’re on Facebook, check out the Deaf Night Out group which you can join to also follow updates.
We have been working in partnership with the Arnolfini to arrange a BSL interpreted tour of their current exhibitions.
The event we had arranged for this Saturday 21 March has now been cancelled due to the situation with the Coronavirus.
Please see the Arnolfini website for their closure announcement.
Everything is changing very fast at the moment as we work to respond to this situation. The health and safety of our community is our biggest priority and we will post updates here on our website and on our social media channels to keep you informed about other changes to our activities and services.
For the latest information about the Coronavirus, please visit the Public Health England website.
For information about the Coronavirus in BSL, please visit this page of the Signhealth website.
We are working with the Deaf Studies Trust to host a further information event about dementia and the Deaf community. Please join us:
between 6 – 8pm, Tuesday 11 February
Staff from the Carers Support Centre will be there to share information about their service and explain:
We hope to set up a deaf carers group so that people can share ideas.
This event will be chaired by Clark Denmark.
BSL-English interpreters provided.
Tea and coffee will be available.
All welcome. No need to book – just turn up!
For more information, please contact Jim Kyle of the Deaf Studies Trust.
We run a regular coffee morning for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in the Bristol area on the first and third Tuesday of the month.
We usually meet between 10.30am and 12.30pm at the Watershed on Bristol’s harbourside.
Unfortunately because of concern about the Coronavirus, we are cancelling our coffee mornings for the time being.
The safety of everyone involved with CfD is our number one priority and we think it is better to be cautious. We will miss seeing you all and will post an update about when we can meet again as soon as the situation improves.
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.
Thinking about which party to vote for in the General Election on Thursday?
There’s a summary about the policies on this website:
and here are links to BSL versions of each party’s manifesto:
No BSL here but there’s an easy read version at: