Complaint to BBC

Wrote a complaint to BBC. This lack of regard can’t go on.

I wish to make my feeling known that I am thoroughly disappointed to see no sign language provision for such an important event. Mandela represented freedom from oppression and celebrated diversity. I am crestfallen that South African news saw fit to provide sign language in their news segment where BBC did not. BBC is supposed to be world leader in terms of broadcast quality and reach but unfortunately you have failed to step up to truly reflect the true vision of Mandela’s philosophy which is to be inclusive. Pleased correct me if I am mistaken in thinking BBC is a public service where we have TV licence users who’s primary language is British Sign Language.

Revised

Here’s what happened on SA News:

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Now – the lady in the blue box is the bonafide and fully trained interpreter. But, who’s the hell is that guy next to world leaders? Well, we are not quite sure. Here’s the story:

Deaf News: ‘Fake’ sign language interpreter mars Nelson Mandela service for Deaf people worldwideFor many UK-based Deaf viewers of the Nelson Mandela service today, something didn’t seem quite right about the sign language interpreter (scroll down for video) who stood to the side of the various speakers, ‘interpreting’ what they were saying for the benefit of South Africa’s Deaf population.

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Derby City Council’s decision on Communication Unlimited provision

[originated from Derby City Council website via Derby Deaf newsgroups – however I could not find the source]

Organisation & Current Funding Value

Communication Unlimited

£36,021

Service Description

Provides subsidised British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation and deaf/blind communication support to assist individuals to access community facilities

Consultation Metrics

General Public

  • Number who had heard of organisation: 27
  • Number who had used the organisation: 10
  • Number who felt the organisation had some impact or a big impact on to resident’s wellbeing: 59
  • Number who felt the organisation should continue to receive funding: 50
  • Service Users ( 33 survey responses + 2 Focus Meetings)
  • The main differences that the organisation makes to the individual or their organisation are the ability to communicate and access to services (23 comments).
  • Service users felt that cessation of the service would impact on their daily lives.
  • In particular, individuals spoke about how much difficult it would become to access mainstream services (21 comments).
  • Schools in particular also commented on the value of the organisation in helping them communicate to Deaf parents.

Consultation Outcomes

Consultation

The general public had very low awareness, and usage, of the organisation. There was a low level of feeling that the organisation has some impact or a big impact on resident’s wellbeing and that it should continue to receive funding. The survey responses by service users were re-enforced by two focus groups.

For service users the organisation is felt to make a difference through its interpreting service by giving customers the ability to communicate and access to a wide range of services.

Recommendations

Extend the existing agreement with Communication Unlimited for 12 months; 6 months at the current funding level, 6 months at 50% current funding level. During this period it is recommended that a new business model that obtains funding from organisations accessed by users is developed.

Provide funding to Communication Unlimited to undertake the awareness raising and access to information and advice activities identified as a service gap.

Ensure that the plan for the BSL service seeks to integrate with the action plan to improve services for deaf and hard of hearing/acquired deafness users currently being developed by the Disabled Peoples Forum working group. (Project group to include representatives from Deaf Forum, British Deaf Association, CamTAD).

Ensure that services to BSL users also link to developments in the Council’s Customer Management Department to improve access for people who are deaf/hard of hearing.

Impact

No impact for the first 6 months. After that, funding will be halved and all services subject to equalities legislation will have to begin to provide suitable access for people from the deaf community. If this does not
occur, users may have to be charged for services.

Mitigation

Tapered funding supports the organisation to move to a new model of funding over a period of time allowing services to be maintained for customers whilst this transition takes place.
In addition, the awareness raising and access to information and advice activities identified as a service gap should help to encourage organisations that interact with deaf people to implement or increase their access to a BSL service.

Signing would greatly improve deaf people’s GP experiences

Deaf people have serious difficulties accessing basic healthcare services and their needs are being ignored.

Thirty per cent of deaf people in the UK are unemployed, permanently sick or disabled, according to the 2009 GP patient survey. This is three times higher than the general population. Fundamental issues lie at the heart of this statistic. Deaf people have serious difficulties accessing basic healthcare services and their needs are being ignored.

At SignHealth we continually hear anecdotal tales of appalling practice in the way deaf people are treated on the NHS, but it’s hard to get the exact detail. Some of our worst fears have been confirmed through a mixture of our own access report, statistics from the GP patient survey and anecdotal evidence.

Deaf people are facing constant difficulty with telephone appointment booking systems, verbal prompts when their doctor is ready to see them, and rarely have a clear understanding of their diagnosis and treatment. We have also found examples of GPs refusing to book interpreters because they cost too much and people not understanding their medication and taking the wrong amount.

Waiting times for interpreters in GP appointments is a massive problem. At the moment many people have to wait weeks to book a sign language interpreter who can make sure the patient and clinician are able to clearly communicate. There is an obvious link between these delays and poorer general health.

Some doctors argue that interpreters are unnecessary because a member of the family can interpret but this has clear confidentiality issues. You only have to hear one story about a deaf parent being given a diagnosis of terminal cancer through the sign language translation of their eight-year-old child to appreciate quite how wrong this is.

We recognise that there are not enough sign language interpreters and bookings can be difficult, but simple technologies are available to help.

We are urging GPs and hospitals to start using the online sign language interpreting service SignTranslate. This means that deaf people can have same day appointments with their doctor connecting via a remote interpreter at the click of a mouse.

There is also a strong cost-saving argument to solving these communication problems. Bad communication means deaf people have to see their GP on many more occasions than their hearing peers. Estimates put the number of additional appointments made by deaf people at around 625,000. With an average appointment costing £25, this equates to £15.6m each year. Research to date suggests that spending a fraction of this on making services more accessible will save the NHS millions.

The GP patient survey shows that deaf people are still the most misunderstood patient group. We can see that deafness has a profound impact on people’s wellbeing and general contribution to society and this is significantly worse than other minority groups.

At SignHealth we’re committed to highlighting these inequalities and bringing about improvements. Later this year, we’ll be leading a collaborative study into the health of deaf people. This will be the largest piece of research ever carried out in this field and we urge deaf people to register now on www.iwantbetterhealth.org.uk to bring about the changes that are so desperately needed. •

Steve Powell is chief executive of SignHealth, the healthcare charity for deaf people

Source: The Guardian

Co-operation raises £1 million for the deaf

Co-operation raises £1 million for the deaf

I am proud to announce that with the generous help of the Cumbrian public, the 37 local Co-operative stores in the area and other Co-operative businesses throughout the UK, £1 million has been raised so far for RNID (The Royal National Institute for Deaf People).

The Co-op has chosen the RNID as this year’s charity

This is fantastic news and I wish to thank all those who have donated to this very worthwhile cause at their local Cumbrian Co-operative store, even through these difficult times. This money will enable RNID to do even more to help people adjust to life with a hearing loss, and to campaign for people to take their hearing health seriously.

The Co-operative has chosen RNID as its charity of the year for 2009, and we have been overwhelmed by the support of staff, members and customers. However, it is a sad fact that it can take people up to 15 years to acknowledge hearing difficulties.

RNID’s message is simple; if you have hearing difficulties, dial nnnnnnn or visit www.rnid.org.uk/hearingmatters to check your hearing now.

JACKIE BALLARD
Chief Executive RNID
London

No mention of the word “deaf” in the letter by Jackie,  except for RNId’s full name.  However, the newspaper headlined the article with the word “deaf”. On the public front, is the word “deaf” now taboo at RNId?

Our representation is getting skewed here cos the letter publicly state that it is RNId’s remit to look after the hearing people’s hearing/hearing loss – which is a no bad thing – but masquerading under the “Deaf” banner is misleading and the press is not helping the situation. They should drop that from their name. I have the feeling the money will never reach the real Deaf people at grassroots and get passed around over our heads.

Everything about us, without us.

Source: News & Star

TAG calls for Government action after independent Ofcom report on deaf telecoms

TAG is calling for Government action to improve deaf telecoms services following a new report from Ofcom that highlights the benefits that modernised telephone relay services could have on the employment and everyday lives of deaf people. The independent report, Voice telephony services for deaf people, was commissioned by Ofcom as part of its work to tackle the most critical issues that disabled people face with communications services.

The report says that modernised relay services – in use in several other countries, but available to only a very few people in the UK – could enable deaf people to be significantly more productive at work, help reduce their feelings of isolation and loneliness at home and make everyday telephone interactions less stressful and much faster.

Ruth Myers, chairman of TAG said “We are very pleased that this independent report for Ofcom has highlighted the all-round benefits of modernised relay services to deaf people and that they may even be more cost-effective than the existing basic text relay service. We now want the government to act promptly to ensure that modernised services can be available to deaf people at fair prices.
//
“The report echoes what TAG has been saying for a very long time: that the existing basic text relay service is very frustrating for its deaf users principally because it is too slow and does not allow natural fluid conversations. As the report indicates, the newer captioned and video relay services enable much faster, less stressful and far more effective means for deaf people to contact hearing people by voice telephone.” The continuing importance of voice telephone calls for the general population despite the growth in other forms of text communication like SMS texting, email and instant messaging is also highlighted by the report. Although voice calls by the hearing population have decreased a little in recent years, they have now stabilised at an average 90 minutes per week. Deaf people are therefore largely missing out on a vital mode of communication, an issue that could be addressed through the widespread availability of modernised relay services.

TAG is gaining support for its campaign from MPs of all the main political parties, many of whom are raising the issue in Parliament.

The Ofcom report on deaf telecoms is available at http://tiny.cc/fntjS TAG is a consortium made up of the British Deaf Association, Deafness Support Network, deafPLUS, Hearing Concern Link, National Association of Deafened People, National Deaf Children’s Society, Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), and Sense.

Related links:

TAG
News’ source

Twitter ye not…not

Podcast From KnowHowNonProfit

Ian Bruce

Brian Lamb is the executive director of advocacy and policy at the RNID and the author of NCVO’s Good Campaigns Guide, which maps out effective tools to increase the quality and the evaluation of campaigning. Within RNID, Brian has had overall responsibility for driving forward the work on awareness of the dangers of loud noise, including the award winning ‘Don’t Lose the Music’ campaign aimed at younger people and those working in the entertainment and music industry. Here he explains what he think makes an effective campaign.

Brian Lamb, RNID

I think it’s something that captures the imagination, I think it’s something that’s got flair and passion. I think passion’s vastly underestimated still, in campaigning. You’ve got to have the technique but you’ve actually got to pull people to your issue – because there’s hundreds of issues out there and yours has got to stand out. And yours has got to motivate decision makers to make them feel that this is the one that they’ve got to address.

I think what you have to remember, whether you’re a big or a small campaign, the kind of steps you ought to be taking is focusing ruthlessly on what is the key thing you need to achieve and who can really make that difference for you. And look to how you can use the language of the people that you’re campaigning against, to put it into their terms, so they can understand what you’re looking for. And I think if you do that, you will always present a very effective case to those you’re lobbying against.

I think campaigning is changing massively at the moment, because the more people become disillusioned with traditional parties and traditional ways of influencing, the more and more they’re going to charities and to campaigning organisations to get the democratic voice they feel they’re not getting through the system. We’ve seen an explosion in the last ten years of community national base campaigns taking on large issues and creating the political weather, where political parties are simply now just responding to what’s going on in civil society.

I think what’s interesting is everybody keeps talking about the internet and Twitter and social networking, and that’s very important. But it’s amazing how much people are going back to traditional grass-roots methods of giving people a sense of community, a place to go and people to relate to. You look at a lot of the successful campaigns that are getting media attention – it’s actually about bringing people together in a way that, again, political parties are often not. It’s then knowing how to use the media and to do that with flair and do things differently that actually attracts attention. And again I think it’s the novelty that people can bring, as well as the passion, that often makes the difference and makes particular campaigns stand out.

Prompted Questions for Brian Lamb

How did you become a campaigner? What got you started?

What are the key components of a good campaign?

Is there ever a “one-size-fits-all” approach?

What is your view of Hacan’s campaigning?

Where do you think people make mistakes?

Can you give me some examples of some good campaigns?

Where do you see our campaigners of the future?

How do you see the future of campaigns? (online/mobile phones/etc..)

Do you think the internet will become an effective campaigning platform? Or is there too much junk cluttering the internet distracting the audience away from the important stuff?

What grabbed my attention is this bit:

I think campaigning is changing massively at the moment, because the more people become disillusioned with traditional parties and traditional ways of influencing, the more and more they’re going to charities and to campaigning organisations to get the democratic voice they feel they’re not getting through the system.

Democratic voice? Although I have not made representations to RNID, I have seen plenty of complaints online and through 1st hand, within the deaf rank and file community, that they are not getting that democratic voice. Are they going to change their position at any time soon? Or do we need to do it ourselves?

We’ve seen an explosion in the last ten years of community national base campaigns taking on large issues and creating the political weather, where political parties are simply now just responding to what’s going on in civil society.

Are we missing a trick here? Should there be more groups/organisations to work alongside BDA? For example, a campaign for accessible health programs rolled out on national scale i.e. stop smoking group or drug/alcohol group. I would rather engage with a deaf-led self-help group than attend a mainstream group with an interpreter as I do not want my deafness to be centre of attention when I do attend. BSL announcement about Swine flu is all great but what is happening on the local levels? I only found out because I am able to use the internet effectively and got my feelers out. Are the Whitehall’s civil servant mandarins ensuring the information are reaching the right audience?

I think what’s interesting is everybody keeps talking about the internet and Twitter and social networking, and that’s very important.

Is Twitter really the future? While it is fun and digestible, I am still unconvinced – despite the hype.


Can you hear the birds singing?

Inspired by recent GOD post:

Excerpt from: RNId Imagine a world without sound

I used to work in a school with hard of hearing children. We had one girl who came from a family of five. Both her parents were profoundly deaf, as she was. She had a younger brother who was severely deaf and an older sister who was the only hearing member of the family.

One summer morning, she came into the unit and said in a disbelieving voice “My sister says that she hears the birds singing in the morning and it wakes her up. Do you hear the birds singing?” It totally wrung my heart and I vowed never to complain about being woken by them ever again…

The Deaf perspective:

I used to work in a school with hearing children. We had one girl who came from a family of five. Both her parents were hearing, as she was. She had a younger brother who was severely hearing and an older sister who was the only deaf member of the family.

One summer morning, she came into the unit and said in a disbelieving signs “My sister says that she use an under-the-pillow vibrator and it wakes her up. Do you ever get vibrated in the morning?” It totally wrung my heart and I vowed never to complain about being woken by my Silent Alert ever again…

Extremism is the norm

I would like to recount my experience during my visit to Damacus, Syria, when I attended my good friend’s brother wedding.

Having faced the death-defying car rides and me mistaking the suspect Arab’s bidet plumbing for a muezzin’s call for prayer at 2am, the capital still captivated me. It was the most violent jerk from one culture (British) to another that I ever had to go through. Despite being turned away from the local public bath – simply for being of white skin and of Western World’s origin – the Syrians are, in my view, the most hospitable and amicable people you can come across. The culture. I could go on about it if only I could harness into a titbit of Tony Nicholas’ eloquence, to express the sum of my visit to Syria and how…..and by God, how it does compares to the British culture.

The main highlights of my visit was the wedding night – to put it all in the nutshell, it was sword fight, pricking the groom’s bum with needles as a rite of passage, bribing the police to keep the main highway of Damacus free so we can hang out of cars and scream our heads off, turning up at the Hilton among its sheer opulence, dining in style in a banquet room with so much gold that it dripped, glistening thrones were laid on for the married couple, partying among seas of amazingly beautiful Arab women that would make Hugh Heffner forget himself. There was me, in my striped cricket blazer, pink shirt, chinos and a plaster cast arm – I was a local curiosity for the night. It was a night that I will treasure for a long time.

Before the wedding night, we often go to the Hilton swimming pool and I would get waved through due to wearing a tight fitting forest green ribbed t-shirt that I was wearing at the time. I passed myself off as an UN observer, on a break from watching the Lebanon-Israel border. I befriended a blonde-dyed Arabic woman with a most devastating bikini you can have and I am surprised you can get them in this part of the world. Such sheltered life that I lead! I am talking Jessica Rabbit here. Once, she asked me how am I Deaf? Before I could answer, “Is it because of Allah?” Boy, I had to humour her. “Yes, it is because of Allah!”. She gave me a look of pity and, on this occasion, I didn’t mind cos she gave me a hug “to spur me on”. I didn’t complain.

Anyway, the nub of this post centred around a family dinner time which was back of my friend’ mum house. My friend got 4 brothers and the youngest is deaf too – the 2nd, 3rd and 4th are not. Because of the region is rife with conflict and one of the brothers was moaning about having to be conscripted into the Syrian Army very soon, Israel cropped up in the conversation. Although they all spoke very good English but they would converse mostly in Arabic, pausing now and then only to explain in English for mine and my friend’s benefit, who have spent his formative years in English Deaf school education system. I asked what if Israel invaded Syria and surprisingly 2 of the brothers said they would put on bomb jackets and head straight for the front line to die for the their country and brothers, taking as many Israeli soldiers as possible. What strikes me the most, is how calm and matter of fact they were when they made that statement. I didn’t pursue the conversation any more out of fear of questioning their motive over family dinner and disrespecting them. The very statement itself left me quite startled and disturbed because we had been playing footie and smoking hookah under the star-light sky the night before and I felt really at home with them – until this came up. After about an hour, it didn’t bothered me anymore because they are still people although they are living in a completely different circumstances than mine and they live by different values. Also, they are not radicalised. Just normal Syrian people.

I don’t know if I can draw parallels with this experience to what the Deaf Culture are facing, but I feel this touch on the intolerance that have been expressed towards the Deaf Community and the Deaf Culture because, for some, it goes against the grain of the life that is normal to them and Deaf Culture is extreme. Back in Damacus, I felt it was wrong of me to judge the Syrians because I haven’t lived their lives. You either leave these people alone or persevere to embrace their culture. Something are just meant to be and it is really down to the tolerance of people to embrace diversity and improve, rather than impose their values onto other who holds different values altogether and hold us all back.

Though all society is founded on intolerance, all improvement is founded on tolerance
George Bernard Shaw