Harrow United Deaf Club hosted BSL Charter workshop & Halloween Party
Harrow United Deaf Club had a fantastic turnout at their annual Halloween Party event which took place on Saturday 4th October 2014 at The Bridge Centre, Harrow.
The evening started with a BSL Charter workshop with a guest speaker Graham Welton of British Deaf Association (BDA). Graham explained to the audiences on the importance of BSL Charter with 5 key pledges that local authorities, Health and Police are expected to follow – many of the local authorities have signed up from Bristol to Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire Police was the first ever Police force to have signed up the Charter few weeks ago. Harrow United Deaf Club organized Harrow Deaf Awareness Day in May 2013 and it was then that delegates called for Harrow Council to sign up, showing commitment to deaf and hard of people living and working in Harrow. (http://hudc.org.uk/portfolio/harrow-deaf-awareness-day-2013/). Since then, deaf members were concerned and campaigned for Harrow Council to sign up the BSL Charter.
Graham explained the purpose of BSL Charter and the five key pledges:
The purpose of the BSL Charter
- To promote better access to public services and to help public agencies meet their legislative duties under the Equality Act 2010
- The UK Government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2009.
Therefore, BDA call that local authorities, public services and agencies follow and implement the CRPD
- The British Deaf Association, in partnership with Deaf organisations and local authority officers, has written the BSL Charter and toolkit to achieve better life outcomes for Deaf people and their communities.
- Deaf people want to have equal access to services and access to BSL/English interpreters whenever they are needed.
- The Deaf community is a linguistics community with a rich history, identity, language and culture. We believe equal opportunities can be achieved by working with the Deaf community.
Five Key pledges of the BSL Charter:
- Ensure access for Deaf people to information and services
- Promote learning and high quality teaching of British Sign Language
- Support Deaf children and families
- Ensure staff working with Deaf people can communicate effectively in BSL
- Consult with our local Deaf community on a regular basis
For many of our members, this was an eye opening session, with many questions from the audiences asking about the impact of indirect discrimination that many deaf people faces and how BSL Charter encourages local authorities to go beyond the Equality Act duty. Also with the new Care Act that has Royal Asset few months ago and due to be implemented in April 2015, imposing extra statutory duties onto local authorities to meet the needs of local residents and their carers, ensuring the services are personalised to each resident and not limited to service users in receipt of social care services. Ultimately, one of the strands in Care Act is about providing good quality information and advice and encourages preventative approach and crucially, such information must be accessible for all. For many deaf people, this is a welcoming move and many deaf people are keen to be part of the consultation of how such information/ advice are provided in accessible format. Harrow United Deaf Club is working closely with Harrow Council and encouraging the Council to sign up to the BSL Charter, which sits well within the new Care Act legislation. Also at the workshops, deaf members were able to share their experiences and frustrations on barriers that exists e.g. job centres where Disabled Employment Advisor (DEA) are not deaf aware and this has negative impact onto deaf people applying for jobs. Other areas of concerns also includes how effective would the BSL Charter be around teaching mainstream schools basic BSL – this would enable 90% of deaf children/ young people who are in mainstream school to be fully support and participated in the wider community. At present, without the BSL Charter, deaf children/ young people have experienced bullying, segregation and feeling left out/ alone and this can subsequently put them into higher risks of development in mental health needs among the deaf children/ young people and their families. To learn more about BSL Charter, visit British Deaf Association website on: http://www.bda.org.uk/British_Sign_Language_(BSL)/BSL_Charter
HUDC members of both deaf and hearing people realised the importance of BSL Charter and calls for Harrow Council to sign up the BSL Charter as soon as possible.
After the workshop, the children and adults enjoyed the Halloween party with a difference including Halloween games of finding fake fingers, spiders in a bowl of yucky foods, Halloween Pinata, candle making and fancy dress competition. Girl of 10yrs old won the best Halloween face as a Skeleton and Areeb (6) won the best Halloween outfit as a Dracula.
The evening rounded off with birthday cakes for our President Asif Iqbal whose birthday was on the same day as the HUDC Halloween Party and two other committee members who had birthday in the last few days. Also a cake for a HUDC committee member Geeta and her husband Rakesh Tawakley (HUDC Volunteer) who also celebrated their 42years wedding anniversary. Everyone at Harrow United Deaf Club sent their best wishes.
Asif Iqbal MBE, President of Harrow United Deaf Club was pleased with the successful evening where our members came away with new understanding of the BSL Charter and calling for Harrow Council, health and police to sign up. Asif explained: “In the last 5 years, we have been working with our partners, raising awareness on the needs of deaf people in accessing to services and inviting Councillors, MPs and partner organisations to visit HUDC and gain our experiences at first hand. If you wish to be part of Harrow United Deaf Club and to learn more about our work, please contact our HUDC team on firstname.lastname@example.org”
Next event: Eid & Diwali celebration
Harrow United Deaf Club is pleased to host our annual Eid & Diwali celebration – a vibrant and colourful event, not to be missed. Make sure to buy your ticket! For more info, please visit our website.