Mark signs up to Deaf Rights group's concerns(May 23, 2014)
Mark has facilitated a meeting between members of the local deaf community and Leader of the Lancashire County Council, CCllr Jennifer Mein, to discuss deaf rights in Lancashire.
Following on from a meeting with local campaigners, Colin Singh and Lesley Davidson, who lobbied Mark in Parliament back in March, Mark called for a meeting to be held in Preston on 16th May 2014, to enable members of the deaf community to engage directly with both himself and CCllr Mein.
Members of the Lancashire Deaf Rights Group (LDRG) - an independent group representing the views of BSL users - were invited to discuss their concerns with Mr Hendrick and Ms Mein with assistance from two BSL translators. During the meeting, lead campaigner Colin Singh, delivered a presentation entitled ‘Voice of Deaf BSL Users’ and the ‘Sick Of It Campaign’ by Deaf Health Charity Signhealth, which highlights how the health service is failing Deaf people.
The Lancashire Deaf Rights Group was formed in November 2013 by Colin Singh and they work to raise awareness about the key issues facing BSL users and to give them a voice to fight for better access to healthcare and information. The group also campaign for BSL to be granted legal status.
Following a question and answer session, the Council Leader had the opportunity to respond to concerns about the consultation with the local deaf community regarding the procurement process of deaf services in Lancashire. The Leader has pledged to include individual representation from local BSL users to inform and guide the acquisition of services.
Mark said: “It was a very productive meeting which not only highlighted the many barriers to work and healthcare that deaf people face but also the importance of recognising British Sign Language as minority language in this country. What this will mean in practice is that information and services will have to be produced in BSL giving equal access to sign language users where there was once a barrier”
Colin Singh from Lancashire Deaf Rights Group said: "I'm really pleased about this meeting. It gave members of the local BSL community a rare opportunity to voice their concerns. I hope we will work together closely for a positive change in the future. Mr Hendrick said that we will need to meet again and clarify what BSL users need to make sure we are on the right track. This is very important and we are looking forward to it. Lancashire Deaf Rights Group is an independent group representing the views of BSL users. We are unique because there is a communication barrier separating us from all other groups. In a world that is based on sound and speech, BSL users often have no voice. That's what we aim to be: voice of British Sign Language users in Lancashire."