This year, together with our amazing supporters, we have achieved great success in several campaigns, which are already having a huge positive effect on the deaf community and people with hearing loss. Thank you to everyone involved in helping us campaign for change.
Here are a few key wins:
1) BSL Act Now!
By working collaboratively with other deaf organisations, led by the British Deaf Association, we successfully campaigned for the BSL Act 2022, to give legal recognition to British Sign Language (BSL).
The Act will create greater recognition and understanding of BSL, and inclusion and equality for BSL users by:
- Legally recognising BSL as a language for England, Wales, and Scotland.
- Requiring government departments to report on how they are promoting and facilitating the use of BSL.
- Providing guidance to government departments and public bodies on how to meet the needs of people who use BSL as their first or preferred language.
Now that we have the BSL Act 2022, we will continue working with the other organisations involved in the campaign to ensure the Government meets their commitments to the Act.
2) 999 BSL
Since June, people needing support from the emergency services across the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have been able to call 999 using British Sign Language (BSL) via a free video relay service. This means that BSL signers will have equal access to the fire, police, ambulance and coastguard emergency services.
Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, believes this will save at least 2 lives per year, and we’re continuing to work with SignHealth and Ofcom to ensure it is meeting the needs of our community, and with organisations across the deaf sector to ensure that VRS is widely offered, including in key public services used by BSL signers.
3) Hands off our hearing aids
After 8 years of campaigning, we’ve successfully kept hearing aids free on the NHS for everyone who needs them.
4) Subtitle it!
In July, with RNIB we handed in a joint petition with over 25,000 signatures, calling on the government to introduce legally binding subtitle, signing and audio description quotas to show it’s time to make on-demand TV accessible. Because so many people signed the petition we have recently met with the relevant Government Minister, Julia Lopez MP, and made the case that these quotas need to be imposed as quickly as possible.
We’re continuing to campaign for subtitles on programmes and more accessible content so that everybody can enjoy watching TV.
5) Ear wax removal campaign
Many people in our community have told us it’s difficult to access NHS earwax removal services, so we’re campaigning to make this vital service free to anyone who needs it. If you’ve been denied wax removal on the NHS then you can take action now and contact your MP to ask that they fight for a local service.
How you can help
Together we can make more positive changes for people who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus.
Join our Campaigns Network to keep up to date with this and our other campaigns and to be the first to know when we need you to take action.
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A look back at the support our services delivered in 2022
This year, our staff and volunteers have provided support to people who called or emailed our contact centre, as well as those who have used our on-the-ground services.