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Posts Tagged ‘Deaf Awareness Week’

26 MarDeaf Awareness Week 2018

Deaf Awareness Week - some facts

Deaf Awareness Week will take place 14th – 20th May and you can find posters and our Press Release now available for downloading on our publicity page.

Craig Crowley, Chair of the UK Council on Deafness, states: “This year’s Deaf Awareness Week is an excellent opportunity showcasing our members proactively raising awareness of Deafness and hearing loss as well as promoting and championing the many organisations that support Deaf, hard of hearing, deafened and Deafblind in the UK”.

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03 MayDeaf Awareness Week – Common Purpose


Great events happening during Deaf Awareness Week!

Publicity materials are available throughout the week and do take time to read about Common Purpose !


11 MayA call to industry to engage on the next generation of relay services

During Deaf Awareness Week we are writing to the chief executives of the major telecommunication providers to urge them to engage with us to establish the next generation of text relay, captioned telephony and video relay services in the UK.

Relay services have made a huge difference in enabling deaf and deafblind people to access the telephone network, but the community has been left behind by advances in technology. Deaf people have the right to access telecommunications services which are functionally equivalent to those enjoyed by hearing people. Modern relay services are the only way to achieve this.

The Government has called on the industry to work with the deaf community and come forward with solutions which meet deaf people’s needs.

That is why UKCoD is campaigning with TAG, our members and many others to ensure that the next generation of relay services provides people who are deaf access to the phone network that is equivalent to everyone else.

Why are relay services needed?
In a world in which technology is changing rapidly, deaf people need access to telecommunications in the same way as hearing people: at work, at home, on the road, for communicating with friends and families, for work purposes, as well as for the more mundane and practical uses. And that means almost live, real time communication.

Who uses relay services?
Deaf and deafblind people use relay services; for some written and spoken English is their preferred mode of communication, for others British Sign Language (BSL) is their first language – all need to be supported by relay services.

What are relay services?

Text relay
Text Relay connects deaf people using a textphone with people who are either using a telephone or another textphone. In its current format, the service uses technology that was developed over 30 years ago; it can be quite slow and inhibit conversations. Nonetheless it is a hugely valuable service.

Currently BT provides the UK national text relay service.

Captioned telephony
Captioned telephony enables a deaf person to hear what they can over the telephone, conducting a traditional phone call. In addition an operator re-speaks the hearing user’s speech word for word into a voice recognition engine to produce text for the deaf user.

The only captioned relay service in the UK was closed in 2007 for funding reasons. For a video explanation, see how Captel worked.

Video Relay
Video relay enables sign language users to communicate on the telephone through a sign language interpreter. The sign language user signs to the interpreter over a video link (computer or video phone), the interpreter speaks the message, the hearing user listens and their response is signed by the interpreter back to the sign language user.

For explanations of video relay service in action, see Sign Video in action on the news and an explanation of video relay from VRS Today.

NDCS have produced a useful factsheet explaining the different types of relay services (link to NDCS document – to be uploaded on UKCoD website)

What are we asking for?
Deaf people want fully funded, functionally equivalent access to the telephone network for all deaf and deafblind people in the UK. The relay experience for a deaf person must be as close as possible to a call between hearing people using the telephone network or the Internet.

If deaf people are to be enabled to make the same use of telephones as the rest of the population then developments in relay services must comply with the following principles

• Be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a week

• Be real time equivalent

• Meet appropriate quality standards

• Be available to users at no cost other than the cost of a standard call.

• Meet the varying communication needs of deaf people, whether deaf with speech, BSL users, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or deafened

• Be capable of taking advantage of new developments in technology

• Treat Captioned Telephony, Video Relay Services (VRS) and Text Relay with equal importance to ensure that all sections of the deaf and hard of hearing community benefits from functional equivalent access to telecommunications

• Enable the full participation of all deaf users through the provision of appropriate software and terminal equipment to access different types of relay services

• Provide number portability

• Provide real choice for consumers through open competition between “same type” relay providers

• Use standard protocols to ensure interoperability across platforms and networks

• Provide equivalence to all standard telephony platforms including the provision of mobile phone solutions software communication packages

What are the Government and regulators doing?
The regulator, Ofcom, recently consulted on a review of relay services. UKCoD and TAG responded along with many individual organisations.

We are expecting a response from Ofcom to the views expressed by the deaf community, along with further consultation around the implementation of video relay.

Ed Vaizey MP, Communications Minister has made a number of direct requests to the industry to engage with the deaf community and come forward with solutions for the implementation of modern telecommunications for deaf people

UKCoD, TAG and others are working hard to work with Government, the regulators and industry to build a consensus on the solutions that will deliver equivalent access to the telephone network for deaf people.

If you have further questions
Please contact if you want to join the campaign or find out more about the issues and what the deaf community is doing about them.

Signatories of the letter

Jim Edwards
UK Council on Deafness

Ruth Myers

David Buxton
Chief Executive
British Deaf Association

Clare Kennedy
Chief Executive

Ross Trotter
National Association of Deafened People
National Association of Deafened People

Susan Daniels
Chief Executive
National Deaf Children’s Society

Roger Beeson
Royal Association for Deaf People

Mark Nelson
Managing Director

Steve Powell
Chief Executive
Sign Health

Gill Morbey
Chief Executive

Jim Edwards
Chief Executive

Jeff McWhinney
Managing Director
Sign Video

Gordan Chapman

Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw MP
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 2009 – 2010

Rt Hon Malcolm Bruce MP
All-Party Group on Deafness

Anas Sarwar MP
Deputy Leader
Scottish Labour Party

Rt Hon Tom Brake MP
Co-Chair, Liberal Democrat Policy Committee on Equalities

Mike Crockart MP
Member, Joint Committee on Human Rights

John Walker
Convener of Deaf Studies
University of Sussex

Charlie Swinbourne
Deaf journalist and broadcaster
Other useful links
VRS Today


08 MayOrganisations join forces…..

During Deaf Awareness Week  (7-13 May 2012), a group of organisations representing deaf people are joining forces to call on healthcare services to improve their access, and to commission interpreting services that use only appropriately qualified sign language interpreters for Deaf patients.

The organisations involved Read more of this article

08 May"LOOK AT ME"

DAW logo

Monday 7th to Sunday 13th May is Deaf Awareness Week –  do take a look at some of the events that have been organised by visiting our website where publicity materials are also available to download.

Deaf Awareness Week is when organisations working with deaf people across the country are inviting everyone to ‘Look At Me’.  The theme aims to improve understanding of the different types of deafness by highlighting the many different methods of communication used by deaf, deafened, deafblind and hard of hearing people, such as sign language and lipreading.