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The BBC Red Button Teletext Service has been saved from switch off after the NFBUK and British Deaf Association handed in a petition to the Director General of the BBC Lord Hall and to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street on Monday 27th January 2020.

The petition is backed by 175 organisations from across the UK, which included Age UK, the National Association of Deafened People (NADP) and the National Association of Retired Police Officers.

The petition called for an immediate pause to the closure of the BBC Red Button Teletext Service, which is a vital lifeline for many disabled, older and vulnerable people across the UK and is a much loved service by many people across the UK.  The petitioners were met at the gates of 10 Downing Street by MP Damian Collins on Monday 27th January 2020, who took immediate action by writing to the Director General of the BBC asking for a halt to the switch off. Within 24 hours, Lord Tony Hall agreed to suspend the switch off and has agreed to meet with Damian Collins MP and campaigners on this issue.

  • Andrew Hodgson President of the National Federation of the Blind of the UK  ‘This is fantastic news, it is a victory for equality, diversity and disability and the NFBUK along with our fellow petitioners look forward to working with the BBC in an engaging and collaborative manner on this issue. The BBC Red Button teletext is a vital service for the people of Great Britain and is a lifeline to many disabled and elderly people across the nation. We would like to thank the Government and the BBC for listening and acting on the concerns raised.’
  • Sarah Gayton, Shared Space Coordinator from the NFBUK stated:  ’The NFBUK was extremely worried that the continuity of service would be broken, leaving many disabled and elderly people across the UK isolated and disconnected from society. We were being contacted by people who relied on this service for many reasons and we were fraught with worry what would happen to these people if the BBC Red Button Service Teletext Service was switched off on 30th January 2020.  People with autism, epilepsy, house bound, deaf people, people with poor or no internet, people who do not want the internet and many people who loved the simplicity of the service. It is clear that this service is a vital lifeline for people who need to consume news and information in a static form and not using a computer or a small smartphone device. This is a huge victory for the petitioners and the people they represent and it is very clear that this service should never be switched off.’

The NFBUK are asking for people to please contact them with their further personal stories of why they rely, use and love the BBC Red Button Teletext Service, which will be submitted to the BBC and the Government. Please contact NFBUK via voice telephone – 01924 291313, by voice or text to 07903 155858, via email to or or by post to NFBUK, Sir John Wilson House, 215 Kirkgate, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 1JG.



Friday, 24 January 2020

Alliance of deaf charities condemns treatment of deaf inmates in prison

The coalition of deaf charities, the UK Council on Deafness (UKCoD) is seeking urgent action by prison service to improve their treatment of deaf inmates following a shocking new report.

In an article report on deaths in custody by the charity Inquest[1], The Guardian highlighted a story about deaf inmate Tyrone Givans, who took his own life after staff at Pentonville deprived him of access to his hearing aids.

Commenting on the report Craig Crowley, Chair of the UK Council on Deafness, said:

“It’s bad enough that the deaf community has to face daily barriers and isolation because of the low levels of deaf awareness across society and the lack of appropriate services which meet the tailored needs of deaf people. But for ignorant service providers to deprive us of our dignity through inhumane treatment is more than any community should ever have to endure.

“Cases like Tyrone’s underline the urgency of the work that the UK Council on Deafness and its members are doing. We will continue to challenge Government, public services, businesses and individuals members of society to understand and respect the lives of the deaf people in order to create a more inclusive society for our community”.


[2] Death in Prison: A national Scandal,


Download the PRESS RELEASE [PDF]

07 JunVideo Relay Service – VRS For All & 24/7 – Scotland



A great step forward for the the Deaf BSL Community in Scotland as on the 1st of June Contact Scotland BSL & Scottish Government/Health announced they are now VRS for all & 24/7!

Deaf / deafblind British Sign Language users and hearing people can now call each other instantly via an online BSL interpreter.

Quote form Clare Haughey MSP

 “…Now the service is being enhanced so that, for the first time, users will be able to contact anyone they wish and at any time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    I’m delighted to be able to support this innovation to help the users of the service to live as independently as possible.”

Read More>>

07 May‘1 in 6’ posters created by City College Norwich Student

Photography student’s thought-provoking poster campaign for Deaf Awareness Week

Karolina Michalik, a photography student at City College Norwich, has used her camera and editing skills to produce a series of thought-provoking posters that will be exhibited in the college during Deaf Awareness Week (6th – 12th May, 2019).

CCN student Karolina Michalik with her deaf awareness campaign posters (Credit - City College Norwich)

Twenty-year-old Karolina, from Watton, has titled the series ‘1 in 6’, because that is the proportion of people in the UK who have a hearing impairment.  Karolina’s posters aim to make people think about deafness, whilst providing practical tips for communicating with deaf people.

The project grew out of a piece of work Karolina did for her college course, the UAL Extended Diploma in Photography.  Karolina, who is deaf herself, carried out research with a mix of both hearing and deaf people to inform her campaign messages.

While the deaf people Karolina spoke to expressed lots of positives in relation to their identity and lives, her research also found that there can be barriers between deaf and hearing people.  These can arise because hearing people are unsure of how to interact with deaf people and because of a lack of basic knowledge of British Sign Language (BSL) signs.

Karolina’s poster exhibition will be on show in City College Norwich’s main reception and library during Deaf Awareness Week.

Speaking about the impact she hopes her posters will have, Karolina Michalik said:

“I want to promote deaf awareness and show people the basic ways they can communicate with deaf people, because lots of people aren’t deaf aware and they find it difficult to communicate.  I thought if I look at the basic rules, and put them into a campaign, and advertise this in an exhibition, then hopefully people will use the information and try to communicate more.”

Click here to view and download Karolina’s posters.

Another initiative for Deaf Awareness Week will see the launch of a BSL glossary and Deaf Awareness resource at City College Norwich, which has been produced through a project involving more than 50 teaching and support staff at the college.


07 MayCity College Norwich create Sign Language Glossary

Press Release

Sign language glossary to help promote deaf awareness at City College Norwich

More than 50 staff at City College Norwich have collaborated to create a British Sign Language (BSL) awareness glossary which will be launched at the college during Deaf Awareness Week (6th – 12th May 2019).

Some of the City College Norwich and NES staff who helped create the sign language glossary

Over 250 signs have been individually filmed for the video glossary, which is being made available to all staff and students through the college’s Blackboard intranet.

The BSL awareness glossary includes simple phrases, such as ‘Good morning’ and ‘How are you?’, which any member of staff can use to include signing students.  Here is an example from the glossary: the college’s principal, Corrienne Peasgood, signing ‘City College Norwich’.

Staff from across the college, including Norfolk Educational Services support staff, have been involved in creating the glossary.  The process has provided a focus for discussion and learning around deaf awareness.

The BSL awareness glossary is a companion to subject-specific glossary which has been developed to enhance the support for deaf students provided by the college’s signers.  This more in-depth glossary includes established BSL signs and others that have been created by college staff, with the involvement of signing students, for key words and technical terms that feature in Functional Skills, GCSE and some of its vocational courses.

Further resources to raise deaf awareness, including guidance for teaching staff who may have deaf or hearing-impaired students in their classes, are being highlighted to staff alongside the BSL awareness glossary.

The project has been led by Clare Byrne and Sarah Bell, from the college’s Curriculum Services Support team, supported by Rebecca Anderson, Technology Enhanced Learning Assistant.

Sarah Bell, Curriculum Services Support, commented:

“We want to do the best we can for the college’s deaf students.  The subject-specific glossary will make sure we have a consistent approach in the signs we are using, which in turn will make it easier for signing students to understand and follow what is being taught in their lessons. Our deaf students are really pleased as this will make it easier for them in class, and the accompanying notes in the glossary will help back up their learning.

“It’s taken about a year to create the BSL subject specific glossary and it’s already having a positive impact in terms of raising deaf awareness.  It’s been really pleasing to see how staff from right across the college have responded so enthusiastically to the latest project.”