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Progress on the Dumfries and Galloway British Sign Language Plan

On Tuesday 6 June, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee received an update on the progress towards the Dumfries and Galloway British Sign Language Plan 2018 to 2024.

The BSL (Scotland) Act 2015, requires public bodies in Scotland to publish Plans every six years, showing how they will promote and support BSL. The British Sign Language (BSL) Plan 2018 to 2024 is a shared Plan for Dumfries and Galloway with NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Police Scotland V Division, Dumfries and Galloway College, and Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Members of Communities Committee heard that significant progress has been made on actions in the BSL Plan, with all actions on target or completed. Highlights among the progress include:
• The introduction of BSL Drop-In Clinics for the Deaf BSL Community, led and facilitated by the Social Work Sensory Support Team.
• Awareness raising for Sign Language Week in March 2023 by the Social Work Sensory Support Team, and awareness raising of Deaf Awareness Week in May 2023 by the Poverty and Inequalities Team and Social Work Sensory Support Team – supported by a programme of activities.
• Dumfries and Galloway Society for the Deaf have joined the Equality and Diversity Working Group who work in partnership to empower people to make positive contributions to their communities by challenging discrimination, promoting greater integration and by maximising support for everyone across Dumfries and Galloway.

Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the council’s Communities Committee said: “It is great to see the progress that has been made to date on the British Sign Language Plan. The provision of BSL taster courses has proven really popular, and the information and support provided to our council’s staff means they are better able to support colleagues and members of the public in the deaf community.”

The Committee also considered how a new BSL plan will be developed. The new British Sign Language Plan for 2024 – 2030 will be developed in partnership with our local Deaf, Hard of Hearing and BSL Community, and community engagement and consultation will play a significant part in preparing the new six-year Plan.

Vice Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon said: Although we are not yet at the end of the term for the current BSL Plan, we are forward looking to ensure we remain progressive, and to meet the needs of the communities in Dumfries and Galloway.”

The current Shared British Sign Language (BSL) Plan for Dumfries and Galloway 2018-24 can be read in full at: https://dumgal.gov.uk/article/18027/British-Sign-Language-BSL-Plan

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