Doncaster Deaf Trust have announced today (May 4) that more than 10,000 people have joined their free online, level one, British Sign Language (BSL) course.
The Trust is celebrating reaching this major milestone during Deaf Awareness Week 2020 and hope to see many more people signing as a result of the National Lottery Funded course.
Alexis Johnson, executive principal of Doncaster Deaf Trust said: “We are thrilled to now have more than 10,000 people from across the country taking part in our BSL level one course.
“To be able to announce this during Deaf Awareness Week is really fantastic and we have been working with organisations to invite them to share their signing throughout this national awareness week.
“We’re setting daily challenges for people to take part in during Deaf Awareness Week to help to raise funds for equipment for our new health and well-being suite. The first challenge is to learn to sign the colours of the rainbow.”
To donate to this appeal and support Doncaster Deaf Trust https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/deafawarenessweek
“We’ve have seen such a positive response to our free resource, enabling people to learn a new skill during this unprecedented time.
“Sign Language is a great communication tool for people to learn and we know that there are many campaigns to have British Sign Language taught in schools.
“This course will teach families, young people and businesspeople the basics of communicating via sign.
“We are sure that this platform will also be useful to people who are helping the Deaf community as the Covid-19 pandemic and government measures regarding social distancing and isolation will mean that some Deaf people will need help and assistance and basic sign language knowledge will help massively in making them feel reassured,” added Alexis.
The first section of the course covers basic signs including greetings, numbers, addressing people, travel and transport and hobbies. The course is not yet complete and further sections of level one will be released in the coming weeks.
“It is simple to sign up and you can run through the course at your own pace, doing a little each day and practicing as often as you can.
“Huge thanks to Natalie Pollard who is the course designer and one of the signers, Mike Beslin, the eLearning course producer from the Trust and our signers who have worked tirelessly to make this happen. Without the Lottery Funding this would not have been possible, so a big thank you goes out to them too.
“People are sharing videos of them practicing their new skills and we hope that this new course really helps people to communicate with the Deaf community in the future,” added Alexis.
Actors and signers on the course include Janet Eakets, Karen Glennon, Karen Holdsworth and Simon Tacey with Liz Deakin as a course contributor.
To sign up to the free course visit www.doncasterdeafsign.org.uk