A general election usually brings with it a flurry of activity and at DeafLondon HQ it was no different!
We were very lucky to receive funding from the marvellous Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (JRRT) to provide a series of BSL-led projects. Our funding has allowed us to:
• Translate the manifestoes of the lead parties into BSL
• Provide training for BSL users to prepare them for meeting their MP.
• Collate a series of Vox Pops from the deaf community sharing their views on the election.
• Build a very exiting tracking tool – to be launched very soon!
BSL translation of Party specific information was a bit hit-and-miss during the election. Some Parties chose to translate summaries, some translated only the parts relating to disability, and some failed to translate any of their information (yes, Conservative Party we do mean you!). We were the only organisation to translate cross-Party manifestoes on the key issues: Policy Overview; Immigration; Welfare; Tax and Environment. Translation was provided by the ever-wonderful Ramon Woolfe.
We are delighted to report that our BSL Manifesto videos were viewed over 10,000 times via FaceBook, with a further 2,000 views via the DeafLondon website.
Overall traffic to our website increased by 597% between January and May, and rose by a whopping 2,858% on the day the BSL manifestos were launched.
Our How To…Lobby Your MP! training course, held at London’s City Hall, was attended by over 30 people and in feedback 90% of respondents said they found the training useful. Attendees were treated to high-level presenters including Parliamentary Adviser to the Dutch Embassy, House of Commons Parliamentary Outreach Officer and well-respected Deaf Professionals.
Our Vox Pops gave BSL users an opportunity to share their opinions – most of which commented on the lack of accessible information. They’ve been viewed over 700 times so far.
These viewing figures show there is a need for BSL and that BSL audiences want to be involved in the democratic process; it’s a lack of access, not apathy, that’s stopping them.