£25,000 for Deafblind Scotland
Funding will support engagement with deafblind community.
A new project will make it easier for members of the deafblind community to access information and speak out about the issues that affect them.
Deafblind people – though small in number – can face extreme exclusion and isolation because they are unable to access spoken, written or even visual language, which can lead to people feeling ill-informed and excluded from decisions about matters of concern to them.
Deafblind Scotland will receive £25,000 from the Scottish Government to boost the involvement of deafblind people, who use tactile BSL, in civic and community life, including implementing the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill.
It underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to enabling the views of some of Scotland’s most marginalised people to be heard.
Community Empowerment Minister Marco Biagi announced the funding on a visit to meet Deafblind Scotland services users in Lenzie, East Dunbartonshire.
He said: “Everyone in Scotland should be able to have a say on the decisions that matter to them and that includes deafblind people who are often excluded and left out of important conversations with agencies including local authorities and health services.
“Public bodies and community groups may believe it is too challenging to communicate with people who cannot access spoken or written language but the consequence for deafblind people is that this lack of information can leave them feeling extremely isolated.
“This project will tackle these inequalities and give people more opportunities to put forward their views, and have more representation in their communities.
“It will make it easier for deafblind people to be involved in discussions around how new social security powers could help them and it will give the Scottish Government more scope to hear directly from this minority group on how we can remove any barriers and create a Fairer Scotland.”
This funding is in addition to £40,000 from the Scottish Government announced in March to help support engagement between the Deaf BSL community, including deafblind people, and public bodies who will be subject to the BSL (Scotland) Bill.
The project will engage with, recruit and train several Deafblind adults to represent Deafblind Scotland’s members, in meetings with public and community bodies, and with the British Sign Language National Advisory Group which will support the delivery of the new BSL (Scotland) Bill.
The funding will also be used to provide specialist advice to public bodies on how to engage with deafblind people.
Ruth Dorman (Chief Executive) from Deafblind Scotland said: “This is a unique opportunity for Deafblind Scotland, along with three other organisations, the Scottish Government and the Voluntary Action Fund, to collaborate and work in partnership.
“Deafblind Scotland members will bring knowledge and expertise to the table, impacting on Deaf/Deafblind/BSL users and public bodies across Scotland.”
Notes To Editors
The BSL (Scotland) Bill aims to promote the use and understanding of British Sign Language and makes specific reference to ‘tactile BSL’. It makes it a requirement for BSL plans to be prepared and published by Scottish Ministers and by listed public authorities.
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