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More work needed on sign language

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
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More work needed on sign language

A BRITISH Sign Language (BSL) plan that has been adopted for the past five years in Dumfries and Galloway is set to be ripped up because it’s not good enough.

And much more needs to be done to support and promote British Sign Language (BSL) in Dumfries and Galloway, according to an expert.

Deaf Kirkcudbright man John Denerley, who was elected as a councillor for Dee and Glenkens at the elections last May, said he is “disappointed” with the lack of progress made in this region.

He also complained about how an interpreter job with Dumfries and Galloway Council was not filled for a lengthy period, and suggested that the council’s 2018-2024 plan for promoting BSL was not up to scratch.

Discussing the matter via an interpreter at the council’s communities committee last week, he stated: “We’ve had five years to do more. For example, with access to interpreting services where I feel that the standard has continued to lower.

“So, I want to make sure that we’re really trying to improve areas where we can, and have a plan for the next few years.

“It would be lovely to have a new plan set up because I think there already have been some discussions in Dumfries and Galloway, with councils, NHS boards, with police public bodies.”

Richard Grieveson, the council’s head of community services, said: ““The current position affords us the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to this agenda, and certainly we’ll be looking to work with partners to refresh the current and agreed British Sign Language plan to reflect more our current ambitions.”

Linsey Little, the council’s poverty and inequalities manager, responded to Mr Denerley: “There have been a number of delays with some of the BSL work, however I do think now we’re in a very good position with yourself being recently elected, and we’ve got the new member of staff as well.

“The new plan is due in 2024 and that’s when this plan comes to a conclusion. I believe that when our local plan was developed it was very much based on the national plan set by the Scottish Government.

“Some of those targets we’ve perhaps got in our local plan aren’t necessary relevant or appropriate for our local area.

“So, we do want to look at these for next year, and make sure that whatever actions or objectives we put in there are really focused on our local area and the people here.”

A progress report will be produced in June.

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