Young Moray BSL Users Climb New Heights Together
On the day that a sign language interpreter was used at a Scottish Council meeting for the first time, we ran a taster session for Deaf families and took a group of young BSL (British Sign Language) users from Moray rock climbing.
Whilst the Council’s Communities Committee were debating their new BSL Plan; we were kitting out the group with their harnesses and helmets and heading out to Cummingston, where the young people were all going to spend the day rock climbing and abseiling with our Outdoor Instructors, Chris, David and Gemma. Having just joined our Charity, this was Gemma’s first outdoor activity with us and the perfect opportunity for her to use her own BSL skills.
Heather Johnston, of Moray BSL says, ‘I reached out to Outfit Moray at the end of last year to ask if they were able to provide adventure activities for Deaf families; ie Deaf children, children of Deaf adults and siblings of Deaf children. It has been suggested there are around 250 young people in Moray who could potentially meet the criteria and it’s a group that are not currently being ‘targeted’ for activities together’.
One of Outfit Moray’s Values is never to exclude anyone so, following Heather’s approach, we were successful in being awarded £250 through the Moray Soup initiative in March. This kickstarted our funding and enabled us to run our highly successful taster session on 26th June.
Our CEO, Tony Brown, explains, ‘The taster session was all about bringing young BSL users together, giving them the opportunity to communicate with their peers and taking part in an adventurous outdoor activity, to find out if this was something they would benefit from on a regular basis.’
Keith Grammar School pupil, Beth Croft said, ‘I was totally over the moon with this experience and can’t thank Outfit Moray enough. It was great to be able to meet someone for the first time and hold a conversation using BSL.’ ‘I normally only sign with my Mum, so it was really different to sign with someone my own age and chat about our kind of stuff! My brother and I can’t wait to come back and meet more young people who use BSL; today definitely helped us feel more confident about signing outside of our family’.
Cllr Theresa Coull (Beth’s Grandmother) commented, ‘Tuesday was a first for local authorities when Moray Council had a paper brought forward regarding the BSL plan which was signed throughout by two BSL interpreters.
Another first today was Outfit Moray’s taster session bringing the deaf community together; deaf adults and their children, deaf children, along with siblings and children of deaf adults to engage in various activities and meet with others like themselves. This is a great opportunity to be able to talk and share their problems and experiences as sometimes they can feel very isolated. Outfit Moray is a charity and is very dependent on donations to be able to achieve this service which will be of great benefit to the users.’
Hopefully, by the time the Council approve their BSL Plan, bringing them into compliance with the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015, Outfit Moray will have the funding to provide outdoor activities to Deaf families on a regular basis.
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