Thursday 12 November was a great night for everyone who is working to achieve a society in which deaf people have full access.
150 nominees and guests packed into the exquisite Private Rooms of the Crowne Plaza Hotel Buckingham Gate for the Signature Annual Awards Ceremony.
Four outstanding individuals and one organisation received recognition for their efforts to create a more accessible society for Deaf People. The awards recognised organisational achievement, teacher of the year, learner of the year, communication professional of the year, and outstanding achievement.
Sara Scanlon received the Signature Communication Professional of the Year Award for her work as a lipspeaker and voluntary contribution to her profession as Chair and secretary of the Association of Lip Speakers. Presenting the Award Hilary Maxwell Hislop, Director of Examinations at the IoL Educational Trust, Chartered Institute of Linguists told the audience that the service communication professionals deliver is often the difference between equality and exclusion for deaf people.
Kathryn Board the Chief Executive of CiLT, the National Centre for Languages presented the award for learner of the year to Jon Hickman.
Jon, from Poole, did Signature Level 1 British Sign Language at Poole Adult Learning in Dorset. He immediately put his new knowledge and skills into action as a volunteer assistant at summer camps for deafblind children. The judges congratulated Jon for using his skills to benefit the community.
Jim Edwards, Signature Chief Executive, presented Hertfordshire Constabulary with the Organisational Achievement award for it’s corporate commitment to accessible services. The force has brought together technical investment and staff training to make sure deaf citizens have full access to the police in times of the most acute need.
A Deaf Jersey man, Robert Le Masurier, who is the only sign language teacher on the island walked away with the Teacher of the Year Award. In presenting the Award Dr Christopher Stone, Chair of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters, told the audience how important inspirational teachers are to learners. Robert’s inclusive approach to teaching encourages the families of Deaf children and all members of the community to get involved in learning Sign Language.
The final award of the evening was the most prestigious. Craig Crowley President of the World Committee on Deaf Sport presented Lynn Delfosse with the Joseph Maitland Robinson Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Lynne, a Sign Language interpreter from Swansea in South Wales, joins an elite group whose contribution has earned this prominent award for her work convincing the Welsh Assembly Government to provide £2.7 million, which she used to quadruple the number of interpreters in Wales. Now working across the UK, Lynn’s drive and commitment has helped one in ten of all UK registered interpreters to qualify, greatly improving access for the Deaf community.
Commenting last night, Jim Edwards Signature Chief Executive said; “This year’s awards have been a huge success. Our winners very much deserve all the praise they have received. More than 200 nominations were made across all categories and all our finalists deserve credit for their achievements.
“We’re already planning next year’s event and look forward to hearing about more people and organisations that are really making a difference for deaf communications and deaf people across the whole of the UK.”
From Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and every region of England, the standard and sheer quantity of nominations received speaks volumes about the amazing work and huge effort that is undertaken all over the country. Each and every one brings to life the Signature vision of a society in which Deaf and Deafblind people have full access.
Nominations for the 2010 Signature Annual Awards open on Monday 8th February at www.signature.org.uk/awards