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Assembly Proves Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Added 26 May 2011

Northern Ireland Assembly

Story from the Norhern Ireland Assembly website

The Northern Ireland Assembly today became the first legislature in the United Kingdom to be awarded the prestigious RNID Action on Hearing Loss "Louder than Words" best practice chartermark.

The "Louder than Words" charter mark was awarded to the Northern Ireland Assembly following a lengthy audit process, during which the organisation was required to demonstrate a commitment to improving access and services to deaf and hard of hearing people.

New equipment such as an upgrade to the hearing loop system, additional signage and the introduction of whispering tour equipment has been introduced. Assembly staff have also undergone training in Deaf Awareness and communication tactics to ensure that they are able to recognise and facilitate the very particular needs of deaf and hard of hearing visitors.

Accepting the award on behalf of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Speaker William Hay said "The Northern Ireland Assembly is extremely proud to be the first legislature in the United Kingdom to receive this award. We are committed to ensuring that the Assembly is a welcoming and accessible space for all who wish to visit and participate in the democratic process."

"There are more than 250,000 people living with hearing loss in Northern Ireland and I hope the steps that we have taken to implement the "Louder than Words" charter mark will encourage more of them to visit the Assembly."

Jackie White, NI Director of RNID Action on Hearing Loss said "We welcome the Assembly's commitment to ensuring that people who are deaf or who have a hearing loss have full access to their services. The Northern Ireland Assembly has set an important precedent that we hope other UK legislatures will follow."