Record numbers sign up for deaf awards

Nominations flying in for the Signature Annual Awards scheme.

The Signature Annual Awards are designed to recognise and reward those who have made in their own way a significant contribution toward achieving a society in which deaf people have full access.

Signature, the charity that runs the awards, have had over 100 people and organisations sign up to nominate from all over the UK with a range of both deaf and hearing people being put forward for awards.

However, with the May 3 deadline for the Learner of the Year and Teacher of the Year categories approaching, there is limited time to ensure that those deserving the recognition receive it and anyone making nominations is urged to do so via the website before it is too late.

As well as the top learners and teachers of communication methods used by deaf and deafblind people, registered communication professionals, individuals and leading organisations are also being put forward for their work with the deaf community.

Examples of the sort of people who are nominated for an award include the likes of Ryan Williams from Sunderland. Ryan, who works at Sunderland Football Club Foundation, took it upon himself to learn British Sign Language in order to work more effectively with young deaf children learning football skills.

Ryan said: “I’m thrilled to be nominated for this award and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the judges are impressed with what we’re doing here at Sunderland. We have very close links with our fans through the Foundation and learning sign language ensures that as many people as possible can get involved in our community programme.”

Meanwhile in Liverpool, eight-year-old Amelia McCabe has also been nominated for the exceptional way in which she has developed her communication skills. She is already studying for her Level 2 Certificate in British Sign Language having completed Level 1 at the age of just six. Both Ryan and Amelia are nominated in the Learner of the Year category.

In Northampton, England Deaf Rugby Union has been put forward for its work in helping deaf people participate in group sport. It is hoping to scoop the Organisational Achievement award at the glittering awards ceremony being held in London later this year.

Tony Stoyles, Director of Rugby, said: “These awards give us the opportunity to highlight the good work being done that can so often go under most people’s radar. We are always keen to celebrate the work of our coaches and players as they do everything voluntarily and in their own time, they deserve the recognition.”

On May 11, regional shortlists for the Teacher of the Year and Learner of the Year categories will be announced with winners notified on May 26. They will be automatically submitted to the shortlist for the national awards to be presented at The Private Rooms, Buckingham Gate, in London on November 12.

The shortlist for the Outstanding Contribution, Communication Professional of the Year and Organisational Achievement award will be announced on Monday 27 July.

Signature – the national awarding body that administers accredited qualifications in signed languages and other methods of communication used by deaf and deafblind people – is running the awards for the first time.

Signature Chief Executive, Jim Edwards, said: “We’ve been thrilled by the variety of individuals and organisations engaging with the awards scheme.

“We want to achieve a society in which deaf people experience no communication barriers. The awards celebrate the achievements of so many who have gone the extra mile to work towards this and also bring issues surrounding deaf communication into the public consciousness.”

Signature, formerly known as the CACDP operates throughout the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands.

People can study for Signature’s qualifications at more than 700 locations and the organisation also administers the National Registers for Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind people.

Full details of the awards and how to nominate for them can be found at

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