On Wednesday 6th October 2021, Rosie Cooper, MP, met with representatives from the Deaf Sector to discuss a British Sign Language Bill which she will bring forward as a Private Member’s Bill in January 2022.
The aims of the British Sign Language (BSL) Bill will be to declare BSL as an official language of the United Kingdom, provide for a BSL Council that will be able to promote and advise on matters relating to the language, and mechanisms to remove the barriers faced by Deaf Sign Language users.
The BSL Act Now! Campaign, led by the British Deaf Association (BDA), includes support from several other Deaf charities and organisations whose purpose is to support the Deaf community. The group are the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), Royal National Institute for Deaf people (RNID), Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD), Signature, Institute of British Sign Language (iBSL), SignHealth, National Register of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD), and Black Deaf UK.
The group discussed with Rosie Cooper MP how we can best use our joint resources to build a strong case to MPs for them to support the Bill, sharing experiences of the challenges Deaf people have faced which the Bill could potentially alleviate – as well as how such an Act will enable public services and government departments to improve access and inclusion for Deaf people.
Rosie Cooper MP and the Minister for Disabled People are hosting a roundtable meeting to discuss the BSL Bill and the Equality Act. The meeting will be attended by a number of Government Departments at the ministerial level and a representative from the British Deaf Association.
We have begun creating campaign resources and support materials to provide the campaign with the best chance of success in January 2022.
Rosie Cooper MP said: “Together we are working really hard to ensure this Bill will make a real difference to Deaf sign language users lives. The roundtable with Government Ministers will be key to bringing them onside by proving that this bill is needed.”
To stay up to date with the BSL Bill campaign, please email: BSLActNow@bda.org.uk
Notes to editors:
The BSL Act Now! campaign is being led by the British Deaf Association (BDA) to support the Deaf community to come together and campaign for the introduction of legal recognition of British Sign Language (BSL) and to create public policy mechanisms which can remove the barriers that society places in front of Deaf BSL users.
The following organisations are supporting the campaign:
British Deaf Association (BDA)
National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS)
Royal National Institute for Deaf people (RNID)
Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD)
Black Deaf UK
Institute of British Sign Language (iBSL)
National Register of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD)
Matthew.firstname.lastname@example.org / 07519 115 781