NUBSLI adds its voice to call for British Sign Language interpreting at live national addresses

By NUBSLI | Published on 16 March 2020

Related: Coronavirus Covid-19

The spread of COVID-19 has been an extremely challenging time for the country. To ensure that all people have access to the important information coming from Downing Street and health professionals, requires this information to be available in British Sign Language.

NUBSLI has added its voice as a signatory, along with the organisations below, to the following letter sent by the legal firm Fry Law to the Prime Minister.

The Right Honourable Boris Johnson MP

Dear Prime Minister,

RE: Inclusion of Deaf People in Live National Addresses on Coronavirus – provision of British Sign Language Interpreting at Live National Addresses

We write on behalf of various Deaf people, and Deaf peoples’ organisations and charities who have contacted us to ask us to draw your attention to the importance of ensuring that your communications are accessible to them, in particular at this time of concern about the coronavirus.

This is an extremely challenging time for the population and the government and the aim of the daily briefings, to ensure that people are updated as to the actions taken in response to the virus, are particularly important. It is therefore crucial that the advice which your Government provides, including by way of the live daily television addresses is accessible to Deaf people both in meeting equality obligations, but also in recognition of the fact that without such interpretation Deaf people whose first language is BSL will be unable to access this critical information.

In addition, we ask you to have regard to the need for BSL English Interpreters to be available to assist Deaf people affected by changes made to front line services, in health care in particular but on the delivery of any public services where deaf and disabled people are likely to be subject to sudden change of plans.

At such a time of national concern it is important that everyone plays their part in ensuring that the impact of the virus is minimised as far as possible, but this can only be done with access to the relevant information. Should your office require assistance with sourcing BSL interpreters then any one of the signatories to this letter below will be pleased to assist.

Most Respectfully,

  • Fry Law
  • Royal Association for Deaf People
  • National Registers of Communication Professionals
  • Love Language Ltd
  • UK Council on Deafness
  • Action Deafness
  • ‘The Limping Chicken’ blog
  • National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI)
  • The Deaf LGBTIQA project
  • Stop Changes to Access to Work #StopChanges2AtW
  • Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI)