Glasgow counselors want sign language lessons to help them communicate


British Sign Language (BSL) courses should be available for members of Glasgow City Council, according to councilors campaigning to support people with hearing loss.

The importance of sign language has been in the spotlight over the past year, with Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon having a BSL interpreter for all of his briefings during the Covid pandemic.

At present there are only 50 BSL interpreters for the whole of Scotland, and although the council is committed to providing training for workers in key sectors, it was not clear whether counselors could be assisted in learning to sign.

Earlier this week, members of the General Goals Committee asked if councilors and council staff might have the option of attending a BSL class to help them communicate more effectively with their constituents.

On Tuesday, a report was presented to the committee that showed how the board’s action plan to promote and support BSL users was progressing.

This comes after the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015 and the National Plan for British Sign Language 2017-2023 requiring Scottish public bodies to publish local action plans in 2018 and every six years by the following.

A master plan has been developed in consultation with BSL users and focuses on key themes identified by the Scottish Government, service users, services and partners.

They included family support, early learning and care, school education, training, work and social security, health and mental health and welfare services.

This week, union adviser Gary Gray asked if there was a BSL course available for committee members and other councilors who wanted to learn sign language.

He said: “As a minister, I worked with a few BSL signatories at funerals and one of the ladies told me that there was a lack of people who could do sign language and I thought that it was encouraging for someone like me. make the effort to be able to communicate more.

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A board member informed him that prior to covid, BSL classes were run by the City of Glasgow College and that he would check which classes were still available to help those who wanted to learn sign language.

The board will also look at the number of people working for the board who are registered as deaf to see what additional facilities they can provide to help them.

Councilor James Scanlon said: “The employment for people with disabilities is huge and the shortage of interpreters is huge and has been for many years.

“It is not an easy thing to do to learn to be a performer. There are three stages and many people abandon the second.

“If we could find a sign language course somewhere that would be great. “

Presidential Councilor Christina Cannon added, “I think committee members would be interested in a course so that they can communicate with their constituents. “


Sylvester L. Goldfarb