Doncaster Deaf Trust has today (27 March) launched a free online British Sign Language (BSL) course.

The online course, developed thanks to National Lottery Funding, will enable users to learn Level One BSL.

Alexis Johnson, executive principal of Doncaster Deaf Trust said: “We are thrilled to be able to launch this free resource for people during this unprecedented time.

“Our team have been working hard to develop the online course and have brought the launch forward so that people who are at home can access the course and learn a new skill.

“Sign Language is a great communication tool for people to learn and we know that there are many campaigns to have British Sign Language taught in schools.

“This course will teach families, young people and businesspeople the basics of communicating via sign.

“We are sure that this platform will also be useful to people who are helping the Deaf community as the Covid-19 pandemic and government measures regarding social distancing and isolation will mean that some Deaf people will need help and assistance and basic sign language knowledge will help massively in making them feel reassured.”

The first section of the course covers basic signs including greetings, numbers, addressing people, travel and transport and hobbies. The course is not yet complete and further sections of level one will be released in the next few weeks.

“It is simple to sign up and you can run through the course at your own pace, doing a little each day and practicing as often as you can.

“Huge thanks to Natalie Pollard who is the course designer and one of the signers, Mike Beslin, the eLearning course producer from the Trust and our signers who have worked tirelessly to make this happen. Without the Lottery Funding this would not have been possible, so a big thank you goes out to them too.

“We are looking forward to seeing lots of people sign up to the course and develop a new skill that will help them to communicate with the Deaf community.

“Anyone wanting to share videos or photos of them practicing their new skills should tag Doncaster Deaf Trust Facebook page in their posts,” added Alexis.

Actors and signers on the course include Janet Eakets, Karen Glennon, Karen Holdsworth and Simon Tacey with Liz Deakin as a course contributor.

To sign up to the free course visit www.doncasterdeafsign.org.uk

Here are our frequently asked questions, these should help you to get started.

Doncaster Deaf Trust: British Sign Language Level One Course funded by the National Lottery. 

What shall I do, I’m having trouble signing up?

Please try again by retyping the web address into a fresh browser and respond to pop up questions.

I’ve not received my confirmation email, what should I do?

We are currently receiving an unprecedented number of sign-ups to the BSL website and as a result the confirmation e-mails are taking a little longer than usual. If your email it does not appear in your in-box within an hour, please check your Junk/Spam folder; you will need to add the www.doncasterdeafsign.org.uk website to your approved list.

How long will this course remain available?

The course will remain online for a minimum of two years. We will be applying for funding to cover this being extended.

Is the course accredited?

The course is not accredited but you can pay to take an exam at the end of it and if you pass you will have an accredited qualification.

Can I take an exam?

Doncaster Deaf Trust can assist you in taking the Level One examination when the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown is lifted. We will work with the awarding body www.signature.org.uk who we work closely with to deliver the best options for you. For anyone wishing to take the exam with us, please be patient. We can only organise this when the government gives us permission to resume our normal routine in school and college. If you send your contact details to the e-mail shown below, we will keep them and with your permission, contact you when we're able to organise this. For anyone not living close to us, the awarding body, above, will be able to tell you where your nearest accrediting centre is. For the moment, Signature Staff are not working in the office so please be patient waiting for a reply. Thank you. 

If none of the above solves any difficulty you're having, please send an e-mail, with your name, the e-mail and home address you used when you registered and details of your problem to: [email protected]deaf.org.uk

Thank you.