Doncaster Deaf Trust is leading the charge to support this year’s Deaf Awareness Week. 

The national awareness campaign runs from 4-10 May 2020 and the organisation, which manages Communication Specialist College Doncaster, Doncaster School for the Deaf, Little Learners Day Nursery, Dickson House Children’s Home and the Specialist Employability Service, is hoping to use the profile of the week to make as many people as possible ‘deaf aware’ as well as raising vital funds to support their students.

As part of the activity the Trust, which this year celebrates its190th anniversary, has joined forces with a number of organisations across the borough for the ‘Come Sign with us!’ campaign which will see those getting involved learn to sign. Doncaster Rovers, South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are all taking part and have been tasked with learning some British Sign Language (BSL) key phrases related to their field of work.

Others to sign up include CAST, Right up Our Street, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Lakeside Village, XP School and Jill Wood who is the current President of the Doncaster Chamber of Commerce and managing director of Signum Facilities Management.

The culmination of the event will be on Monday 4 May when, over a 12-hour period, videos of all those involved will be shown on the Deaf Trust’s social media channels.

In addition, the Trust is encouraging children to get signing themselves by taking part in a sponsored five-day BSL challenge where they can try and learn how to sign some new words and phrases each day and ask parents, grandparents and friends to sponsor them. This will be kickstarted on Monday on Doncaster Deaf Trust social media with learning the colours of the rainbow as a symbol of hope for the current situation.

Any money raised will go towards equipment for the new health and wellbeing suite at Doncaster Deaf Trust.

Alexis Johnson, executive principal of Doncaster Deaf Trust, said: “It has been an extremely challenging time for everyone recently but we wanted to bring a bit of positivity and light relief to proceedings by continuing with our plans for Deaf Awareness Week.

“Encouraging as many people as possible to be deaf aware is incredibly important especially during crisis periods like we have had recently as every member of our society needs to have access to clear information that is communicated in a way they understand.

“Deaf Awareness Week gives us a platform to continue to raise the profile of the needs of the deaf community as well as supporting people to learn BSL wherever possible. We’re really pleased that so many organisations across Doncaster are taking part in our ‘Come sign with us!’ campaign and I can’t wait to see all the signing taking place on 4 May.

“In addition, if any individuals want to get involved please do take part in our daily BSL challenge so not only can you learn how to sign but also raise important funds for our new health and wellbeing suite. Whilst society has been so challenged by the lockdown, we are providing remote learning to support many students who because of their own personal situation are profoundly affected. We hear a great deal about mental health and wellbeing and for our cohort we want to be able to offer the very best provision the moment our students return so the new suite will be much needed. We are setting up a JustGiving page for donations to be made."

The videos from the partner organisations will be shown on Doncaster Deaf Trust Facebook and Twitter accounts from 7am-7pm on Monday 4 May.

Doncaster Deaf Trust, based on Leger Way, recently launched a free online BSL course which has seen nearly 9,500 people sign up. Details for the course can be found here: www.doncasterdeafsign.org.uk