Antrim and Newtownabbey to become a ‘deaf-friendly’ council

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has voted unanimously to commit to being a “deaf-friendly” council.

This means that the local authority will commit to providing signing on social media videos to highlight important events and announcements.

The council is also likely to introduce sign courses for staff, appoint a “deaf champion” and commit to approving deaf awareness by working with neighbouring councils and deaf organisations.

In February, Mid and East Antrim also committed to becoming a “deaf-friendly” council.

Council headquarters at Mossley Mill.

Mid and East Antrim plans to ensure that all services will be accessible to those with hearing difficulties and signing will be provided on social media to highlight important events and announcements. Click here

On Monday evening, a meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council was signed partially for the first time by British Sign Language and Irish Sign Language interpreters.

The motion was proposed by DUP Councillor Mark Cooper and seconded by fellow Threemilewater Councillor Julie Gilmore (Alliance), who said: “We in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council commit to “making services as inclusive as possible to all members of the community”.

Antrim SDLP Councillor Roisin Lynch added: “I would also want to welcome this very valuable motion. I would urge all in the chamber to support it.”

Ulster Unionst Councillor Robert Foster pointed out that it fits well with the council’s Disability Charter that the authority is “fully inclusive with services open to every one of our residents right across the borough”.

Commenting on the decision, British Deaf Association Northern Ireland said online: “The approval of this motion will mean improved services for our deaf community including signing on social media videos to highlight important event and notices, introduction of sign language courses for staff, appointing a ‘deaf champion’ and signing up to BDA’s British Sign Language/Irish Sign Language Charter.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter


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