The Scottish Parliament is now looking at the BSL Bill and for the first time, they are asking you, as a Deaf person, to say something. This is your one chance to influence the decision and make a difference. The Scottish Parliament is watching – make your signs count
the BSL Bill.
Here is a break down of the Scottish Government’s position:
• The Scottish Government welcomes the principles of the BSL (Scotland) Bill, and believes it will promote BSL as a language in Scotland and improve access for Deaf BSL users. They want to set up “a BSL National Advisory Group” and “to consult with BSL users”. That’s important and why your views matter! They think that there should be more time allowed to update the National Plan, from 5 years to 7 years to allow for a more in-depth review.
• They said the Bill doesn’t say much about WHAT SHOULD BE IN the National Plan. The Scottish Government thinks it should include things like education, teaching BSL at school, increasing access to information and services in BSL and the shortage of BSL interpreters.
• The Scottish Government says it expects to spend about £2m on BSL during 2016-20, so another £4m may be needed to implement the Bill.
• Lastly, the Scottish Government recognises the importance of supporting BSL as a language first and then improving access to services and information in BSL. It’s good that they see it as a language first.
WATCH it in BSL: bit.ly/bslscotbillupdate
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
1. How can this Bill help change your life for the better?
2. Remember when you were at school, and couldn’t access information? How could this Bill help?
3. Would it have helped you if your hearing peers had been able to sign, because they’d studied BSL at GCSE instead of French or German?
4. Are you concerned if there were lots more interpreters in 5 years’ time, BUT THESE WERE OF POORER QUALITY? Would you care if the interpreters were online-only instead of face-to-face?
Get your responses in and show your signs, by 2 February.
Imagine a world
Without speaking your language
Your language is English
Imagine you are very ill
You go to the doctor
You try to explain
Your doctor doesn’t understand you
No English interpreter booked
A few weeks later you are critically ill
In hospital and death is at the door
Unfairness…Lack of access
Imagine you are at school
Sitting in a classroom
Full of children laughing and chatting away in another language, not in English
Imagine you go to a restaurant
You try to order some food
The menu is not in English
You try to order
The waiter doesn’t understand you
Hunger grows…Lost in translation grows
Imagine you go to a train station
Running for your life
To catch the train to London
You caught it
You are out of breath
Later you realise it is the wrong train
Because you missed the announcement
That the train to London changed platform
Imagine you are at work
You try to ask your colleagues some questions
Your colleagues hardly understand English
Now tell me
Wouldn’t you wish your English language
To become an official language and an Act, would you?
What about us?
Deaf people and their beautiful rich BSL language?
Would you consider the BSL (Scotland) Bill now for us, wouldn’t you?
WATCH Leah in BSL: bit.ly/leahpoem