Our Social Values through Sign Language
BDA’s vision, mission, values
Founded in 1890, the British Deaf Association (BDA) is a national Deaf-led organisation that works directly with Deaf people that use British Sign Language (BSL). Our work concentrates on campaigning for equal rights on a national level and working at a local level empowering Deaf people to achieve access to their local public services. This is carried out through projects delivering individual and community advocacy. We also work to ensure BSL is included by public bodies by delivering a public commitment through signing the BSL Charter.
Our Board of Trustees are all Deaf (we use the capitalised ‘D’ to denote the fact that we have a separate language and culture and 80% of our staff are Deaf themselves).
Many Deaf people who use BSL lack access to education, health services, employment and other public services. Our work is designed to empower Deaf people and to improve access to general information and public services. We seek to achieve this by working with Deaf people at the local level through setting up forums to lobby public bodies and supporting Deaf people individually.
This is in line with the overall BDA objectives, which are: Deaf Equality, Access and Freedom of choice
If you would like to download a copy of the British Deaf Association's Articles of Association, please click here: BDA Articles of Association (PDF)
Our vision is Deaf people fully participating and contributing as equal and valued citizens in the wider society.
Our Mission is to ensure a world in which the language, culture, community, diversity and heritage of Deaf people in the UK is respected and fully protected, ensuring that Deaf people can participate and contribute as equal and valued citizens in the wider society.
This will be achieved through:
- Improving the quality of life by empowering Deaf individuals and groups;
- Enhancing freedom, equality and diversity;
- Protecting and promoting BSL.
The BDA is a Deaf people’s organisation representing a diverse, vibrant and ever-changing community of Deaf people. Our activities, promotions, and partnerships with other organisations aim to empower our community towards full participation and contribution as equal and valued citizens in the wider society. We also aim to act as guardians of BSL.
- Protecting our Deaf culture and Identity - we value Deaf peoples’ sense of Deaf culture and identity derived from belonging to a cultural and linguistic group, sharing similar beliefs and experiences with a sense of belonging,
- Asserting our linguistic rights - we value the use of BSL as a human right. As such, BSL must be preserved, protected and promoted because we also value the right of Deaf people to use their first or preferred language.
- Fostering our community - we value Deaf people with diverse perspectives, experiences and abilities. We are committed to equality and the elimination of all forms of discrimination with a special focus on those affecting Deaf people and their language.
- Achieving equality in legal, civil and human rights - we value universal human rights such as the right to receive education and access to information in sign language, and freedom from political restrictions on our opportunities to become full citizens.
- Developing our alliance - we value those who support us and are our allies because they share our vision and mission, and support our BSL community.
What we stand for
- This means that Deaf people are able to access information, services and support in their preferred language, to have the same opportunities to achieve the same life outcomes as anyone else. UK-wide legal recognition of British and Irish Sign Languages (BSL and ISL) is key step in raising awareness, recognition and respect, and achieving equality of access and opportunity for Deaf people.
- Every Deaf person must have access to services from Government level down to their local shop in their preferred language.
Freedom of Choice
- Every Deaf person should have the right to choose to sign or speak or both without sanction and without obstacles.
- We believe that every Deaf person has the right to communicate in their preferred language
- We believe that every Deaf child has the right to bi-lingual education