The BDA is made up of our hard-working and passionate staff members, overseen by our Director of Community Development & Operations
Avril Hepner is a Deaf BSL user with a passion for BSL. She used to teach BSL to hearing learners for many years and also trained BSL teachers on how to teach BSL courses with BSL curricula. She also provided BSL Linguistics courses for BSL teachers in the UK over the years. She studies at Durham University, University of Bristol, University College of London and Heriot-Watt University to gain qualifications and Post Graduate in BSL teaching and Linguistics.
Avril has worked with the British Deaf Association for 12 years and has been involved in various roles such as developing BSL Curricula for BSL teachers and learners in the UK, BSL Charter, and advocacy for the Deaf community in Scotland. She is currently the Community Development Manager for BDA Scotland and manages 4 staff for engaging with the Deaf Community in relation to BSL (Scotland) Act. As part of her involvement in advocating the BSL (Scotland) Act, Avril was invited to take part in the Education and Culture Committee panel, to give her views and support on behalf of the BDA and the Deaf community in Scotland. Avril is now working closely on BSL (Scotland) Act developments with the BSL National Plan.
Community Development Manager
Majella started with the BDA NI in 1997 as a Community Advocacy Officer and since that time has been promoted into a variety of roles, resulting in her most recent position in June 2015 of Community Development Manager for Northern Ireland. Throughout her time in BDA NI, Majella has led, managed and delivered a wide range of projects and programmes involving a diverse range of funding sources and stakeholders.
Majella has worked with politicians, Assembly Members and various other government departments while simultaneously advocating and encouraging the Deaf community to speak out for what they feel is necessary to achieve equality. Majella is heavily involved in government and other consultations and was the lead manager on the Sign Language Framework consultation, the Regional Review of Communication Support Services (Department of Health & Social Services) and Children and Young People's Strategy 2017-2027 (Northern Ireland Executive and Department of Education).