The BDA is made up of 59 hard working and passionate staff members, overseen by our Director of Community Development & Operations
Tasked with leading the BDA into the next phase of community development, Damian comes from a strong management and community development background, recently delivering several projects within Northern Ireland and Deaf Village Ireland.
Former CEO of Hearing Concern, Damian has also held the posts of Community Fundraising Manager for the British Red Cross and Director of Training and Operations with Friends For Young Deaf People, delivering the programme as far as New Zealand.
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).
Christie's role covers a wide range of areas including Administration, Membership, Finance, HR and Governance and is responsible for three staff members, as well as mentors/guides and two remote administration officers.
Before moving to the UK from Australia, Christie had been working for the Northern Territory Government for over 10 years. In that time she had the privilege of working for five departments (Department of Construction & Infrastructure , Department of Housing, Local Government & Regional Services , Department of Justice , Department of Lands and Planning and Department of Children and Families) and gained a host of experience in Finance & Administration and management.