DERRY City and Strabane District Council has partnered with SignVideo to provide a Video Relay Service (VRS) to allow deaf people to independently communicate with Council in British Sign Language (BSL) and Irish Sign Language (ISL).
The news comes as the council celebrates being part of Deaf Awareness Week that takes place until May 9.
The SignVideo service allows customers to make BSL and ISL interpreted video calls via their tablet, smartphone, computer or laptop.
The company’s professional interpreter will relay the call in English to a member of council's staff in real time on a video relay system.
Through SignVideo members of the public can contact any of council's receptions in Strand Road in Derry and Derry Road in Strabane, The Alley Arts and Conference Centre, The Guildhall, Visit Derry Visitor Information Centre, The Tower Museum and the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registrar Offices and avail of the interpretation service.
To call council using SignVideo the public are urged to download the SignVideo app and use the BSL Directory or visit the Derry City and Strabane District Council website at:
Council's Access and Inclusion Project, in partnership with Public Health Agency, are delighted to partner with SignVideo to pilot Video Relay system for our deaf residents.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Brian Tierney, has welcomed the establishment of the service.
He said it will go a long way towards ensuing the deaf community across the council area are given the opportunity to communicate effectively in availing council services.
He said the new service will also help to reduce barriers to communicating with council and promote greater inclusion and equality.
Adele Dunn, senior health improvement officer with the Public Health Authority said: “The PHA is delighted to support the ongoing access inclusion initiatives, which continue to break down barriers to participation for people with disabilities, within the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.
"The implementation of the VRS system within key council buildings will ensure that deaf people have full access to information on council services and programmes and can communicate fully with frontline council staff.
"Breaking down these communication barriers will impact greatly on the health and wellbeing of those who avail of this inclusive service.”
Louise Boyce, council Access and Inclusion co-ordinator explained that this is a timely initiative to support our deaf residents in Deaf Awareness Week, which is a unique annual campaign, we are delighted to promote this phase of our support for our deaf residents.
To view the launch video, visit: https://we.tl/t-NUjeDZBfEd