New British Sign Language service launched in Redbridge • Vision RCL

New British Sign Language service launched in Redbridge

Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure are launching Interpreters Live in partnership with the Newham Language Shop and the London Borough of Redbridge 

A new service has launched in Redbridge, This new service has been introduced to support deaf people to contact the Council and Vision RCL, without needing to rely on friends and family to make phone calls on their behalf. 

People in Redbridge now have the option to speak to staff using a video British Sign language (BSL) service, where an interpreter will translate the conversation between call centre staff, and the caller. Local people are welcome to use this service if they need to speak about any service offered by Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure or Redbridge Council’s services, including housing, bin collections, and council tax. 

Local people are encouraged to find any information first on the Vision website, where they can join our libraries or leisure centres online, or visit Redbridge Council’s website to pay a parking fine, report a missed bin, and access many other services, but for people who still need to contact us, the BSL line is available. 

Marlene from Sensory Specialists Ltd, the council’s provider for sensory support in Redbridge, advocates for improving access within organisations. Her advocacy is particularly informed by her personal experience as a child of deaf adults. Marlene  said, “Contacting public services and local and national companies is difficult for people who are deaf, and everyone has different communication needs.  

“For some individuals, communication through lip-reading or written correspondence, such as pen and paper, is possible, but this is not ideal and is open to miscommunication and misunderstanding.  It all comes down to making it possible to access comprehensible information, in accordance with Accessible Information Standards.   

“The introduction of the BSL On Demand service in Redbridge is truly exciting. It signifies significant progress and addresses a long-standing need.” 

Heleema a local resident who helped test the new BSL service said, “I’m a mother, I have children and my husband is hearing. I don’t want to rely on my husband to communicate and make phone calls for me. I find it really stressful. But this new system is perfect because if I want to phone or come in and speak to someone on reception, I can go into a room and get the interpreter on a video call. I want to thank the council, it’s really useful for the future.” 

A council spokesperson said, “We know it’s important for everyone to be able to contact the council in the way that works for them, be it online or over the phone. We have brought in the BSL service to give our deaf residents a strong customer experience, and one they can use themselves, rather than having to rely on other people to phone on their behalf. This is part of us striving to provide a seamless customer experience for all local people.” 
Chair of Vision Trustees, Martin Solder said: 

“Everyone should be given the opportunity to access leisure and cultural facilities, this brand new interpretation service offered by Interpreters Live, is just one of the steps we are taking to ensure we are knocking down the barriers to deaf people accessing our services.”

Customers can access the BSL service by visiting the Contact Us page on our website and selecting the button to contact us using a BSL interpreter.