Welcome to 2024! At Deaf Unity we love the start to a new year – an opportunity to plan our efforts for the year, for ourselves, the deaf world and beyond. We firmly believe in the power of community and that we as an organisation cannot bring about the changes we all need by ourselves.
This year we move ahead with our clarified strategy to provide meaningful support to deaf people at critical points of transition in their lives. These are: leaving school, moving into employment, and securing meaningful employment and mobility. Having spoken with deaf people, we recognise the need for a consistent presence of support to ensure people are informed and empowered to make decisions and have the same opportunities as their hearing peers.
There are a whole host of organisations working hard to make a difference to deaf people’s lives. Our hope this year is that deaf organisations will continue to support and champion each other.
The British Deaf Association continue their work campaigning for great access, support and recognition for BSL. In particular, they hope to lobby the government to get families with deaf children access to BSL as soon as the child is diagnosed as deaf. You can read more about their plans and strategy in our Deaf Role Model interview with the CEO, Rebecca Mansell, as well as finding out more about the BSL Alliance.
SignHealth continue to strive to improve deaf health and wellbeing, and campaign to remove barriers to health care for deaf people. They provide health-related information in BSL, as well as access to therapy and domestic abuse support in BSL. They also provide social care, outreach and advocacy services. The current CEO, James Watson-O’Neill, talks about the power of collaboration across the community in his
The National Deaf Children’s Society campaign for a world without barriers for deaf children. In 2024 they continue their work focusing on early years development and support from the moment of diagnosis through to the first year of school.
More broadly in the UK we prepare for the launch of the BSL GCSE, which the government aims to be taught from September 2025.
Beyond the UK, the World Federation of the Deaf represents deaf people’s rights on a global scale. After the World Congress in Korea in 2023, we look forward to seeing how they will continue to advocate for the human rights of deaf people worldwide in 2024.
Many of these organisations are participating in the new Deaf Together campaign – as is Deaf Unity – with the mission to end the inequalities all deaf people face. They state that the only way to make change happen is to build a movement of deaf and hearing people to come together and take action. Rather than focusing on one area of access and equality, Deaf Together brings together all the various deaf organisations, to leverage expertise and resources to enhance impact. It also recognises that inequality in one area is often affected by inequality in another, so a holistic approach to access needs to be taken.
The above is just a few of the many brilliant organisations working to make a better, more equal and more inclusive world. We hope everyone who holds these values moves through 2024 with positivity and purpose, and we are excited to see what we can achieve collectively.