A selection of front line staff from Casey recently attended a one day training course in British Sign Language (BSL).

The in-house course, which was delivered by training specialists HearFirst, was organised to improve communications between staff and residents who are deaf, deafened, deafblind or hard of hearing.

Debbie Hubbard, Corporate Services at Casey, said: “The course gave us a good introduction to BSL, but also covered many of the issues that you should be aware of when dealing with deaf people or those who are hard of hearing.

“Sign language is a useful skill to have and I know that the staff who attended the course found it really useful and feel that it will help them in future. By investing in staff training, it demonstrates our commitment to our clients and our ethos of caring for the community.”

Roy Looms, Resident Liaison Officer at Casey has been working at the company for nine years and attended the training course.  He said: “I learned a little bit of sign language when I was about sixteen, but really only the alphabet.  More recently I had an experience with a deaf resident where I tried to sign all the letters of the words, as if I was speaking them.  It was very difficult and the resident understood more from reading my lips than from my signing.

“After attending the HearFirst course, I now understand that BSL uses fewer words, and not always in the same order that I would speak them.  If you know the vocabulary, that makes it much easier.  I didn’t think I would learn too much on a one day course, but I was really surprised at how much we managed to do.  The trainers taught us words that are relevant to what we do at Casey.  It was a really great course, and I’ve since been on the BSL website to learn some more.”

Julie Ryder, Director and Founder of HearFirst, said: “More and more organisations such as Casey recognise the importance of delivering a quality service to all residents regardless of their disability.  Our goal with all HearFirst courses is to provide value for money, thought provoking, fun and interesting training that motivates and inspires people to make real changes for real people.  We tailored the course specifically for their staff and the residents that they may work with in future.  We have just recently delivered similar training courses to housing associations such as Progress Housing and Great Places Housing Group and like them, the staff at Casey were really keen to learn and embraced the course.” 

The course gave Casey a good introduction to BSL, but also covered many of the issues that you should be aware of when dealing with deaf people or those who are hard of hearing.  We have put some more information about Deaf Awareness on our blog.

At the end of the training session, staff made the short video above.