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Sign language provider Signature marks 30th anniversary
Signature, a provider of British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The charity, which started in 1982, has helped over 300,000 people from across the UK have to achieve Signature BSL or Deaf Awareness qualifications.
Chief Executive Jim Edwards praised the work of the people that had helped make Signature, previously known as CACDP, such a success. He said: "For 30 years Signature has campaigned for better inclusion and accessibility for deaf people across the UK, improving lives and enhancing independence.
"Our success is testament to the many hard working, talented people in the organisation who have dedicated so much to helping deaf people overcome barriers to communication.
"The society in which Signature began was a very different place - deaf people had little independence and social workers and family members were the only communication link deaf people had to the wider community.
"There was no such thing as a registered sign language interpreter, no standardised qualifications in BSL, Speech to Text Reporting, Lipspeaking or even Deaf Awareness.
"Signature was set up to help change that and it has always worked towards a vision of society in which deaf people have full access. Thirty years is a long time but many of the people in the sector still clearly remember the huge obstacles that were part of everyday life for deaf people.
"Over the last 30 years we've seen some real improvements in equality in our society, but we still have a long way to go.
"There are still far too few interpreters and other language services professionals, too few schools teaching sign language or even tactics for communicating with deaf people and not enough people with formal qualifications to teach sign language.
"But Signature will continue to work on all these things and I only hope we can affect as much change in the next 30 years as we have done in the previous 30."
Staff from Signature have been celebrating the anniversary, as well as Deaf Awareness Week 2012, with an open signing session for members of the public, teaching people in Durham how to sign 'Happy Birthday', and encouraging them to learn more about the practical applications of BSL.
Later in the month Signature will be unveiling the nominated regional shortlists for the 2012 Signature Annual Awards, which aim to reward the dedication and hard work that individuals and organisations devote to improving accessibility for deaf and deafblind people.
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