With thanks to Rob Martin

Want to learn some sign language? Now's your chance!

How would you feel if you could not hear what your doctor or nurse said? Imagine the challenge. Deaf people have poorer access to health services often due to communication barriers and lower health levels. How would you like an opportunity to help Deaf people and learn something new and useful?

What is 26 Signs of Hope?

A chance to learn some sign language and raise funding to improve Deaf signers’ health and well-being: good for you, good for Deaf people. As part of the 2.6/26 challenge – replacing London Marathon fundraising, we ask you to commit to learning 26 signs – it’s as simple as that!

Get your friends to sponsor you on a GoFundMe page and put your video of yourself signing onto the page. Your friends will be intrigued and maybe want to start learning themselves too!

How can I learn 26 signs?

There is a lot of good material online for learning BSL. We recommend Commanding Hands videos. The videos are clear and show each sign from different angles. Or try this video with basic BSL phrases. There is also a useful online video dictionary.

You choose the 26 signs you would like to learn. You could learn:

  • some simple phrases
  • a group of signs e.g. colours, work or about food
  • the English alphabet in sign language, called finger spelling.

Who is SignHealth?

SignHealth is the UK’s top charity supporting access to health services for Deaf people. It provides excellent services including:

  • BSL health access a new service, free to deaf customers, giving online interpreter support to access health conversations. 
  • mental health support: an estimated 40% of deaf people experience mental health issues, often related to social isolation.
  • An award-winning service to support people who experience domestic abuse.
  • Support for deaf people in residential care.

Isn’t fundraising a hassle?

No!  Below is a text you can copy and paste on your personal GoFundMe page – just put in your name - and photo, if you wish. Then it’s simple to send the link to your contacts and add your video of you signing successfully of course! 

'I am taking up a challenge to learn 26 signs in British Sign Language. I am raising funds in aid of SignHealth. The charity supports Deaf people's health and well-being including an on-demand free interpreting service during the Covid-19 health crisis. Help me to help Deaf people's health. Read more about 26 Signs of Hope here. I will post a video of me using the 26 signs [on XX date]. Wish me luck and thank you!'

What if I want to learn more BSL?

This article is being published in early May 2020 during the UK lockdown. When face-to-face learning is permitted, you may wish to contact a local deaf centre. Until then, there are several providers of online BSL courses leading to qualifications.

We would love to hear from you about how you get on. Jane will blog about your progress so please contact us with your story. 


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