Freeways are a charity that supports people with learning disabilities. Freeways have a number of different services; registered care homes, Supported living, Floating support, community support and a hydrotherapy pool.
Within all services, we strive to offer a flexible service which promotes choice, well-being and independence. We have a proven track record and offer a consistent quality service to individuals.
Manager Ange Lock tells of her experience with terptree.
We were recommended to terptree by Access to Work as we required a company that could support us with our new team member, who is deaf. Our needs when engaging with terptree were purely around deaf awareness. Our team can already use sign language; what we now had was a situation
Where a member of our team was deaf and needed support, so what we were looking to achieve was an understanding of her needs on a more individual level. We knew this would be most effective if performed as a bespoke training programme aimed at those specific needs.
She continued: ”This was what was achieved, exactly. Because terptree taught us so much during the training programme. The training offered more than the basics. We learnt a wealth of information that we wouldn’t have considered ourselves; it really broadened our knowledge. It also enabled our wider team, including Head Office and our Training Department, to appreciate it’s so much more than just using sign language. They realised they had little or no knowledge of communicating with deaf people on a daily basis. Things like how important it is to be facing a deaf person when communicating with them…
It’s information that we as a team on the ground know. But for those not always directly involved, it was so valuable for them to learn these skills. It’s allowed them and our deaf team members to understand and communicate more effectively”.
Ange recalls “I knew the training had been taken on board and embraced when I visited Head Office afterwards. A member of the team signed with me, using what she had learnt on the course. It was an amazing feeling!
The feedback from those who were on the course was that they had thoroughly enjoyed and learned from the course. The fact they were able to sign with me was, as I said, amazing.
Joël, our deaf team member, could not have been more delighted and impressed that as a company we had gone to such a level to support her. She felt we had listened and were truly accepting of her. She couldn’t rate us enough as a company which, for us, is important.
It also meant a lot to her that she was included in the course and she was able to help with the signing. She learnt a lot from the course too, especially regional dialects between Bristol where we are based, and Newbury where the trainer was based. The regional dialects were quite different, it’s incredible how broad the spectrum of regional dialects are, and terptree was able to demonstrate this; which we all found so interesting”.
Ange confirmed that they would continue to work with terptree at every opportunity – and also continue to recommend them to other organisations! She says it’s important for companies to understand and consider the needs of their deaf customer.
For example, they are supporting deaf customers with an ’out of hours’ communication option. If you’re deaf, using a telephone in an emergency is not an option. Alternatives need to be explored and provided.
She states: “Training and awareness are vital to educating companies on how to cater to the needs of their deaf team members or customers. We can think of no better company to support this than terptree. In only a couple of hours with them, you will find solutions and answers.”
She continued “What terptree does well is sharing every detail. For example, if, when we’re signing, our facial expressions don’t match the signs, it can be confusing for the deaf person. It’s not something everyone would necessarily consider; but when you’re in a busy place, and concentration is needed, signs and facial expressions that match can be the difference between the deaf person being able to understand what you’re saying, or not”.
Ange concluded by saying, “I can’t recommend terptree enough. I was more than pleased with the service – in fact, that’s an understatement! I will make sure to share them with as many people as I can!”