5 Campaigns that are Changing the World for Deaf People

Who is making a difference in Deaf people’s lives today? Several pre-eminent campaigns in the UK seek to empower and improve the lives of people within the Deaf community. Organisations campaign for various matters, from gaining better access to facilities to getting British Sign Language taught in mainstream schools.  It’s difficult to find a central list of what campaigns exist out there and what they do. So we’ve decided to put together a list of the top 5 campaigns that support the Deaf community and seek to change the world for deaf people.


Stop Changes to Access to Work  (Stop changes)

What is it: As you’ll be aware, Access to work is a grant that supports those with a disability in overcoming work-related obstacles. However, the Government proposed cuts to the funds available to BSL users, leaving inadequate funds for interpreters and limiting their job prospects. Stop changes to Access to work was set up in the Autumn of 2013  to protest the changes and stop the government from making the workplace less accessible for deaf people.

What are they doing: The Stop Changes petition has amassed huge support, with 6700 signatures out of 7000 received. Earlier in the year, as a result of extensive support, the famous ’30 hours of Communication Support’ rule was suspended, pending review. They’ve taken part in live webcam chats with highly recognised newspapers to make it clear that changes within the support system are wrong, thus educating the hearing world on issues Deaf people face. To sign their petition, CLICK HERE 


Spit the Dummy and Campaign for BSL Act (STDC)

What is it: Spit the Dummy and Campaign for BSL Act is a Facebook group with two aims – 1) to campaign for an Act of Parliament that reinforces and gives legal protection to British Sign Language (BSL) as an officially recognised language of the United Kingdom, and 2) To Fight Discrimination and Gain Better Accesses.

What are they doing: STDC has become arguably the biggest and most popular Deaf Community page in the UK, with 11,300 members. A lot of the best-known figures from the Deaf Community run and contribute to the page, such as Matt Dixon, Des Masterson, Jen Dodds, Jason Sharpe and James Clark.  Most of them post videos of their various experiences of issues and discrimination. You can request to join the group by CLICK HERE


British Deaf Association (BDA)

What is it: Founded in 1890 as a result of the famous Milan conference in 1880 (where sign language in educational settings was banned), the British Deaf Association have been pivotal to British Sign Language being recognised by the government as a language in its own right in 2003.  The organisation works with local Deaf communities campaigning for equality and the recognition of their BSL charter, which is aimed at local authorities and services to improve access.


Deaf Campaigns BDA


What are they doing: Recent campaigns include ‘Achieving legal status for British Sign Language users as a minority language in the UK.’ This aims to empower BSL and make it a protected and promoted language. They also organised Deaf Lobby Day in March earlier this year. Due to their campaigns and involvement within the deaf community, the BDA has been regarded as the only national Deaf People’s Organisation. To find out more, CLICK HERE


Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID)

What is it: Action on Hearing Loss supports people with hearing loss and tinnitus and creates solutions for them, offering advice and support. They run campaigns with the aim of changing the lives of the deaf community. AOHL contribute to research for a different cure for tinnitus and hearing loss focusing on support and improvement.  These guys sound pretty excellent to me; we need to raise awareness for all causes in the deaf community.


Deaf Campaigns Action on Hearing Loss


What they are doing: Action on Hearing Loss has targeted numerous campaigns to public services, businesses, politicians and the general public in order to create equal opportunities for the Deaf community. One of their recent campaigns is managing the healthcare budget in North Staffordshire.  Proposals are being put in place to withdraw the NHS- funded hearing aids.  AOHL has achieved a high profile in the UK, and their strong and successful campaigning; has resulted in the NHS introducing free digital hearing aids. They have also developed useful tools for health awareness in the UK, for example, an online free hearing check. To find out more, CLICK HERE

Let Sign Shine

What are they: Let the Sun Shine is a petition to get British Sign Language taught in schools. It was started by Jade Chapman, a teenager with a young deaf sister that is deaf and has verbal dyspraxia. Concerned with her future and that of the deaf community, she felt that if British Schools taught BSL, there would be hope.

What are they doing: Let Sign Shine started on the 8th of July 2014, and so far has raised 3100 signatures out of the 5000 needed via its petition on change.org. There is strong support behind this campaign.  Especially because children have to take languages subject at school, why not learn one that is of use to a sizable population in their own country? If you support this campaign, CLICK HERE

I hope this article has highlighted, succinctly, the significant campaigns in the Deaf Community at the moment; and how you can support them. As you can see, there is a good mix of subject matter within the Deaf community.  By coming together as a community, you can support a number of campaigns at once. With Social Media giving people the ability to air their opinions to an audience, now is an ideal time for you to become active in this area; and help the deaf community as a whole achieve greater access and fairer rights.

Have we missed any campaigns? Let us know by replying in our comments box or over our Twitter and/or Facebook pages.