Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is opening up its monthly ‘Sign Club’ to members of the public. Dog training co-ordinator for the charity, Sarah Allom, launched the club in its current format just over a year ago.
Sarah explains: “We started Sign Club as a fun and informal way for staff and volunteers at Hearing Dogs to practise their British Sign Language (BSL). The charity supports all dog training staff to pass their level 2 in BSL – and many other staff members achieve their level 1. Sign Club isn’t obligatory – but it really complements our formal BSL classes.”
By opening the club up to members of the general public who would like to practise signing, Sarah hopes it will prove even more beneficial for staff. “Several colleagues are working towards their level 3 BSL, and the opportunity to sign regularly with D/deaf people and other signers about all sorts of different topics would be a great help to them.”
The club has a friendly, informal feel and will take place on the first Wednesday of every month from 1 July, in Hearing Dogs’ on-site restaurant. Everyone is welcome, although for people with no signing knowledge it could be a daunting first experience as all communication is without speech!
To cover the cost of refreshments and snacks, the Charity is asking every attendee to contribute £2 per session, and to bring a small item to donate to a fundraising raffle. Proceeds will be used to fund more resources for Hearing Dogs staff to keep building on their signing knowledge.