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For some of our staff, BSL is not just a language, it is a way of life – once you get the BSL Bug it is contagious and, although much nicer than the common cold virus, it is caught just as easily!

The family Wainwright are definitely a case in point!

We first met Matthew some years ago when he was recommended to apply for a position with us by another member of our staff. Matthew came to us with his Level 2 certificate, but a skills test proved he had so much more to offer. Having caught the “bug” at Church some time before, Matt had in fact taken his Level 1 exam and been awarded a Level 2 instead; he has now attained his Level 3 certificate, but is once again signing to a much higher standard. If you ask his Mum, she will say he signs like a fully qualified Interpreter – maybe that is just a mother’s way, but maybe not?! Matt is certainly gifted! He still works for Deaf Umbrella evenings, weekends and holidays, but his full time position is as a CSW with Thomas Tallis School – his students are very lucky to have him! Matt’s wife is learning Sign and Matt is busy teaching his toddler Lily everyday signs too. A new baby is on the way and will probably be born with the BSL alphabet already imprinted….

This is a family bug – as Matt left his full time employment with us to gain broader working experiences, his Mum joined the Deaf Umbrella fold. Jo is an excellent Signer who has taken on wide and varied assignments for D.U. and is a valued member of our staff. Jo will begin Interpreter training in September.

Jo’s husband is a Signer; three of her four children sign, her daughter & son-in-laws are Signers and the grandchildren are well on the way to BSL fluency. The Wainwright family are proud to be related by marriage to Andy Owen … maybe not so much a Signing Bug as a BSL Mafia?

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