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Mayor Sadiq Khan champions Deaf inclusion with BSL Charter

In a groundbreaking gesture, Mayor Sadiq Khan has signed the British Deaf Association’s Charter for British Sign Language (BSL), marking a significant stride towards inclusivity.

The Charter, designed to eliminate barriers faced by London’s Deaf communities, outlines five key pledges addressing discrimination, empowering Deaf communities, and fostering stronger relationships with City Hall:

  1. Regular consultation with local Deaf communities.

  2. Ensuring access to information and services for Deaf Londoners.

  3. Support for Deaf children and their families.

  4. Effective communication using BSL for City Hall staff.

  5. Promotion of high-quality teaching and learning of BSL.

Mayor Khan's dedication to breaking down barriers ensuring Deaf Londoners have access to information, services, and an environment that supports effective communication through BSL, was evident as he signed the charter in the presence of Deaf Londoners and representatives from organisations advocating for Deaf rights.

This move reinforces London's commitment to inclusivity and aligns with the recognition of British Sign Language as a language of Great Britain, a historic milestone achieved with the passing of the BSL Act 2022.

Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice; Rebecca Mansell, Chief Executive Officer of the British Deaf Association; Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. Photo Credit: Limping Chicken

The Mayor’s dedication to inclusivity extends beyond symbolic gestures, with City Hall taking tangible steps, such as publishing disability pay gap data, supporting Deaf children and families, and providing funding for BSL courses.

The recent recognition of British Sign Language as a language of Great Britain further solidifies the significance of these efforts.

Mr. Khan said: “Deaf Londoners have a right to participate fully in society without having to face barriers and obstacles. Signing the Charter for British Sign Language is a significant step forward for our city. I want to encourage all employers in the capital to follow our lead and ensure that Deaf Londoners are empowered to reach their potential as we continue building a fairer London for everyone.”

This positive momentum signifies a turning point in addressing structural inequalities and placing accessibility at the core of policy. As we applaud this remarkable initiative, let's join hands in creating a London where everyone, regardless of ability, can participate fully and thrive.

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