Sight for Surrey partners with SignVideo

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Sight for Surrey now delivers specialist services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people, alongside the existing services for people who have a visual impairment or combined sight and hearing loss.

On securing the contract from Surrey County Council to provide this service, Bob Hughes, Chief Executive of Sight for Surrey, said:

“This is a very exciting challenge to be able to maintain and, hopefully, grow the scale and scope of services in Surrey. We have delivered Surrey’s visual impairment and combined sight and hearing loss services for more than 20 years and the communities can be confident that we will continue to deliver high-quality specialist services to all service users.”

The charity is committed to ensuring that its service users can communicate with staff in the way they choose; as part of the global communications they will offer is a video relay service, provided by SignVideo.

Lynda Ellis, Head of Administration at Sight for Surrey, said:

“Sight for Surrey is partnering with SignVideo, the UK’s leading British Sign Language (BSL) video interpreting service, to ensure we provide professional and timely communication to BSL users.

“The service’s contact centre is staffed by fully qualified and registered BSL interpreters who are available on demand.”

Sensory Services by Sight for Surrey is the largest charitable organisation in Surrey working with people who are visually impaired, Deaf, Hard of Hearing or who have combined sight and hearing loss, Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The charity has provided support to the blind and partially sighted community since 1922.  It began to deliver services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in February 2016 after securing a contract by Surrey County Council to provide these services.

Our mission is to help anyone whose eyesight or hearing has become a cause for concern, whether they are registered with a sight impairment or not, to help them lead full and independent lives.

To achieve this we provide a wide range of services to vision impaired people and their carers:

  • We have a team of Communicator Guides who provide specialist support to anyone with a combined sight and hearing loss and enable them to get out and about.
  • We have a team of specialist Hearing Loss Advisors who can support you in managing your hearing loss and ensure you are provided with the right support and guidance.
  • We provide mobility and life skills training to children and young people.
  • We have a team of qualified social workers and Deaf community officers who can work alongside you, your family or your carer.
  • We have a strong team of volunteers who befriend and support our members.
  • We provide specialist technology training at all levels.
  • We are present at hospital eye clinics to advise and support you if you are newly-diagnosed with eye disease.
  • We also run innovative projects including children’s recreational trips and an Employment Club which provides mentoring to people with a vision impairment in the workplace or who are seeking employment.

All of our staff have a real understanding of the practical and emotional aspects of living with hearing and sight loss.

SignVideo provides British Sign Language (BSL) video interpreting services to enable communication between the community of over 150,000 deaf BSL users in the UK and hearing people. The service allows users to make and receive BSL interpreted video calls so that they can effectively and effortlessly communicate with each other. This happens through a professional video interpreter who relays the call between BSL and English and the service is available instantly on tablets, smartphones, computers and laptops via apps and software.

Born in 2004, SignVideo is led by Jeff McWhinney, a well-known deaf entrepreneur who fights tirelessly for equality of the deaf and hearing community. Today, SignVideo, a predominantly deaf-led organisation, provides their service to the government, NHS, councils, UK banks, telecommunications providers, helplines and many other types of organisations.

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