The funding will enable the charity to realise ambitious plans for national expansion and development, with its award-winning British Sign Language (BSL) Advice Line extending its reach to support deaf people in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The Big Lottery funding will see a new and improved booking system, enabling clients to speak to an expanded deafPLUS Advice Line team using video call, or have a question answered by online text chat or email. Funding will also allow deafPLUS to build a Digital Information Hub on the deafPLUS
website, recruiting a Digital Advice Manager who will to create deaf-friendly online content. This will empower deaf visitors to the website to access the advice resources they need – in BSL and in English.
Gary Williams, deafPLUS CEO, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive the fantastic news that our funding bid to Big Lottery Fund was so well received. Our Advice Line for BSL users won a prestigious ‘Helplines Partnership’ award last year, so its fantastic to now be able to make the service even better still. We look forward to old and new clients visiting the online Advice Hub when it opens in the spring 2019. In the meantime, our BSL Advice Line remains open for business ahead of its expansion.”
deafPLUS, also known as Breakthough Deaf-Hearing Integration, launched in 1971 and was instrumental in the development of deaf use of telecommunication technology throughout the 70s and 80s. It is currently recruiting for the expanded advice team – see https://bit.ly/2SeQNnq for full details.