Whats On
GDA speaks to Radio Gloucestershire

GDA's Chief Executive, Jenny Hopkins spoke to BBC Radio Gloucestershire about the charity's hustings event on Thursday 16th April.

Listen to the full interview below or read a transcript of the interview with Mark Cummings.

Mark Cummings (MC): Hustings with a difference taking place in Gloucester this morning. All six of the city’s election candidates will go head-to-head with a live audience from the deaf and hard of hearing community. There will be two British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters and a speech-to-text operator as well, Jenny Hopkins who is from the Gloucestershire Deaf Association. Morning Jenny. This is lovely, tell us how this all came about? 

Jenny Hopkins (JH): We felt that the disabled voice doesn’t get heard in election hustings. We hear an awful lot about economics, the deficit. All these things; education, employment, affect people with disability as well as anybody and we felt we need to get that voice heard.  Deaf sign language users in particular are unable to access a lot of mainstream events where they may be able to quiz local politicians. The only way we can do that is to bring the election hustings here. So we are doing that this morning and we have invested in having BSL interpreters and a speech-to-text operator so that everything is said is put up on screen so that those who are hard of hearing can read what is being said as politicians answer the questions. We’re hoping this is going to give deaf and hard of hearing people access to everything that is going on.

MC: Also raising points and making points and seeing which party responds in a way that you trust.

JH: Exactly, there are particular issues that are affecting deaf people. There is the cap on access to work support. A lot of deaf people in employment are finding that they are getting a lot of encouragement to go out and get jobs, but when they get interviews they aren’t able to pay for interpreters, so how does somebody who is a sign language user, communicate with a hearing employer when they don’t have that communication support. If they are lucky enough to find a job they then find they are only allowed to have communication support for only five – six hours a week when in fact they’re working full time. It’s that sort of thing that affects them greatly. Without that communication support it leaves them very marginalised.

MC: Thank you very much Jenny. We wish you luck with the event and we’re going to speak to you next week on the programme about a variety of deaf matters.
 
Listen to the interview by clicking here.
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