BSL Youth National Advisory Group

04 April 2016


Young Deaf people empowered by BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 Youth National Advisory Group members announced

In March 2016, a new expert National Advisory Group (NAG) was set up to support the implementation of the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act that was given royal assent last October. The Act puts a duty on Scottish Ministers and public bodies to put in place a British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan by October 2017. Today, the Youth representatives have been named and will represent the opinions and views of young Deaf people, whose first or preferred language is BSL, in this group.

Five Deaf adults whose first or preferred language is BSL as well as a hearing parent of a Deaf child whose first or preferred language is BSL, a Deaf parent of a Deaf child and two Deafblind BSL users were announced last month. The public bodies' representatives were announced at the same time. Deaf Action and National Deaf Children's Society Scotland (NDCS Scotland) on behalf of the Deaf Sector Partnership facilitated a number of workshops for young Deaf people between the ages of 10 and 18 (21 years of age if the person has been in care). These workshops then fed into a group that is now known as the Youth NAG (YNAG). This YNAG will be a forum for young Deaf people whose first or preferred language is BSL across Scotland to share and discuss their views and experiences, which will then be taken to the NAG by the young Deaf people elected to represent them. The YNAG elected three of their number to the NAG. While it was originally envisaged that there would be two elected representatives, circumstances led to three being elected.

The representatives are:

Abbie Steggles: Comes from a hearing family and is bilingual in BSL and English. She has been attending classes to improve her BSL which she really enjoys. She wants better BSL access in schools as this would help to break down the barriers that BSL users face on a daily basis. Abbie is very enthusiastic about ensuring that young Deaf people are included as much as possible.

Amy Dawson: Comes from a Deaf family with Deaf parents. She has been a BSL user from birth. She is passionate about improving services in education, particularly ensuring that a Deaf child receives as much BSL support as possible throughout their school years. Amy has experience of meeting politicians so feels confident that she will be able to represent the views on behalf of young deaf people in Scotland.

Lewis Ross: Comes from a Deaf family with Deaf parents and two hearing brothers. He has been a BSL user from birth. He is passionate about helping BSL to be more widely recognised and that BSL users feel happy and comfortable using their language.

For further information, please contact Derek Todd, Project Officer, Deaf Sector Partnership (DSP) at or Janis McDonald, Chief Officer, Scottish Council on Deafness (SCoD) at .

British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015. National Advisory Group.

Deaf Sector Partnership members.

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