The saying that you learn something new ever day was correct for me when I joined a work-related course to learn British Sign Language.
Our trainers were a retired couple Barry and Mary who are both Deaf. They gave a vivid insight into the problems faced by Deaf train passengers. We learned the alphabet, numbers and some words which would be useful. My head was in a spin with the things I picked up.
You don’t realise that there are millions of people in the country who are hard of hearing or Deaf. It’s difficult to tell when a person is deaf as often there are no visual cues. But now I feel better prepared to be able to communicate with them in my job and if that makes the experience of travelling on public transport better for just one person, then that is a job well done.
Taking up the course reminded me of the work I was involved with in the 1980s when Westhoughton Town Council funded a programme of smoke alarms for Deaf residents of Westhoughton, one of those achievements that a councillor can be proud of.
Westhoughton councillor David Wilkinson works for a railway company. This article was originally published on 13 May 2015.
David wants the views of Westhoughton’s Deaf community
Westhoughton councillor David Wilkinson would like the views of Westhoughton’s Deaf community on the issues they are facing. Please send David a message to share your thoughts on any problems you have experienced or any ideas you have for improving access to local facilities.