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Calum Medlock, a second year Mathematics student, and Project Leader for the Sign Language Project, wrote for us about starting the Sign Language Project, what it means to him, and why he feels it’s important to volunteer.

Could you tell us a little about your Project and what it does?

The Project aims to teach secondary school pupils, aged from 11 to 14, signs in British Sign Language (BSL) so that they will be able to hold basic conversations in BSL and gain deaf awareness and knowledge on how to communicate with deaf people. The Project takes place on 11 June at UCL Academy and I will need a deaf volunteer to work alongside me to help teach sign language. This will help spread deaf awareness and students will be more confident how to approach deaf people.

Why did you want to start the Project?

I wanted to start the Project because it is important that everyone understands what deafness is and how to communicate with deaf people. Many people are often stumped regarding communication when they meet deaf people. It would help a lot for students to have the benefit of knowing how to interact with everyone.

Where would you like to see the Project go in the future?

If there are enough deaf volunteers willing to participate in future projects, it would be fantastic! Unfortunately, we would not be able to plan further projects in next academic year because we do not have a volunteering secretary in the next year’s committee of Sign Language Society. However, if a new deaf student happened to be coming to the university this September, we will open up the role for them if they are willing to take on managing projects.

Why would you recommend volunteering on this Project?

I would recommend volunteering on this Project because it’s very beneficial to teach hearing people sign language. Some of them will inevitably bump into deaf people and some other will be deafened later in their lives. It’s important that you learn sign language and explore different ways of communicating. You will experience less embarrassment when encountering deaf people because you will be more prepared once you start to learn sign language.

Written by Calum Medlock, Sign Language Project Leader

If you are a deaf student interested in volunteering for the Sign Language Project, you can register your interest on their page.

We also work closely with Action On Hearing Loss, who help people confronting life-changing deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss. Take a look at their current roles and how you can get involved.