Amy Jackson, CWU Lead ULR at North Staffordshire Postal Branch. She has recently been organising courses in British Sign Language (BSL) and seen how these can build relationships and improve inclusion.
North Staffordshire Postal Branch have been lucky enough to work with Jay Stonier, a British Sign Language tutor who has been teaching members to sign. Jay is a remarkable individual whose passion is to teach and educate others about BSL. He was born deaf but now has a cochlear implant that enables him to hear.
Jay has had to learn how to speak by going to speech therapy for a long time and he is now able to communicate by talking and using BSL.
This is an opportunity to use my passion to help people to learn to sign so that I can help people to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing people."
Jay holds down a full-time job and then teaches sign language in his spare time for free. Jay came to our branch and made learning fun and easy. It was amazing what the members and I learnt in a 2 hour session.”
He has given us the skills that enable us to communicate with our deaf customers. We have learnt phrases such as "How can I help you?" "I.D please" "What is your address?" and of course "Royal Mail". In just 2 hours the members and I had learnt how to do the alphabet, count to 20 and do the days of the week.”
Amy explained that Jay has been met with a very positive response to how he teaches people and the branch is hoping that Jay can continue to support them with their learning development.
We look forward to a very positive future together. together. These skills could make a massive difference to our deaf customers, colleagues and friends. We now can bring everyone together and stop any isolation we may have in our communities.”
Back home Amy has taught her 6 year old son how to sign his name and said that he immediately took himself over to Mark, a deaf gentleman who lives on their street and signed "My name is Harry". Mark signed back, "My name is Mark".
Amy added that:
My partner witnessed the pure joy that this interaction brought them both. Such a small gesture has built a new relationship in the street. This confirms to me that what we are doing is really a worthwhile thing.”
This could really make a difference for future generations and building bridges between the deaf and hearing community. We look forward to our next lesson!”