Access Ambassadors CIC is now closed. The not for profit company provided BSL courses up to BSL Level 3, Deaf Awareness courses, interpreting services as well as provided support to MK Deaf Community (including the creation of this website). Covid 19 changed the way many services were delivered. Most of the services that were accessed via Access Ambassadors can now be found online via video relay interpreting services. The directors and management board decided to close Access Ambassadors as the needs of the local deaf community and services have changed. All resources including online BSL courses have been transferred to Milton Keynes Deaf Community. An index of the most important pages from the Access Ambassadors website are listed below:
BSL Courses (coming soon)
Working towards an ‘accessible’ MK: Access Ambassadors CIC
The aim of Access Ambassadors was to break down barriers between deaf and hearing people:
- Attitude i.e. biases (e.g. thinking deaf people are not important and can be ignored)
- Communication i.e. using all available methods of communication (e.g. BSL)
- Technological i.e. no provision for assistive devices (e.g. using phones and no video-call facility)
- Environmental i.e. using rooms that do not support ‘hearing’ for hearing aid users (e.g. wooden floors and walls)
- Organisational i.e procedures that discriminate e.g. online job applications in English only
Working with the MK Deaf Community, ‘accessible’ was described as:
- Positive attitude towards difference, including communication differences
- Communication (Deaf Awareness) training
- Using technology to make communication easier
- Minimising environmental issues that affect communication (using carpets, curtains, lighting)
- Providing alternative application formats for recruitment
Attitudinal barriers include negative attitudes towards those with ‘protected characteristics’ under the Equality Act 2010 (see below). It is important to note that anyone regardless of social status or protected character can be deaf/ hard of hearing:
Gender reassignment – transgender
Sexual orientation – gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual
Marriage/ civil partnership – relationship status
Pregnancy – during pregnancy and after (maternity leave)
Race – skin colour, country of origin, cultural background
Age – young or old should be free from discrimination
Disability – there is an underlying duty to make reasonable adjustments
Sex – male/female
Deafness is the third most prevalent disability in the UK: 1 in 6 are affected – that equates to around 49,000 people in Milton Keynes
alone. Barriers that arise due to being deaf also affects friends and family. Barriers create dependency on family members (putting a strain on familial relationships and reinforces disempowerment. Access Ambassadors intentions was to help others by removing barriers so that any deaf/hard of hearing person had equal access to services and activities, the same as anyone else.
Access Ambassadors provided Deaf Awareness sessions and BSL courses for organisations including Local Authorities.
Access Ambassadors also supported local companies at the MK Job Show by providing BSL interpreters:
Access Ambassadors supported a range of employers and native sign language users. By bringing employers and jobseekers together, Access Ambassadors contributed over £500,000 into the local economy.
As the company has now closed, the remaining resources were used to create this website as an information hub for deaf and hard of hearing people in Milton Keynes. Some of these pages support local organisations by providing useful information such as how to book interpreter services.
The Sensory Advice resource Centre (SARC) hold the Milton Keynes Council contract to provide services to deaf and hard of hearing people in Milton Keynes.
If you wish to support |Milton Keynes Deaf Community, please get in touch via the contact page and one of the volunteers will be in touch.