App helps open up high street for deaf and hard-of-hearing shoppers

Bromsgrove

A new app to help shoppers and visitors to the town, who are profoundly deaf, access services more easily, has been launched in Bromsgrove, funded by the District Council and in partnership with Alvechurch-based Sign Solutions,  a language and learning company, specialising in interpretation support for deaf people throughout the UK.

The Council is funding the special pilot set-up fee of up to £1,500 for retailers and businesses to access on demand British Sign Language Interpretation services, via an app, for a 12 month trial.

It includes retailers in the town and the market area and all they pay for is the cost of the video call where a British sign-language interpreter helps the customer and the trader communicate.

Sign Solutions Managing Director Clare Vale said: “Making communication for Deaf people accessible on the high street is no longer the sole province of banks and building societies.

“We are finding that there is an increasing awareness from major retailers and independents who want to ensure there is a level playing field for all of their customers to find out about and access their products and services.

“We are currently working with retail consortiums, Business Improvement Districts (BIDS), Town Centre Managers and Local Authorities.

“I am delighted that this has been picked up by Bromsgrove District Council as it will be a huge benefit to the town.”

Although the scheme will be launched on March 6, three businesses have already signed up including Bayleys of Bromsgrove, Giinger Boutique, and Decanter Spirit.

The council’s portfolio-holder for Economic Development, Cllr Karen May, said: “There’s always more reasons to shop in Bromsgrove as the town continues to grow and develop.

“This latest initiative means that even more people can access our wonderful array of shops, cafes, restaurant and service providers like banks and building societies.”