Release of new videos marks Deaf Awareness Week

Seaton Wetlands has developed British Sign Language videos (BSL), enabling the Deaf community to access the beautiful local nature reserves like never before.

The release of the videos come just in time for Deaf Awareness Week. The videos explain the geography of Seaton Marshes, Black Hole Marsh, Stafford March and Colyford Common, and the wonderful variety of wildlife that visitors come from far and wide to see.

The BSL videos have been created and presented by a Deaf volunteer from Heritage Ability. Heritage Ability is a scheme helping over 20 heritage places across the South West to become more accessible to disabled and Deaf people. It is one of many services offered by user-led disability charity Living Options Devon. All of its initiatives are developed or supported by people who have a first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by disabled and Deaf people.

Paul Valentine, the Heritage Ability Deaf volunteer who features in the video said:

I really enjoy going for days out to places like Seaton Wetlands, as there's something new see and discover each season. I do wish that I could know a bit more about the geography of the site though and the wildlife. This is why I’m so excited to have been involved with making the BSL videos, so that others with the same passion can learn more too. 

For many Deaf people, English is their second language. This means that simply providing written information or subtitles on videos is not always enough.

Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon District Council's environment portfolio holder said:

It’s wonderful to finally be able to offer a BSL guided tour of the Wetlands so that the rich variety of wildlife here can be understood by the Deaf community. Visitors can borrow the tablet when they visit and explore the site at their own leisure, or they can download the clips to their personal devices from our website. We’re really keen to be working with Heritage Ability over the next two years to keep improving our accessibility. 

To find out which places in Devon and across the South West will have BSL videos and the other accessible solutions that Heritage Ability are introducing to these places, visit www.heritageability.org

For more information about the project, contact Jessica Holroyd, Engagement and Communications Officer at jessica.holroyd@livingoptions.org or on 01392 459222.

To find out more about what’s on offer at Seaton Wetlands, contact the East Devon District Council Countryside team at countryside@eastdevon.gov.uk or on 01395 517557.